Noblewoman by day. Legendary thief by night. Who is the girl under the hood?
Orphaned at five and widowed at sixteen, Marian is the sole heir of Locksley keep and the Earldom of Huntingdon. Her husband, Robin of Locksley, never returned from the crusades, leaving her at the mercy of the sheriff. He chooses her a new husband among his brutal lackeys and taxes her people to rags and starvation.
Marian is sidelined and powerless, but rumors spread of a charismatic thief who could change everything. Clever, brave, and strong, his followers claim that the hooded rogue is Robin’s spirit back from the grave.
Only Marian knows the truth. Her husband is dead, but under his hood, she could be invincible.
The King of Thieves is dead. Long live the Queen.
ROBIN’S HOOD is the first novella in the High Tower Robin Hood YA medieval fantasy series. If you like strong female characters, friends-to-lovers romance, and non-stop twists and turns, then you’ll love this gender-bent twist on the Legends of Sherwood.
Buy Robin’s Hood to join the adventure!
This lightning-quick read was originally written for the Enchanted Kingdoms Anthology (2021).
What are HighTower Fairytales?
HighTower Fairytales lean more toward the original sources (NOT Disney) with rich semi-historical settings. They have magic. They have scary monsters. And, most importantly, they have unique and complex characters who are trying hard to improve themselves.
They also include plenty of humor and all the heroes marry their prince/princess charming and live happily ever after at the end!
Basically, these stories meant to inspire, but have a very difficult and occasionally dark tower to climb. They are conservatively marked at 14+ and are appropriate for teens and young adults.
Currently these stories include:
Winter Falls: A Tale of the Snow Queen (2017) Cry Wolf: A Tale of Beauty and the Beast (2020) Depths: A Tale of the Little Mermaid (2020) Letters by Cinderlight: A Tale of Cinderella (2021) Robin's Hood: A Tale of Sherwood Forest (2021)
Jacque Stevens wrote her first novel as a stress relief activity during nursing school. Now, as a USA-Today Bestselling Author, she has taken a step back from nursing so she can spend all her time writing stories filled with elves, fairies, and all things awesome. She also is a freelance editor.
Jacque lives in Arizona where she can be found walking the streets with a dark and handsome young man who loves everything about her. He’s a shiba inu mix.
New friends, enemies, and wandering visitors from cyberspace can contact Jacque here: sjacquebooks.com or sjacquebooks(at)gmail.com.
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This is a retelling of the Robin Hood tale, turned on its head with Marion filling the role of Robin while he is off fighting the crusades with King Richard. My first thought as I read through this role-reversal was, ‘This is done pretty well, I like it.’ But as I continued to read, the story drew me in more and more. There is a lot of the hero’s internal ruminations, which I don’t typically like and skip over pages at a time, but this was so well written that I could not skip a single word, comma, or period. As much as I enjoyed the first three quarters of the story, the last part of the story was masterful. I was expecting a traditional swashbuckling Robin Hood ending, (which is there) but, for me, it suddenly changed into a coming of age story of love and enlightenment. So good!
Robin's Hood is a light, genderbent retelling of Robin Hood. There's a few unexpected twists towards the end, elements from the original tale are tucked in quite nicely, and we're never really sure exactly what Gisborne is up to.
However, while this could technically be considered a "clean" read, there was enough mentions of Marian's maidenhood, unmarried characters doing inappropriate stuff, and that sort of thing to make me feel uncomfortable. There's also a brief smattering of language, and Marian is accidentally kissed by a girl when she's under her Robin Hood disguise.
Due to those issues, and that I'm a bit disappointed with the direction the sequel appears to go, I likely won't read further installments.
(I read this as included in the Enchanted Kingdoms anthology.)
Marion’s brother and her husband Rob have been away fighting in The Crusades for years, leaving her at home under the care of Rob’s father the Lord of Locksley. But when his father dies, leaving Marion on her own, the Sheriff of Nottingham and Sir Gisborne move in to claim Locksley as theirs. They insist that Marion admit that Rob was never her husband in truth, and they will claim him as dead and annul their marriage, paving the way for Gisborne to marry her and take control of Locksley. But Marion has never been very feminine. She used to do all the same things that her brother and young husband used to do, including shoot arrows with incredible accurateness. So, rather than let the sheriff take her lands, eat all of her food in large daily feasts, take advantage of women, and render unjust punishments on minor offenses, she takes to the forests and seeks out the outlaws, winning the friendship of Jon Little, who certainly isn’t little. But to inspire the men, she dons her husband’s green cape, and pretends to be his spirit fighting for justice and the people.
