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The Forestwife

(Forestwife Saga #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,610 ratings  ·  107 reviews
Mary, 15 years old and an orphan, must flee into Sherwood Forest to avoid an arranged marriage. There her life truly begins, for she finds a community of heroic outlaws that includes a woman with seemingly magical healing powers and a young man who is bravely leading the fight against tyranny. This man is Robin Hood, and Mary will soon be known as Maid Marian, the green la ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published April 7th 1997 by Yearling (first published January 1st 1993)
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3.93  · 
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 ·  1,610 ratings  ·  107 reviews

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Cora Tea Party Princess
5 Words: History, family, poverty, bravery, Robin-Hood.

I kind of accidentally stumbled on this book, but I've been having a run of awesome Robin Hood inspired stories recently, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

And I'm really glad I picked this up.

Ten years ago (ye gawds, I'm getting old) I would have absolutely loved this. It's full of action and adventure and ultimately is the story of Marian finding herself and growing up and going through a remarkable change. And I went into this reading a
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is robin Hood from Maid Marian's point of view and a good choice for teen girls. And just about any Robin Hood fan, of course. :D but be warned: the "thees" and "thas" can be kind of annoying. they take getting used to.

So, as a modern young lady who wants gender equality and the stupid stereotypes stomped out, I can totally appreciate an independent, strong, stubborn young woman as a lead character. Especially in a time period like the late 1100s. at that time, woman were basically animals.
R. G. Nairam
This is the 1-star of I really don't care, not the 1-star of ew get it away from me. Probably a 1.5, if you will.

I have apparently dreaded reading this for way too long.

I remembered reading the sequel, Child of May, about 8 or 9 years ago and hating it, though the hatred is so vague at this point that I can really only remember one sexual reference that made me very uncomfortable as a 13yo.

Probably, Child of May is not actually worth hating. It's just, like The Forestwife, not that good.

I dreade
Amanda Lila
May 29, 2013 rated it liked it
I have read this exactly 7 years ago. I got it as a present from one of my class mates. I know I really enjoyed it and should probably read again because I don't remember much.
Ashley (Bound to Love YA)
Forestwife had a nice, lyrical quality to it, but it left me very unsatisfied. Overall, it felt like an outline to an actual book. It's too bad, because I was very excited by the idea of having a Robin Hood retelling focused on the women of the story that traditionally get very little air time. But it just didn't dig deep enough for me.

Don't get me wrong - I appreciate an economy of words, I don't need ten pages inside some simpering heroine's head, but the clipped, active sentences left me won
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I just finished Caroline Fraser's opus about the "Little House" books and wanted a quick read that was pure fantasy. First I whipped through Elsa Watson's "Maid Marian." Since "The Forestwife" was right next to it on my bookshelf, I decided to read that as dessert. I am a fan of the Robin Hood legend but am much more drawn to these two very different tellings of who Maid Marion might have been and what her story was. These both describe young women who've been pampered, run away as they are abou ...more
Kat!e Larson
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
I really like the herbalist, almost witchy element of this book. Marian learning healing was cool. That's about all I liked about this book, but I liked it a lot.

Otherwise, it was dark and grim -- exactly what I hate in Robin Hood retellings. It isn't that dark, grim stories don't have a place; it's just that the whole point of the Robin Hood legend is to be romantic and inspiring.
If I'd read this when I was about eleven or twelve, I would probably have loved it. It's the Robin Hood story, but focused around the women, including one main strong woman, Mary de Holt, or Marian. It doesn't seem to focus much on Robin/Robert at all, although it may later in the trilogy. I doubt it, though; I think it's all quite strongly focused on Marian.

