The Forestwife

by Theresa Tomlinson

jacket illustration by Dennis Nolan

Jacket illustration copyright © Dennis Nolan.

An ALA "Notable Trade Book for Children"
A Booklist "Editor's Choice"

"Gr. 8-12. Using the Robin Hood legends as a springboard, Tomlinson heads deep into the heart of the forest, but the hero of this story is not the prince of thieves; rather, it is Marian, who becomes the benevolent Green Lady of the forest. Rather than marry an elderly widower who stinks of ale, 15-year-old Marian runs away to join the forest folk, who live by their own rules. Among them is the girl's former nurse, Agnes, whose commonsense and prowess at healing has earned her the mantle of Forestwife--the wise woman people come to when they are in dire need. Agnes is also the mother of a young outlaw named Robert, who Marian dislikes at first sight. Frances Temple's The Ramsay Scallop and Karen Cushman's Catherine, Called Birdie are recent novels that offer a view of the Middle Ages from the female perspective, but this story adds a dimension by populating its world primarily with women, including a band of renegade nuns. Cleverly, yet subtly, the author marks the extra burdens that women had to bear in a society that was fair to few of its subjects. But this is a very personal story and a voyage of discovery for Marian, who finds not only the mother she thought was dead, but also a true love in Robert. In an ending that's underplayed, Mary must forfeit her wished-for role of wife to Robert when she inherits the role of the Forestwife on Agnes' death. A rich, vibrant tale, with an afterword that describes how various legends were braided into the story." -- Booklist, starred review.

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