I wouldn’t really call this a fairy tale, since there wasn’t any magic in it, nor any actual fantasy elements. This is really more of a historical romance. I thought it did justice to the original Robin Hood legend, with plenty of action, precision shooting, friendly outlaws, and stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, pulling one over on the villainous Sheriff, and yes, the romance and trying to rescue Marion from her situation. I loved everything about this story, bringing to life all of the characters. You feel for Marion, trapped in her situation and time period where women aren’t allowed to hold power and has to be practically owned by someone else. So, when her husband isn’t present and her caretaker has died, others are able to move in and claim her property. But she is a tomboy at nature, having been raised around her brother and his best friend (her husband) and no other girls, and indulged by everyone around her, and has no idea how to act like a proper lady or wife. And she’s stuck on the idea of Rob eventually returning, in love with the memory of him as her best friend and confidant. I loved all of the flashbacks of them together as friends, confiding in each other, having adventures as children, and him protecting her as kids. It’s so romantic and heart warming and innocent, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with her idea of him. And as a tomboy she knew every inch of the keep, and could sneak around, and put the idea in people’s heads of her husband still being around as she masqueraded as him. And asking herself what would Rob do? She could see the social injustice and the freeloading sheriff, and wanted to help the people. I loved that she went and faced Jon. And I loved her relationship with Gisborne. She couldn’t give him the time of day because she didn’t have any room for him in her life with the memory of Rob taking up every inch of her being, but then she had to second-guess herself because she really wasn’t giving him even a chance to get to know him. I liked that he wasn’t thoroughly a villain (as we usually see Gisborne). He seemed to be playing all angles, and I’m not sure we ever got to see the real him except in his actions at the very end. I loved that even though Rob was mainly just her memory, he was still a developed character. The only character that truly felt undeveloped was the Sheriff who was thoroughly evil and corrupt and we didn’t get too many face to face scenes with him other than him demanding. I loved the end climactic scene (especially the moment with Gisborne). Though this story does come to a satisfactory end, I can’t wait for Book 2!
“Robin’s Hood. A Tale of Sherwood Forest” is a story inspired by the classical tale “Robin Hood”. Jacque Stevens uses the core story to create a highly original retelling of the world-renowned tale, that revolves around Marian of Locksley, the Lady Earl of Huntingdon, widow of Robin of Locksley (who never returned from the Crusade). At barely sixteen, and without a proper guardian (her father died when she was merely five-years-old), Marian is a commodity the sheriff is intended to cash on, and thus he chooses her new husband, one of his vicious lackeys will do. Take control over Lady Locksley and gain free reins to extortion the people and keep them on the blink of starvation… win/win or so the sheriff thinks.
At Marian lowest point, a charismatic thief appears, a savior of the poor, who could change the status-quo forever, can he possibly be Robin himself, returned from beyond the grave to save his people, or there is a much close to home explanation.
I approached this tale with some apprehension, shame on me! But let me explain, usually, when you read “gender-bent-story” you usually get a copy-cut story, where the male characters have just become female by the power of gender switch, without any other addictions to the story. Not so in Steven’s tale, this is strong tale that takes the core elements of the classic and develops a brand-new version, whose heroine (Marian) is far for being both a “damsel-in-distress” or/and female version of her husband (Robin). Marian is a highly capable woman, that despite her tragic background (orphan at five, and widow at sixteen) takes her fate in her hands and manages all by itself to overcome the obstacles in her path, while freeing her people in the process.
