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The Red Fletch


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Alys Fletcher fights to find her place in the world in this high-stakes, multilayered feminist Robin Hood retelling.

Alys Fletcher loves her family, her brother Hob, and their quiet life in Locksley, farming and fletching arrows. Until Robin of Locksley destroys it all by taking Hob with him to Jerusalem to fight in the Holy War. Alys is forced to move to Nottingham to attend to Maid Marian and, with both children gone and taxes ever higher, her family soon loses everything. Then Robin returns, causing havoc and becoming an outlaw, having abandoned Hob at war. So, when the Sheriff promises he can bring Hob back if Alys helps him capture Robin, she is only too happy to agree. Until she discovers that not everything is as it seems...

The Red Fletch is a gorgeous retelling of the well-known Robin Hood legend, looking at the famous outlaw through the eyes of a young woman desperate to fight for her family. This book takes a beloved legend and turns it into a highly original and engaging story, full of twists and turns. The characters we all know and love, like Robin and Marian, Little John, Friar Tuck and the Merry Many (not just men!), are all there, and are joined by an impressive original cast that will be hard to forget.

Alys is a fantastic main character, full of spirit and wit, not afraid to go against the limits imposed on her by society because of her sex. Her growth arc was a joy to follow, as she learns things the hard way and works hard to correct her mistakes, ultimately having to decide just how much she is willing to risk to do the right thing. I also loved the asexual/aromantic representation in this.

The plot is gripping and the stakes are high, and I found myself quickly turning the pages to see what would happen next. Still, the author managed to weave in several more reflective moments, dealing with a wide range of issues and questions of justice, identity, ethics and morality that kept me mulling over them long after the final page had turned.

The Red Fletch is a solid debut, likely to capture younger audiences and adults alike, and I look forward to seeing what this author has in store for us next. Highly recommended to historical fiction fans and lovers of feminist retellings of beloved legends.

Reviewed by

I'm a book lover at heart and love to talk about what makes my latest read so special on my blog, Book For Thought, which I started in early October 2014 and update regularly. I enjoy reading almost all types of fiction books and occasionally read non-fiction books on themes that interest me.


About the author

Margaret McNellis holds an MFA in fiction, an M.A. in English & creative writing, and a B.A. in art history. She writes historical fiction for adult and YA readers. view profile

Published on September 18, 2021

70000 words

Contains graphic explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Historical Fiction

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