sometimes it's nice to change things up from the standard regency period historical. i feel like i read a lot of regency, but i really do enjoy other time periods too. and this medieval romance, an earl for the archeress, a robin hood retelling of sorts is so, so good.
i always love a good robin hood story. something about the guy who roots for and protects the underdog is so appealing. and from the moment we meet robert of huntington we are charmed. mariel crawford is less charmed, but she has plenty of reasons to be suspicious of men. her father, the sheriff of ayreshire is abusive and cruel, and she has been running and hiding from him for the last 9 months. surviving as a woman in a man's world without resorting to prostitution is something of an achievement. mariel might not be an innocent, but she's given up the life of a lady to live on her wit's and talent for archery alone.
robert recognizes mariel as a woman the moment she steps onto the playing field. and when they are the finalists and tie in the tournament he is intrigued by this woman who is his equal. not only is she his equal in archery, she is his equal in all things. and for the first time the idea of marriage doesn't seem abhorrent, even though societal rules and mariel's own wariness are huge obstacles that would need to be overcome should things ever get that far.
from the moment they meet, mariel and robert put a claim on each other. mariel tries so hard to resist it, running from robert every chance she gets. but he won't let her go. he keeps fighting for her. and the fact that he does, that he keeps her close both horrifies her and heals her the deep wounds to her psyche caused by her father's treatment of her.
everything about this romance worked for me. the stakes, the obstacles, the lead's and their chemistry all came together beautifully. rob and mari were meant to be from the moment they encountered each other at the earl's tourney, and everything they go through builds on that moment of connection in a way that feels deep and meaningful.
**an earl for the archeress will publish july 24, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (select historical) in exchange for my honest review.