This is a neat twist on the infamous Robin of the Hood. Taking inspiration from the classic legend, this story turns it on his head in an original retelling which sees Marion of Locksley in the starring role. I really enjoyed this story and seeing familiar characters like Will Scarlet and Little John in a new light. The Sherriff of Nottingham is present and as villainous as ever, although his role takes a back seat compared to his cousin Sir Gisborne who is intent on wedding Marion. As far as antagonists go, I felt conflicted about Sir Gisborne. I ended up liking him. I loved Marion. She’s a risk taker, strong, independent and will do what it takes to save her people. Due to Robin leaving to fight in the Crusades and his presumed death, her relationship with Robin is shown in flashbacks. They married young (too young for my liking), but never got to experience the joys of marriage. There is a naivety between them which is sweet and endearing, and yet, they’d sacrifice themselves to save the other. This story is a lot of fun. A clean read, aimed at a YA audience. It’s written very well. The world-building is immersive, the plot is multi-layered, and the pacing grew in intensity towards a gripping ending. I’ve read several fairy tales and legend retellings and Robin’s Hood is up there with the best.
I thought this was a very good retelling of Robin Hood. Many retellings do have Marian taking Robin’s place but usually Robin had already started his “side job” of stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Marian’s backstory was interesting, she was more of a tomboy growing up but she still had a lady side of her. However Marian did seem very lost without Robin and her brother, both whom had gone to fight. Even under the hood and cloak she has more challenges despite not being discriminated for being a girl. She has to fill in many expectations, as a grieving widow about to be married again and as Robin Hood who helps the poor. Marian’s adventure had many twists and it isn’t over yet. I am very excited for a sequel and the series to follow Marian in this Robin Hood retelling.
Probably one of the most interesting versions of Robin Hood I have come across. Even in the face of a male driven environment, this MC used that to the best of her abilities to make “ lemonade out of lemons”. Of course there are negative consequences along with the positive. The storyline flowed very smoothly which made this tale fly by. The MC has far from perfect, which made her more believable. A very entertaining tale.
Oh my gosh- maid Marian's voice. 😍🤩 so freaking amazing. It was like layer after layer of tinted paper was removed until I could finally see clearly at the end the truth of it all. The writing was masterful. And the characters so good. I just loved this one and want book 2 out now, please.
I received this book as an ARC for my honest review.
Wow. There are not many books I stay up till the early hours to finish. But this was one of them. It’s just past 1 in the morning as I type this review. That’s how great this story is. One of the best retelling books I have read. Action packed but with tender moments, which bond the storyline to keep you glued to its pages. With a kickass female lead it’s an addictive adventure you won’t want to miss. Get the idea I loved it? I did indeed. Well done Jacque.
I recently read a different story by Stevens that was fun but I didn't completely connect with. I'm so glad I gave her books another chance! With a feminine and assertive heroine, fun banter, action and plotting and a lost love, Robin's Hood was right up my alley! I finished it late in the night and was extremely sad that the adventure was now over!
Favourites - The MC. I LOVE what Stevens has done with Maid Marian as the Hood. She is our courageous heroine, but in a perfectly realistic, feminine way and I love that. She doesn't love violence, she's not stronger than a man twice her size, she's perfectly human, but she becomes the hero through her choices and that's such a breath of fresh air. I loved her inner conflict, her anger, her pain, her kindness, I loved it all. - Twist on Robin Hood. Robin Hood is admittedly a favourite trope of mine, although I'd never read any retellings until this one. I really enjoyed the way the author put the trope on it's head by making Maid Marian into Robin Hood in a believable way - Backstory. We don't get any infodumps, instead Stevens introduces us, snippet by snippet to the character's relevant backstory. It's so well sprinkled in that it never distracted of the main story, it only added to it so that I felt even more connected to our characters which enabled me to get 'all the feels'.
What I missed: - Nothing! only more of the story. So I can't wait until part two comes out!
Sexual content: none (one or two mild references) Coarse language: clean Violence and gore: mild (no gore, mild violence) Content warnings: domestic abuse
Conclusion Robin's Hood is definitely a new favourite of mine. I recommend it to anyone who likes a clean fairytale retelling with a very human but strong heroine. And I cannot cannot cannot wait until book two!
A fun adventure - and I'm a sucker for Robin Hood retellings...
I liked the role swap of having Marian robbing the rich to aid the poor and how she got connected with Little John - it made it more plausible since he was known for being a wanted murderer, so thier connection helped her overcome those initial assumptions.
