Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Brightfall” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.68  ·  Rating details ·  222 ratings  ·  82 reviews
Someone is murdering the Merry Men - and if Marian doesn't stop them, her children will be the next to die: a wonderful re-imagining of Robin Hood and Maid Marian, perfect for fans of Katherine Arden, Naomi Novik and Christina Henry.

It's been a mostly quiet life since Robin Hood denounced Marian, his pregnant wife, and his former life and retreated to a monastery to repent
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 5th 2019 by Jo Fletcher Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Brightfall, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Brightfall

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  222 ratings  ·  82 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Brightfall
Sebastien Castell
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Set some twelve years after the adventure tales we're all familiar with, Brightfall takes the elements of the Robin Hood mythos and turns them on their head. Robin is no longer the joyful, daring adventurer of his Sherwood Forest days, but rather a bitter and often petty man who abandoned his family to retreat into a monastery. Most importantly, Marian is neither the damsel in distress nor a badass female version of Robin himself, but rather a forest wise woman who relies on her magic, intellect ...more
Lou (nonfiction fiend)
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Brightfall is a retelling of the story of Robin Hood and Maid Marian, and what a spectacular historical fantasy it was. I adored the fact that Marian was the central character and with her personality traits it's difficult not to admire her; strong, independent and opinionated protagonists always grab my attention. The weaving together of the fantasy and real worlds is done seamlessly and Moyer's prose is nothing less than mesmerising making this a pure pleasure to read. Right from the beginning ...more
I received this book from Jo Fletcher Books in exchange for an honest review.

12 years on from being abandoned by Robin Hood, Maid Marion is happy raising her children, and helping the people of Sherwood Forest in the ways she can with her special powers of magic and relationship with the Fae. When Friar Tuck comes to Marion with terrible news of the deaths of several of their friends in mysterious circumstances, Marion ends up on a journey with her ex-husband, a tricksy Fae lord and a sullen war
Beth Cato
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebook, 2019, netgalley, fantasy
I received an advance ebook through NetGalley.

The mythology of Robin Hood is twisted in delightfully fresh ways in Moyer's Brightfall. Picking up about a decade after the disbanding of the Merry Men, the book finds Maid Marian as a mother of twins and a competent witch. (Let me emphasis the competent bit, as that was one of the joys of this book--she's darn good with magic and a savvy lady. This isn't a book with a Too Stupid to Live lead character.) Robin Hood is her children's father, but he i
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Marian is an independent woman of magic - yes, okay, a witch - and her Fae allies are steeped in glamour and treachery. Robin has fled the greenwood for the abbey, and is called back unwilling to be her protector as she tries to solve the mystery of the Merry Men's murders. The stage is set for a bickering road trip where faith and sin will clash with magic as the couple's past comes back to the haunt them.

In spite of the magical trappings, the book is at its best when it focuses on the commonp
Blodeuedd Finland
Aug 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I can't believe I am saying this, but Robin was such an asshat! Ugh, I wanted to kick him in the nuts! But luckily this is not his book.

It is not your usual kind of Robin Hood. There is magic, dragons and Fae. But the Church is winning ground, men are turning to logic and magic is dying and will be forgotten. So maybe this is what really happened then.

Marian is a witch, she lives with her twins in Sherwood since Robin annulled their marriage 12 years ago and went to live in a monastery. Luckily
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
*4.5 stars*

Set many years after King Richard's return to England - and 12 years after Robin Hood left his family to retreat into a monastery - this story is told from Marian's point of view, and it really is deliciously fun, magical and absorbing. (It even has a fabulous dragon in Sherwood Forest!) I had a couple of very tiny nitpicks along the way, but honestly, by the time I sat down to write this review, I couldn't bear to even write any of them out because they're SO small by comparison to t
T. Frohock
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is one of the few non-horror/dark fantasy books that I've read this year, but I've always enjoyed Jaime's writing, so I didn't think twice about picking it up.

Jaime's style draws me in with her emotionally centered female characters and Brightfall is no exception to this rule. Told from Marian's point of view, the book puts a neat twist on the Robin tale with lots of references to Celtic magic and Robin Hood lore. The characters and their motivations are solid and believable, yet wrapped in
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
I actually didnt mind the concept of the murder mystery fantasy style story. My issue was with the characters and plot. The characters were just annoying. The plot pretty uninteresting and slow. Ive never been the biggest fan of the fairy tale fantasy, so that probably didn't help. Some of the fae just seemed weird. At times they seemed all powerful but then Marian could just summon some at will etc. This all just confused me. ...more
E.M. Swift-Hook
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What happens after a legend is over?

