Did you ever read or hear the stories of Robin Hood and think “A bunch of merry men hanging out in the forest together seems a little queer?” Well, J. Tullos Hennig confirms your suspicions.
Greenwode takes place in 12th century England, the beginning of the legend of Robin Hood. Young Rob is the son of a forester and firmly believes in the pagan Gods. He eventually take the place of his father as the Horned Lord. One day, while running an errand for his father in Sherwood Forest, he rescues a boy who had been thrown from his horse. Enter Gamelyn. Gamelyn is the third son of a nobleman and a good ol’ Catholic boy.
Rob takes Gamelyn home resulting in a friendship between Gamelyn and Rob’s older sister Marion. But Rob and Gamelyn are not quick to friend. Throughout the book, they are in a constant state of attraction/hostility. Gamelyn wishes that Rob liked him more, but they are both aware of the divides between them. It also doesn’t help that Gamelyn thinks everyone grew up receiving the same noble treatment and living the same noble life that he did.
Needless to say, there is a lot of conflict in Greenwode: Robin vs Gamelyn… Peasants vs Nobles… Pagans vs Christians. But for the stories sake, there is only one conflict that matters; that which is between one Pagan peasant and one Noble Christian… and the odds are NOT in their favor. Robin must deal with the fact that Gamelyn is basically his enemy; while Gamelyn must deal with the fact that he is in love with a peasant who is also male. I mean, if it was discovered he loved a man, it would mean death. Another classic case of doomed love.
But don’t be quick to hate on Gamelyn, he has his own problems. He has an ailing father and a cray jealous older brother. And then there’s his kinswoman, who is also a negative presence in his life. She wants to help him achieve his destiny as a Catholic priest. Granted, he was probably going to be a priest if Robin hadn’t been so sexy. Clueless Gamelyn is also blissfully unaware that his kinswoman is a crazed abbess trying to hunt down all pagans.
Greenwode gives us a better understanding of Robin of Loxley. We see that before becoming a hero, his life full of love, confusion, conflict, and danger. Of course, there is also the addition of the magic and a couple of supporting characters (big sis Marion and Gamelyn’s jealous brother). All of these things help guide Robin to become the legend we know.
Overall, I enjoyed the book and the story. If you’re into historical (?) gay young romance novels, then this is the book for you. Just be forewarned that you might find yourself googling the definition of a few words or skimming through the overly descriptive parts. Greenwode also ends on a cliffhanger so you’re going to have to read the second book to find out if anyone got their happy ending. Pun kinda intended.
Little what? Are you calling me an ass?