Aggie and Lady-Dog, one human, one dog as the latter's name suggests, were nice supporting characters for Marian in the castle, too.
One thing that I really liked was that Guy of Gisborne was loyal to the sheriff (totally the main villain of the story), but he's also a more well-rounded character who has good qualities.
There were only a few things that made it a 3 versus a 4 star for me. One became a distraction for me, and it was the use of "mayhap" every time "maybe" would have been written. With the exception of "Good Morrow" the language felt fairly neutral, neither too modern, nor too far back, so the use of only mayhap felt like a stretch when the rest of the language didn't fall into the same historical setting, if that makes sense... The other piece was that I felt that so much was explained to me as the reader rather than showing it to me or letting me guess and figure things out down the road.
Overall, I found it to be a fun adventure. And as odd as it may sound, I know it was in relation to when she was ready to lose her "maiden" status via her biological advancement, but I like when books has cis-female characters who actually get their periods. It's a thing and it's ok to have it mentioned in our books as a normal part of life. It also served as a nice example of the pressure that Rob never put on Marian...he wanted her to be ready even though he "had the right" for them to become "true" spouses, but he knew that she deserved to come to him when she wanted to.
Thank you to JS for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
The Lady Marian was married to Lord Robin of Locksley when she was six and he was eight. After the wedding, they went to play with puppies. It was a strategic marriage, a way for Robin's family to raise the orphaned Marian and her brother, but also gain a closer connection to the king. And Marian grew up playing with the boys until they left to fight King Richard's war and were declared dead. Doomed to marry Sir Guy, cousin of the dreaded sheriff, Marian takes Robin's hood, which he always told her was magical, hides her own identity, and works in secret to help her people who are poor and mistreated, because that's what she always wanted most to do - love and care for her people.
I loved the way the backstory of Rob and Marian was explored. He's hardly in the present-day story, but her memories connected with her current experiences helped her to understand him and their relationship in a way that she had never understood it when they were together. I also loved the twists on the classic Robin Hood characters that we know and love. For a story that I know so well, Jacque's rendition was faithful to all the parts that matter most while surprising me with numerous twists. It was a fabulous adventure and I eagerly await the next installment.
I read this book as part of the Enchanted Kingdoms collection.
Robin's Hood - Jacque Stevens 💚 A hooded cape 🏹 A wild plan 💪 A determined heroine 💰 A band of merry thieves ⚔ A battle for Locksley
When Marion's father in law dies and her Husband Rob and brother, who have been gone for years fighting in the crusades, are presumed dead the vultures start circling to claim the Lands of Locksley. The Sherriff of Nottingham wants to force Marrian to mary his cousin Sir Gisbourne, take her lands, tax her people and expects her to roll over and let it happen.
Well that's not on the cards for Marian who takes up the hood of her husband's ghost, joins forces with outlaws in the woods and steals from the sherriff to give to her people and ensure they can afford the taxes ebing set. But with the man hunt for "Robin Hood" escalating by the minute how long can she lead this double life?
I enjoyed this retelling of Robin Hood. I loved Marion's determination and cleverness to fight again those that wanted to take her lands. I enjoyed her antics running around pretending to be her late husband's ghost, using the secret tunnels to cause mischief and having her dog spook people by howling inside the walls.
The way Marion and Rob's relationship was explored through her thoughts and flashbacks was well done an moving. It was also great to see Marion as a vulnerable, regular person arguably with no real power making heroic choices and becoming a legend.
While this was a fun read I feel like there was just a little something missing for me thus my 4/5 rating - the story did feel a bit rushed at times and we spend a lot of time inside Marian's head rather than seeing her interacting with the other characters. Like the Sherrif who we all know is the bad guy barely makes an appearance aside from throwing his weight around to set that context. We don't see Marion really going head to head with the Sheriff, or even with Guy until the very end which feels a bit out of character. Yes, she uses their perceptions of her as a weak woman to her advantage and is kicking butt via her secret identity BUT she was set up as a wild, firey tomboy who wants to keep up with and best the boys - it felt a little odd that she wouldn't have verbally challenged the Sheriff or sparred with Guy.
