Source: purchased (paperback).
Genre: historical YA.
Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again.
This is the review of the second part of the Scarlet series, so there are sure to be some spoilers for book one. You can read my review for the first book here.
I enjoyed Scarlet very much, so I was eager to dig into Lady Thief as soon as possible. That didn’t happen, of course, because my to-be-read pile keeps growing at an exponential rate and moving all the books from one apartment to the other earlier this month made me realize I have a problem because we had to buy not one but two new bookcases to fit everything in (and still I have some unpacked boxes of books lying around *sigh*). Anyway, I’m trying to read a few of the books I own before purchasing/requesting any new ones, so I grabbed Lady Thief off the shelf and rushed through it in two days because let me tell you something: Ms. Gaughen can write.
Scarlet is an amazing young woman and though she’s in a really tight spot (she’s married to the one man she hates above all and is desperately in love with another one who is troubled by his past), she makes the best of it. I loved her intellect and quick wit, she always has a plan, even when the situation seems most desperate. Oh, I also liked how we find out very little about her appearance – a YA novel that doesn’t focus on the heroine’s looks is a good exception, I think!
Robin is such a great love interest (oh, yeah, if you haven’t heard – this is a retelling of Robin Hood where Will Scarlet is actually a girl – our girl). He’s noble and honest and very good looking but also suffers from what we’d call PTSD in the 21st century because he fought in the Crusades and brought home a head full of nasty memories.
I liked how Gaughen deals with big issues – trauma, war, poverty, cruelty. It’s a difficult task, writing historical fiction without romanticizing the past too much, but I think she does a credible job.
I rarely include quotes in my reviews (I never have post-its on hand to mark them and then I forget where all the really pretty parts were), but I have one here that I agree with so completely, especially after more than eight years of being with A.
Gaughen also writes wonderful villains. I hated Gisbourne so much but also thought he was a very well-layered character, which is always a good thing with villains. I never believe them if they’re too evil. The addition of Prince John, the petulant, spoiled royal who makes a lot of trouble for Scarlet and her adopted family of misfits, was a very good thing, too.
My one criticism about this second part would be that it was a bit convoluted when it came to Scarlet’s going back and forth between Rob and Gisbourne, between what she wanted and what she thought she should do. I kept thinking “Why doesn’t she just KILL HIM?” (her life would have been much easier) – and I know, iknowiknowiknow that killing (an unarmed/sleeping man) is a mortal sin but surely God would forgive her if she rid the earth of such a pestilent creature as Gisbourne? But then maybe not, I know nothing of God and his plans. We also wouldn’t have much of a plot if she just stabbed the bastard in the first chapter… Eh.
Anyway, this second instalment of the Scarlet trilogy is pretty darn good, a very solid second book in the series, and I liked the things Scarlet learned about herself – the things, I believe, that will be the driving force behind the final book in the series, Lion Heart, which was published earlier this year. I’m eager to see if Scarlet will find her happy ending (let’s hope so, I have a fondness for happy endings).
Have you read Scarlet or Lady Thief? What did you think?
Do you like reading about thiefs and vagabonds or do you prefer your hero(in)es on the right side of the law?
I’d love to hear from you! :)