Twelve years ago, after their days with the Merry Men, Robin renounced Marian leaving her to fend for herself and their unborn twins, to go into a monastery. It had been her magic had kept them safe from the Sheriff of Nottingham as they hid in Sherwood Forest. But now something is killing their friends. Tuck asks Marian to find out who is weaving the murderous curse before anyone else dies. Marian knows the ways of the fae and the other creatures of magic, bu
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved this. I loved the characters, the magic, the premise, the writing. Niggles that stopped it being a 5🌟 read - we seemed to be on the road just that little bit too long and the denouement came about too easily and quickly after all that travelling build up. But anyway, this book really suited my current mood and I found it an enjoyable read.
Short reviews at the moment because I have way too many books due for return to the library.
One thing I feel, is that the best way to read this novel is to release all expectations and holds to the Robin Hood story that you may have in your heart and enjoy it for its own unique story. The Robin Hood in these pages is not the Merry Man of his Sherwood days and he has issues (some of them would make any feminist and even faintest pro choice supporter gnash their teeth) (view spoiler)
Kieran McAndrew
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marian is grieving the death of her husband, Will Scarlet, when Brother Tuck advises that the Merry Men are dying one by one. She realises that the Fae have cursed the humans of Sherwood and only she can save them.

Moyer's narrative has the beginnings of a good idea and the struggle between light and darkness is tackled seriously, but readers are ultimately left cold as to the fates of the characters.
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was immediately smitten by the premise of this book. Set just over a decade after their well-known exploits, Marian and Robin Hood are not the people you remember. They are living separate lives; events having pushed them apart. When their trusted friends start dying, Marian is called upon to uncover the truth. Unfortunately, the only way she can do this means reconnecting with her lost love.

Moyer’s novel allows us to discover the people behind the legends. The adventures that everyone is alre
My thanks to Quercus Books/Jo Fletcher Books for an eARC via NetGalley of Jaime Lee Moyer’s ‘Brightfall’ in exchange for an honest review.

I immediately fell in love with this historical fantasy inspired by the legends of Robin Hood. Its green cover design showing a map of Sherwood and the surrounding environs was beautiful and enticed me to enter Moyer’s rich reimagining of how Robin, Marian and their companions lives turned out.

Twelve years before the events of ‘Brightfall’, Robin had his marri
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I can imagine the pitch for this book. What if… Maid Marian was a witch, and Robin Hood had fairies? It sounds like it shouldn’t really work on paper, but it really does. In this alternate universe, the Merry Men have disbanded. Ten years later, Marian has two children by Robin, but Robin ran off and left her a few months before they were born.

Now, the Merry Men are dying, and Marian wants to get to the bottom of it, before her own children come into danger. It’s time to find Robin again- even i
Jeannie Zelos
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Brightfall, Jaime Lee Moyer

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy

As a child I adored Robin hood and the merry men, so when I saw this I was keen to read. I'm really conflicted though, TBH if it wasn't about Robin and co I'd have enjoyed it far more but for me its Robin and Marion and a HEA and its hard to see them apart.
Even harder is the ar se Robin has become. He's like a spoiled child, afraid of his own shadow, sullen, rude to everyone and with a really Entitled
Kaffeeklatsch and Books
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this so so much. It blew me off my socks with it's lovable characters. Besides all your standard Robin Hood/Maid Marian characters we got an adorable vixen called Bridget, a hound named Julian, Marlowe the dragon and even Marian's children. All the sidekicks gave the story this extra magic to it.
It reads like a re-telling/fairytale paired with adventure and a bit of thriller.
I flew through this and at some point I'll re-read it, which is the highest rating I personally can give a book.
5 s
Patrice Sarath
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story. You know how in some books you know the characters and the world live on even when you’ve finished the book? Brightfall is like that. The world and characters are so strong and beautifully drawn that I could imagine them going about their lives after the last page of the book, continuing to feel, to sorrow, to heal, and perhaps to love again. This is a lovely book. Highly recommend for fans of fantasy, Robin Hood myths, and the old ballads. This book goes on my keeper shelf.
Krista D.
Oct 17, 2022 rated it really liked it
Such an interesting story, mixing fantasy, murder mystery, and historical myth together and then wrapping it all in Moyer's melancholy, lyrical writing style. This stories sets aside the legends of Robin Hood, and instead make him a flawed man. A deeply, annoying, asshole of a flawed man.
The bastard.
Marian is the lead of this book. A hedgewitch or maybe a cottage witch (I always get those two confused), she weaves subtle magic, sees the Fae world, and speaks with a dragon. She is a fierce mothe
Juliet McKenna
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Even experienced writers are setting themselves a high bar when it comes to finding an original and unexpected perspective on a myth as well-known and as oft-told as Robin Hood. Moyer more than succeeds in this, and does a whole lot of other interesting things with this story as well. Highly recommended as an entertaining and exciting read, that will leave you looking at the nature of heroism from some very different angles.
May 31, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
One of the few books written in the 1st person which I didn't find extremely cringe worthy.