I'm not sure if I'd read this again but I definitely do want to know what happens next. I'll be looking out for the next book.
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Oh my goodness this was an amazing story! A gender-bent twist on Robin Hood? Sign me up! I loved the character of Marian in this book. She was orphaned at the age of five and Robin Hood's dad took her and her brother in and had her and Robin married at a very young age. When Robin is killed during the war Marian is left as the sole heir of Locksley keep at the age of sixteen. When her father in law passes the Sheriff of Nottingham moves in and tries to marry off Marian so he can gain control of her estate. When Marian sees her people being treated unfairly and taxed near starvation to dons Robin's hood, the only item he left her to help her people. With a group of "merry men" including the infamous Little John, Marian does what she can while in disguise. I loved how strong willed and stubborn she was. She cared deeply for her people and did what ever she could to help them. This story had so many twists and turns and had me constantly guessing that I loved every minute of it. I also loved the relationship between Robin and Marian and how growing up married to each other at such a young age affected them. I'm so happy to hear that we will see more of Marian in an upcoming book.
to say i enjoyed robin’s hood is an understatement. i loved it. this book gave off so many bbc robin hood (2006) vibes, and i’m totally here for it! it was a fun, lighthearted read. i really enjoyed the length of the book, being shorter than a regular novel, which made it so much easier to read.
for the characters, i really enjoyed them all in their own ways. i liked how john became a larger part of this story as it went on. he’s just so kind and caring.
marian, who was our main character, developed so much over such a small amount of time. from previous robin hood retellings, i’ve always hated marian. she was always weak and defenseless, however in robin’s hood, she was strong and capable. and she didn’t irritate me.
robin himself is an integral part of this story, although he’s mostly mentioned, and doesn’t play much of a role. the book revolves around his spirit (i’m assuming this is the correct word), as he’s not the one doing the kind deeds, but it’s being done in his name.
as for the plot, it never bored me. i like to think that’s because this book was shorter than a regular novel, so there wasn’t much chance for it to become boring. something was always happening.
and for the few things that i disliked:
i know it’s a historical fiction, but i really hated the language used in the book. i felt it took away from the actual reading experience and made it more difficult than it needed to be. also, why use the word mayhap in nearly every paragraph? at first it was amusing, but after a while it became irritating.
and despite being labelled as a fantasy, i wouldn’t call it one at all. there’s one minor detail that might have fantasy tendencies (the hood), but it’s hardly magical. i feel like placing robin’s hood into the fantasy category is wildly deceiving. that being said, as a historical fiction novel, it’s a wonderful retelling of an old tale.
now i have to patiently wait for the rest of the series. (and you bet i can’t wait for it!!)
thank you to the author for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Robin Hood is one of my favorite tales and I love adaptations of it. This one was a lot of fun, centered around Marian, who takes up her husband's name and (possibly enchanted) cloak when he fails to return from the Crusades and is assumed dead.
The plot touches on the major Robin Hood landmarks like the golden arrow archery competition and sometimes feels rushed, due to the short length of the book, with less of the focus on archery, fighting and clever capers that I usually associate with Robin Hood stories.
Instead, the story focuses on Marian and I loved her as a character. Orphaned and married to Robin at five for the sake of the lands and title she brings with her, she grew up tagging along with her brother and Robin. (Why the brother didn't inherit is never really explained.) The way her relationship with Robin unfolds in her thoughts and memories was sweet yet complex. He was her friend, her older brother's best friend, and also held the title of her husband, despite the fact that they only had their first kiss the day he rode off for the Crusades. Stevens did a wonderful job of showing all those aspects of Marian and Robin's relationship, as well as Marian's evolving views on her own womanhood and the freedom, power, and responsibilities that may be lost or gained by embracing it.
Marian's Man isn't out yet, but I'm looking forward to it.
A pretty good YA Robin Hood retelling. Engaging, well flowing writing makes it a comforting sort of read. I won't say I was gripped as it is you usual Marian-as-Robin story, but she's a level-headed narrator and it's smoothly told. Bad guys (or Guy-s?) aren't moustache twirling villains, and the good guys aren't saints (certainly not one portly Friar!) There could have been more character interactions and less time in Marian's inner monologue, just to grow characters and relationships a little more, but it was a nice enough read and I'd recommend it to straight-out retelling fans.
