Scarlet is a fantastic debut novel from author AC Gaughen. Scarlet is a unique retelling of Robin Hood told from Will Scarlet’s point of view. In this case Will, a knife wielding expert thief, is actually a girl and only Robin and a few trusted companions know the truth.
Scarlet stays true to the legend of Robin Hood. Robin really is the Earl of Huntington who returns home from the Crusades to find out all has been taken from him. AC Gaughen’s vision of Robin is probably one of the best I’ve read in a long time. Robin is the leader but he is flawed, and those flaws only make him a more layered, believable character. At times you wonder about his motivation but as the story unfolds so do Robin’s motives.
This is definitely a character driven story. The band is filled with enjoyable characters. Much, the Milner’s son, and John Little are both beautifully drawn characters that compliment and test Robin as the band tries to keep the people of Nottingham safe. The Sheriff is horrible to his people but Gisbourne is by far the worst. He is a thief hunter and unnecessarily cruel to the people of Nottingham. He will stop at nothing to find Robin and his men, but that is not all that drives him. The characters are all fully fleshed out and believable. There are moments between Scarlet and Robin that sizzle as he pushes her to be truthful for the sake of his men. She pushes back to keep hidden the life she has left behind.
Scarlet’s narration drives the story and frequently has you wondering who she really is and what she is hiding. The book is well paced. I had difficulty putting it down because I needed to know what happened next to Robin and his band of men. This book is action packed and filled with the rich history of Sherwood Forest. From start to finish this book had me intrigued and am I am hoping there is more, because there is definitely more to tell.
The one thing I didn’t love about the book was the use of the word ‘were’. Scarlet has a distinct dialect and at times the excessive use of ‘were’ was off putting and pulled me out of the story. However, it was never enough to make me stop reading. I recommend Scarlet for its characters, intriguing plot, and richly drawn setting.