Review

Maid Marian

by Elsa Watson



A few years ago, it seemed like everyone was telling the legend of
King Arthur from Guinevere's point of view. Now another famous
maiden from history and legend tells her own story in MAID MARIAN,
a lightly entertaining and romantic tale.

Marian Fitzwater, the orphaned child of noble parents, lives under
the watchful, and ruthless, eye of Queen Eleanor. Married at age
five to her childhood companion Hugh, Marian grows up in the royal
household, quietly learning not only how to be a noblewoman but
also how to exploit her noble position for her own gain.

When her teenaged husband is killed before their marriage is ever
consummated, Marian slyly negotiates a bargain that grants her some
freedom --- at least for a little while. The young woman, who has
grown up hearing tales of the dashing Robin Hood, travels with her
childhood nurse to find the mysterious outlaw in the hopes that he
can help her escape yet another arranged marriage, this time
potentially fatal.

Marian expects that Robin Hood and his Merry Men can help her gain
information that can secure her liberty. What she doesn't expect is
to fall in love with the leader of that merry band. Despite their
political differences, which sometimes result in fierce arguments
between the sharp-tongued duo, the lovers hatch a plan that will
outsmart the conniving nobility once and for all.

First-time novelist Elsa Watson constructs her tale with charm and
easy grace, cleverly inserting well-known tales of the Merry Men
into her own narrative. Maid Marian's voice is appropriately
formal, as befits her noble upbringing. This elevated diction,
though, means that Marian's growing feelings of love for Robin are
expressed in language that sometimes feels stilted rather than
genuine.

It's a pleasure to observe Marian's gradual maturation from a
sheltered, innocent girl into a clever, brave young woman who
fights with a cudgel and bravely disguises herself. Although the
plot sometimes strains credibility, it keeps up the pace right to
the very end. MAID MARIAN proves that this unsung companion to the
Merry Men rightfully deserves to come out from behind Robin Hood's
shadow and have her own story told.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on January 7, 2011

Maid Marian
by Elsa Watson

  • Publication Date: April 13, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Crown
  • ISBN-10: 1400050413
  • ISBN-13: 9781400050413