Do you have a favorite story? I’m not talking about a specific book, but a story that pops up again and again in the books you keep, the movies you own, or the TV shows you just can’t get enough of. Maybe you love a good Cinderella story, or a Lancelot and Guinevere story (with a happy ending, of course!), or maybe, like me, you love Robin Hood.
Ever since I first saw the British series Robin of Sherwood (called Robin Hood in the US) on cable TV back in the 80s, I have adored Robin Hood stories with their charismatic underdog leader, the band of merry men, the swashbuckling action, the powerful villain, and of course the lovers who have to cross the divide of class and legal status to find their happily ever after. And even better, in that version, the writers drew on the mystical lore of medieval England to add yet another layer to the tale. I was totally hooked.
I’m amazed at how often I get sucked into a story only to realize that it’s a Robin Hood story. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, anyone? Yep, Buffy is the Robin Hood character, Angel is Maid Marion. And the Scoobie Gang? The merry men, of course, complete with Little John/Zander, Will Scarlet/Willow, and Friar Tuck/Giles! J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood? Yep. My own historical romance, Charming the Shrew, has elements of a Robin Hood story, but I didn’t put them there on purpose that time. They just sort of snuck out of my brain and onto the page.
But this time I did use the Robin Hood story as a basic framework for my new series from Montlake Romance, Guardians of the Targe. Highlander Betrayed, the first book in the series, is my own take on Robin Hood, with a few twists for good measure.
This series is set in medieval Scotland, of course, and in my version the Robin character is a woman. Rowan MacGregor is the orphaned niece who must take on the foes of her beloved uncle’s clan. Her Maid Marion (think social opposite) is Nicholas fitz Hugh, master spy to King Edward of England. Her closest “merry men”? Her female cousins, Jeanette (Little John) and Scotia (Will Scarlet). And like the BBC version, I’ve pulled from the mystical lore of Scotland to add an ancient relic that is believed to have the power to protect the Highlands from invaders, a relic King Edward sends his spy to steal. With those basic elements of the story in place, I’ve spun it out into my own unique version of Robin Hood and his merry men and I’m thrilled with how it’s turned out.
Highlander Betrayed is available now in ebook, paperback, and audio, from Amazon. See if you can pick out some of the other Robin Hood characters I’ve tucked away in it!
So what’s your favorite story? Can you find it in your keepers?