Reading it as an adult, it's less enchanting. I'm not as caught up in the sense of adventure and empowerment and young girls doing wonderfu
Molly Hopkinshaw
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this through the eyes of my 13/14 year old self, if that makes sense- I can see the book is for young adults but I can appreciate it through that lens. I have always loved traditional stories retold through the eyes of the women who are so often sidelined or painted one-dimensionally. This story especially because it recognises the importance and strength of women and the unique powers they have.
I also love the idea of the almost mythical character of the 'Forestwife'. The women recogni
Mar 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Some of the Robin Hood story from Maid Marian's perspective. A short novel written in what felt like an older style with short vignettes to tell a longer story. Tossed in a few bits of Shakespearean sounding English around the mostly normal sounding dialogue. As far as a remake of an old tale goes it was fine. The ending was kind of strange and awkward. None of the characters were very developed and I didn't feel much of a connection to the people or the story.
Violence, no sex, mild language, th
Roz Radmore
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An interesting version of the story of Maid Marion and Robin Hood , Set in the area between Wakefield in Yorkshire and Nottingham . This area used to be covered in a vast forest and this book covers the stories of some of the people who lived there .
Mary is fifteen when she flees her home to escape an unwanted suitor . She takes shelter with the Green Lady of the woods where she is introduced to Robert of Sherwood . Mary reinvents herself as Marion .She is willing to stand against the cruel laws
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic book that any fan of Robin Hood shoukd read, indeed anyone should. It focuses on putting "her" and "she" in the spotlight, rather than "he" and "him", which gives a classic tale a refreshing spin. I think that every child should read this, little boy and girl alike, to gain a new perspective that puts women in the spotlight, and not as a damsel. Five out of five stars.
Uno Baker
This book has so many twists and turns, and you never expect any of them. It’s filled with suspense, love tales and well written struggles. It’s still one of my favourites because I not only love the idea behind it, I love the plot. It’s a book that’s length doesn’t bore you because you just want it to keep going. Once it ended it was like saying goodbye to old friends.
Jani Arangies
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this when i was an early teenager so probably 10-12 years ago, while I can't remember most of the story, I remember that i adored this trilogy. It was exciting, well written and heartbreaking at the same time.
Doug Dalglish
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable addition to the Robin Hood universe. There is not much development of each character in the novel but, if a reader is willing to fill in the gaps with their own imagination, Tomlinson has sketched an interesting world that is enjoyable to spend time in.
Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
I remember enjoying this book a lot when I was in middle school. Will have to re-read.
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I own this book, i like it very much, I think I might have read the other two in the series when I was in Middle school
Sep 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Really enjoyable. The author understands the medieval world and the challenges that women faced.
Momma Aimee
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was well done, I will be glad to share this with my 5th grade niece. There is a tiny bit of romance, but it is a feel, implied and most could miss it.

I found out about this book from a booklist of "fractured fairy tales" or retellings of fairy tales and myths. What interested me about this book was that it was a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, about Maid Marian.

Now, I haven't read any other Robin Hood stories. I've seen the Disney cartoon version and the Kevin Costner movie version. I was a little in love with the Disney Robin Hood when I was little, but that might have been because he was a fox and that was my favorite animal. Or maybe
Fleeing an unwanted forced marriage, orphan Mary runs away to the woods of England. She is worried about the wild creatures and outlaws that live there, but willing to take her chances. Her nurse Agnes follows her, and proves to be an essential companion and mentor, who is knowledgeable of herbal healing and wilderness survival. They become part of a community of people who live in the forest avoiding the oppression of local lords, including Agnes' son Robert.

The idea of a Forestwife, a wisewom
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Forestwife was a lovely book, full of magic and intrigue. I have a wild imagination, so this really piqued my interest. As you can tell from what the back of the book says, it’s about a girl named Mary that runs off into the woods to escape a terrible marriage she wants no part in. Luckily, Agnes, a good friend, helps her in her journey.