Marian was left behind when Robin went off to the crusades. And when Robin’s father died, a few years later, the sheriff of Nottingham and his lackey Guy of Gisborne descend like vultures, ready to take Marian’s lands and tax her people into ruin. Marian is sure Robin is dead. But her people need saving. She can’t stand by as the sheriff punishes her people and starves them. So she takes up Robin’s hood, the one he promised would protect her. And she created a legend. This story had a melancholic feel to it, somehow. But it was beautiful, too. Marian was interesting and sympathetic, if an unreliable narrator. Her motivations were always very clear and compelling: she wanted to save her people, help the poor. It was perfectly in line with the spirit of the Robin Hood legends. The balance of the present—her escapades as Robin Hood—and her memories of tromping around with Rob were well balanced, and the details built naturally. Though they were only her memories, the relationship she revealed(and realized?) between her and Robin was masterfully done. I loved all the side characters, especially the Merry Men. I even liked…hated…FELT VERY CONFLICTED about Guy of Gisborne—he was a fascinating, nuanced character. I cannot wait for book 2! I received an advanced copy, and I have reviewed this willingly.
Jacque Stevens’ Robin’s Hood was a treat to read! Not going to spoil it for you, but this story is wonderfully turned on its head, yet it follows all the traditional pit-stops of the original tale - river crossover, saving Will Scarlet, robbing the rich to give to the poor, etc. For me, the story was a mix of Robin Hood (2010) movie and Pixar’s Brave with the author cleverly filling in the gaps of hows and whys. I liked Mare’s fire and determination. Definitely going to read Marion’s Man, the sequel.
I read this book as part of the Enchanted Kingdom's anthology, which I also recommend if you're looking for 20 new fairytale authors to discover.
I fell in love with the legend of "Robin Hood" as a child. I watched the Disney movie many times. This story is Robin Hood with a gender twist.
Lady Marian has waited for three years for her husband, Robin, and her brother to return from the Crusades. The government is falling to pieces and the Sheriff of Nottingham comes to claim her home when her father-in-law passes away.
What is a maid to do? Take up her husband's cloak and bring hope to the starving poor. It is a fine line of "cat and mouse" she plays with the sheriff and the man he has brought with him. She is to enter into a forced marriage so the Sherrif can have control over Locksley keep.
I look forward to reading the next book, Marian's Man.
Ive always been a fan of the tale of Robin Hood and his band of merry men so i was super excited to read this twist on the classic tale!. I really enjoyed this book! The writing was great i was hooked from page one! . I love how Marian is the main focus of this tale, shes strong and independent and that ending!! im really looking forward to book 2!!
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
I have always loved Robin Hood! So, when I went searching on Amazon for a good Robin Hood book, I discovered this one, Robin's Hood, by Jacque Stevens. This was EVERYTHING I wanted in a Robin Hood story!! I absolutely LOVED this book! The characters and the progression of the story and relationships of the characters were all so good and realistic! This is a book I will recommend and read over and over, I wish I had a physical copy of it! I'm excited to start book two!
What a fantastic retelling of an absolute classic Robin Hood. An extremely well written story with plots twists and turns I did not see coming and a fantastic kick ass character who takes her own fate and that of the people into her hands to free them all. I absolutely loved this and so look forward to the next book.
Love the idea of Marion taking on the role of the traditional male Robin Hood. Assumed to be widowed and dealing with the evil sheriff, she must do what she can to protect her people. This story of full of twists and turns and pulls the reader into this retelling. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Who would have thought that Maid Marion was in fact Robin Hood! Well possibly more people than she thought but they were all happy to keep her secret... after all, she was the one who loved them best. But when her Rob finally comes home from war, how will he feel about her adventures?
This was a super fun Robin Hood re-telling! I really enjoyed the twist on having Marian be Robin Hood and the long history Jaque Stevens gave her with the actual Robin of Locksley. The romance was definitely there, even with Robin being absent for a better part of the book. The story had plenty of action and it was fun to see the cast of characters of Robin Hood’s band come together. Overall a great start to the series and I’m excited to see what happens in the next book!