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Everyone has heard Robin Hood’s dashing, knife-wielding companion Will Scarlet. Yet what few people know is that this daring, pick pocketing thief - is actually a girl. Presenting herself as boy, Scarlet does her best to hide her feminine charms from the world - only Robin and his band of men know the secret of Scarlet’s true gender . Yet her other secrets, who she is and where she came from, even they don’t know – and not even Robins handsome charms can make her tell him the truth. Yet, when thief taker Guy of Gisbourne is hired to rid Nottinghamshire of its infamous bandits, Scarlet soon finds her past catching up with her. Only this time, she can’t run away.
A.C Gaughen’s debut novel ‘Scarlet’ completely swept me away. Based on the renowned tale of Robin Hood, the author gives a completely fresh spin to an old, much loved tale, while keeping true to the classic aspects of this legendary story. I can honestly say I adored this book and found it next to impossible to put down.
Scarlet is a real kick-ass heroine with her impulsive tendencies, bravery and tough-as-nails character. Her selflessness itself is one of her greatest flaws, especially when she strives to help the people of Nottinghamshire - despite the lack of appreciation she is often shown in return. From the very first page, readers will find themselves captivated by Scarlet’s unique ‘voice’, which is not only consistent throughout the story, but adds an atmospheric quality to the book which really helps place your mind in the crusading era.
I also loved the simmering romance that burns slowly throughout the story. Torn between her admiration for Robin and the flirtatious attentions of Little John, Scarlet’s reactions of confusion/embarrassment and avoidance were both realistic and amusing to read.
My only criticism, is that this is a standalone novel. When I turned the last page, I wasn’t quite ready for the story to end. I did however think that the ending was left rather open so hopefully in the future there may be a sequel, especially as I feel like Scarlet’s adventures are not quite over.
So overall, I really enjoyed this book. Using small clues and hints, the author certainly keeps you on your toes guessing about the direction of the plot, romance and character motivations throughout the entire story (which is frustrating, but in really good way). Therefore I would recommend this novel to any fans of Theresa Tomlinson or Tamora Pierce - or just to anyone who enjoys reading about a strong, spunky heroines in general, because Scarlet is way up there with the best of them.