Personally, while reading this book, I imagined everything, from the trees to the deer. When it talked about the Forestwife’s house, I imagined a very large
A fresh take on the Robin Hood legends from Maid Marian's perspective. Excellent depiction of the times and I especially enjoyed the focus on the lot of women from the gentry to the humble village women, nuns, the elderly. I loved the way the legacy of the 'Forestwife' passed from one woman to the next as each holder of the Forestwife's belt took on the task of serving the community as a wise woman, providing herbal remedies, food and advice to all her sought her out and gave up hope of a perso ...more
Girl with her Head in a Book
Theresa Tomlinson takes the old story and refashions them from the female point of view. In this version, Maid Marian becomes Mary, a high-born Norman girl, flees to the forest to escape an arranged marriage. Following her is old nurse Agnes who takes them to see the Forest Wife, a mythical figure of the Forest. Rather than the bogey-woman though, Mary discovers a flesh and blood woman who devotes her life to serving the people of the forest. Agnes is soon called to take over the role and the tw ...more
Mar 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: myth-english
Since I am working my way through novels of Robin Hood legend, I have a few other versions to compare this one to and it stands up well in comparison. Tomlinson's Forestwife turns the attention to Marian and does a beautiful job of mixing the mythology of early England with the later legends of Robin Hood. Since this novel targets young adults, the afterword is valuable in describing Tomlinson's research and thoughts on working within the various legends to write her story.

Forestwife describes
Mariah Gerlach
Jun 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: robin-hood
I love Robin Hood stories. Eventually I'll read them all (and hopefully soon)!

I especially like stories like this where the focus is Marian. The Forestwife revolves around the legend of a woman that lives alone in the woods caring for those that come asking. The legend of the Green Lady is born.

Not your classic Robin Hood, in fact Robin plays a fairly small role in this story. Marian learns lessons about life and responsibility. I loved the character development in this story. Marian goes from
Jul 20, 2009 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this, up until the ending, which seemed rather rushed and was definitely unsatisfying. I must say as a relevant aside, that knowing about the history of the Robin Hood legend when reading fiction based on it is (for me anyway) beneficial...or fun...or, it makes me feel smug and well-read, anyway, recognising all the bits and pieces authors have used from ballads etc, and being able to differentiate those from the elements the authors have added themselves.
But back to The Forest
May 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
When I was at my parents' house over Christmas break, I found a copy of The Forestwife on a bookshelf and decided to read it. Earlier this year I read most of a scholarly work called Robin Hood: A Mythic Biography, and in it it talked about some contemporary retellings that the author thought were particularly good Robin Hood tales, The Forestwife being one of them. The story focuses on Marian, how she escapes from an impending arranged marriage to live in the woods, eventually assuming the role ...more
Jun 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I've never actually gotten my hands on a lot of stories told from the Robin Hood mythos, which is a shame, really. This one was quite an interesting take on the original stories (or what I understand of them).

It took a much more realistic view of the relationship between the rich and titled and the poor who Robin Hood fights for.

The story was also very much centered around the figure of Maid Marian who was re-written as a run-away bride turned herb woman by her nurse who helped her escape the
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Some stories and characters are timeless. I can read about Robin Hood, Marian, and the rest of the gang in any of their incarnations and never tire of the story. The Forest Wife is a cute little tale focusing on Marian and how she helps the people that come to the forest. Robin, Little John, Much, and Friar Tuck are all there in some form. I really liked the book, however, it is written for a younger audience, so while I enjoyed it, I’m itching for a Robin Hood story with a little more meat to i ...more
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forestwife! 1 14 Mar 08, 2008 08:36AM  

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Though I was born in the South of England - my parents moved back to the North when I was one year old, and I have lived in Yorkshire ever since. I spent a few years as an infant teacher, but when my children were young I started making picture books for them and became hooked on writing. I love drawing and painting, but my main love is writing, often using the legends and history around me as ins ...more

Other books in the series

Forestwife Saga (3 books)
  • Child of the May (Forestwife Saga, #2)
  • The Path of the She Wolf (Forestwife Saga, #3)