Review: Lady Thief (Scarlet #2) by A.C. Gaughen

Published: February 11th 2014 by Bloomsbury
Rating: 5 out of 5

Available from:
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Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. 
But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. 
With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again.
The first thing I love about AC Gaughen's retelling of the Robin Hood myth is that right from the beginning you know who the heroes and villains are. There might only be a one liner of a side character but you immediately draw up in your mind whether they're trustworthy or not.

Lady Thief continues a few months after Scarlet. Winter has arrived and the small band are huddled in a monastery for the night. Robin and Scarlet are now deeply in love, which is really sad because the first you learn is Robin's having terrible nightmares and wakes ready to attack the first person near him, which is usually Scarlet. After a couple of nights she's left bloodied and bruised. She can't escape people noticing either, especially Gisburne, her husband.

He offers her the annulment her and Robin desperately want if she follows a few rules. Firstly, she must move into to Gisburne's chambers at the Castle. Secondly, she must act like his wife. Prince John and his contingent is arriving at Nottingham any day and he hopes to announce a replacement for the Sheriff's position. Gisburne is certain its his, Prince John has almost promised him the position. But to boost moral and prove he's a Prince of the people, John announces it will be a contest. Joust, Melee and Archery. The winner will be made Sheriff.

Scarlet's in an unfortunate position. She can't stay with Robin and his group. The way he looks at her, with such guilt and disbelief at his actions and the results, her bruises, makes him ashamed. But she knows being with Gisburne is the worst scenario she could endure...but she does it anyway. She becomes the brunt of every insult on her first night but finds an unlikely champion for her character, Eleanor, Queen of Aquitaine.

The story of Scarlet's birth unravels towards the end after a series of horrible abuses. But good always overcomes evil, or does it?

This is a tidy, intricate middle book of this exceptional series. You won't get lost in the story arcs that weave and swirl together, joining and opening up. And then you get to the end, and everything you think falls back to where you started. The good guys don't always win without a price.

I especially enjoyed the sections featuring Eleanor. I think Gaughen did a superb job of making her a true great of the people, while giving her a vulnerable side also in the way she talks about Prince John, her son. Her misguided loyalty is a mother's love but you get to see her opinion and believe in her nonetheless.

A splendid sequel to the much loved Scarlet. The vibrant characters jump from the page and into your heart.


About the Author
 I am shamelessly addicted to staying up far too late (it feels like stealing time), diet coke (it burns so good), Scotland (stupid country stole my heart and won't give it back. