What if Robin Hood was a woman?

I mean from what I can figure out from brief research, no one has actually been able to prove that  Robin Hood existed, who says that the inspiration couldn’t have been a woman?

Now if anyone is looking for an epic origin story of this well known legend, I have to point you in the direction of  The Forest Queen by Betsy Cornwell.

Here’s the synopsis:

When sixteen-year-old Sylvie’s brother takes over management of their family’s vast estates, Sylvie feels powerless to stop his abuse of the local commoners. Her dearest friend asks her to run away to the woods with him, and soon a host of other villagers join them. Together they form their own community and fight to right the wrongs perpetrated by the king and his noblemen. 

A few things I need to mention…

***Trigger Warning: Attempted Suicide, Sexual abuse, explicit killing of animals***

I heard this book pitched as a gender bent retelling of Robin Hood, and if that is what you’re looking for; you won’t be disappointed. And it’s not just Robin Hood who is gender bent. The rest of the Sherwood (in this case Woodshire) Forest gang is also gender bent. Little Jane instead of Little John, Mae Tuck instead of Friar Tuck, etc.

I wasn’t sure how to organize my thoughts so I’m going to take a page out of Zoe from ReadbyZoe’s book, and list in pros and cons.


  • Origin Story: Yes it is pitched as Lady Robin Hood retelling but it’s more of an origin story
  • Slowwww burn; friends-to-lovers
  • Description of nature
  • Survival Skills: Research appears to been put in place for the description of the skills used to be accurate
  • Bi-sexual Rep! Albeit Briefly
  • Promotes Strong Women: A woman is the brains behind the construction of their new home


  • It’s pitched as a retelling when it fits the bill of an origin story
  • The writing style reads like it is meant to be a bridge into YA (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; just not for me)
  • Poor handling of Dark topics
  • Potentially harmful depiction of a suicide attempt

Over all I did enjoy this book. Like any book there were things I enjoyed and things I thought could use work depicted in my pros and cons list above.  I could drawn the lush forests just from the descriptions that were given. My favorite thing about this book is that women can build their own version of a community in the face of repression, as well as exploitation.

This is definitely a softer book that takes harsh themes and spins the Robin Hood tale into what a sense of what true social and economic equality could look like. As well as showing the impact of a community on both the rich and poor.

Rating: 3.75-4 Stars

Happy Reading 🙂



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