Set in England in 1216, this book is, simply put, a story of a female Robin Hood. Or, Robin of the Hode, as the English called him. However, Merry Ellison is much more than that. Formerly Lady Merry, she now resides in the woods with orphaned children and a few adults who were left homeless by the evil King John and his men. They are called the "Ghosts of Farthingale Forest" since they rob without being seen, let alone caught, and cannot be found when hunted. Merry's own family was murdered and her home burnt to the ground, along with the village and residents. This is the result of her father's failed attempt to assassinate the evil king. He paid for that with his life and the lives of his family and villagers.
She now oversees the band of innocent children left behind and silently steals to support them. The goal being to keep them alive and safe from the evil king. There are a few near adult male and female characters who support her efforts to care for these children. She once believed in God but blames Him for her loss and no longer believes in a God who could take so much away from so many. The interesting and refreshing part is that the two young men, Timothy and Allen, who are part of her life are believers and rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their activities and the loving kindness of our Heavenly Father. This is an excellent example for a young reader.
The story moves along as complications arise and the little band has to move from place to place to avoid detection and capture. In the process, she begins to see the possibility of God again and in the end... well, I will not tell you which young man wins her heart, or how this ends.
It is well written and I like that the dialogue takes place with understandable English language instead of Olde English and does not detract from the manner of speaking that would have been used in the 13th century.
In the end, this is a story that we have heard of and read before. It is a good read for young adults and mid to late teens. It was absorbing enough to keep me reading and not boring. I also appreciate that. It is written for the Young Adult reader and for that group, I give it five stars.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the the publisher, Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. These words are my opinion.
See more about this author and her novels at Dina Sleiman.
Stay tuned, I have some neat reads coming up for review! See you soon!