by Sue Wilson, historical (2003)
NovelBooks Inc, $5.50, ISBN 1-59105-065-0
How's this for a plot - the Sheriff of Notttingham as a hero for once? Greenwood by Sue Wilson tells the story of an unlikely romance between Thea the healer and the infamous villain. And I'm pleasantly surprised to find that I had a great time reading Greenwood. It's not perfect, but for a first book, it's pretty good.
The whole thing comes about when Thea is sent to heal the injured Sheriff. Thea has a pretty quiet life before this. She is courted by Little John, she's best buddies with the gang at Sherwood, and she hates the Sheriff and his regime. Life is perfect.
Then she is summoned to aid the injured Sheriff after the latter stupidly went to Sherwood forest to be a target practice for archers. Thea couldn't kill the Sheriff - she's a healer, after all - and instead tend the man back to health. And next thing you know, she's dragged back to Nottingham by the besotted villain.
But she's an unwilling captive! Or is she? Oh dear.
Thing is, I do like the fact that the author didn't wimp out and start making the Sheriff a poor misunderstood Good Samaritan in disguise. No, that man is bad, make no mistake. There's even a so-called forced seduction scene, which I feel is appropriate in this context, considering that he is the bad guy, after all. But the man begin making concessions for Thea, and the author handled that aspect very well. Who needs the serpent in Eden when the Sheriff's around, eh?
Thea is the problematic one. Her character is somewhat underdeveloped. Even at the end of the story I have no idea what makes her tick. I would have loved to see more of her inner conflict when she finds herself attracted to the Sheriff. It's not easy - how could a woman actually love a man she knows is behind so much injustice? Attracted to, lust after, maybe, love is another story. Thea's mind is closed off most of the time, however, or her conflict is simplified to He did a lot of bad things... but he sure looks good!. This destroys the credibility of Thea as a rational woman a lot.
Nonetheless, Greenwood does offer a compelling antihero and lots of adventures. I did have a wonderful time reading it, and for a first book, it is impressive. I like it!
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