I enjoyed the writing, which was very good, but the story wasn't my cup of tea. A bit too much relationship drama and not enough mystery solving/adventuring for my taste. The blurb is mostly to blame for my expectations. I also felt that the biggest 'reveal' happened a little out of nowhere and was skimmed over a bit too quickly.
Jun 04, 2022 rated it liked it
2.5/5. I liked Marian’s character and the forest setting but there was absolutely no sense of suspense or narrative tension in the story, and Robin could have been removed entirely without it making a lick of difference to the plot. I’m not sure how you make a tale about former outlaws dull, but here we are.
Jun 14, 2019 added it
This is so much fun! A gorgeous concept, beautifully rendered by my friend Jaime Lee Moyer.
Erika Ensign
May 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Borrowed from my Recently Read podcast/blog post:
In the middle of the greenwood stood an oak, broad as it was  tall, with roots the Fae believed wrapped around the heart of the world.  People on the farms outside Sherwood still told tales abut that tree;  most called it Robin’s Oak. Few spinning takes about Robin and Marian’s  adventures knew I shared a cottage there with my children. Much as it  pained Robin to claim Kate and Robbie, they were his children too. Only a  few close friends and the
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The story starts roughly 12 years after the 'Robin Hood' tale we all know and love. When Marion found out she was pregnant, Robin left her, got their marriage annulled and joined the church. Now Father Tuck brings bad tidings to Marions doorstep. Will Scarlet, and many more of the Merry Men have died under suspicious circumstances. Knowing Tuck would only bring this to her if he suspected magic, Marion sets off to find the reason behind these mysterious deaths before any more of her friends meet ...more
Nicki Markus
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found Brightfall an immensely fun and entertaining read. It's not a retelling per se, as all the events from standard Robin Hood stories have taken place prior to those in this story, but it does take familiar characters and show them in a new light. Marian is very much the central figure here, and I enjoyed Moyer's portrayal of her as a strong, independent woman. My favourite character was Bert, though I do wish Marian had given him a nobler-sounding name. Every time she addressed him I wante ...more
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
(Content Note: there is offscreen child death in this novel.)

I absolutely loved this.

I've long been a fan of Jaime Lee Moyer's work, because her characters are so well rounded that they feel like people you're sitting and having tea with. This novel does that with characters that we think we already know.

If you ever wondered what happened to Maid Marian and Robin Hood after their happily ever after, this is a murder mystery set in Sherwood from Marian's point of view, roughly 10 years after th
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copies
Marian put Robin of Locksley behind her years ago when he deserted her for the Church. Now the Merry Men are dying and Friar Tuck is convinced only Marian’s Craft can solve the mystery. The estranged pair must join forces to avenge their friends, but Robin’s fervent beliefs are as poisonous as his long-kept secrets…

Jaime Lee Moyer folds in familiar characters as she sets up her tale. We meet Tuck and Little John; Marian mourns Will Scarlet (whose death instigates her quest); there’s even a sly n
S. Naomi Scott
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: women-authors
** DISCLAIMER: I was provided with an advanced reading copy of this book by the publisher (via Amazon Vine) in return for an honest review. **

I’m not going to lie, I really wasn’t impressed with this book. It’s got so many faults and flaws that the few shining moments it does have don’t really raise it above a two-star rating, in my opinion. And honestly, this is a hell of a shame, because the basic premise has so much promise and so much to offer.

Robin Hood and his Merry Men have broken up and
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Stand-In
  • Reputation
  • Roman and Jewel
  • Neverwhere: BBC Dramatisation
  • Lieutenant Hornblower
  • Live to Tell the Tale: Combat Tactics for Player Characters
  • You Look Like That Girl: A Child Actor Stops Pretending and Finally Grows Up
  • Fireheart Tiger
  • What Abigail Did That Summer (Rivers of London, #5.3)
  • Mexican Gothic
  • A Lady's Guide to Fortune-Hunting
  • The Court of Miracles (A Court of Miracles, #1)
  • Lore Olympus: Volume Four
  • The Life of the Party : Realities of an RPG (Vol 1)
  • The Library of the Dead (Edinburgh Nights, #1)
  • Cobalt Blue
  • The Family Izquierdo
  • What Song the Sirens Sang (Gideon Sable #3)
See similar books…
Jaime Lee Moyer writes fantasy and science fiction, herds cats, is an occasional poet, and maker of tangible things. Her first novel, Delia's Shadow, was published by Tor Books, and won the 2009 Literary Award for Fiction, administrated by Thurber House and funded by the Columbus Arts Council. Two sequels, A Barricade In Hell and Against A Brightening Sky, were also published by Tor. Her new novel ...more

Related Articles

  Cross-genre explorers, history nerds, and recovering English majors will want to spend some time with this specially curated collection...
121 likes · 17 comments