Lady of the Forest: Jennifer Roberson

★★★½

A Novel of Sherwood

When I reread The Golden Key some months ago, and realised that Jennifer Roberson had written my favourite section of the novel, I asked for recommendations of her other books. Elaine kindly suggested Lady of the Forest which, by complete chance, I found in my local charity shop last weekend (despite the fact it currently exists only in an out-of-print American edition).

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The Golden Key: Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson and Kate Elliott

★★★★½

This was one of the first properly ‘grown-up’ books I bought for myself, at the age of thirteen and it had a huge impact on me; yet I didn’t read it again until 2007 and I’ve just finished it for the third time. Overall, I still think it’s one of the most unusual and imaginative speculative fiction books I’ve read, and I’m immensely fond of its protagonist: a compelling antihero. Bookshops shelve it under sci-fi and fantasy, but there are also strong strains of historical fiction, Gothic horror and family saga. And it’s a fine example of fictional world-building. Over the course of the story you grow to understand the political dynamics of a state, and also its relationship with the wider world; its customs and traditions; its language; and, more than any of these things, its art.

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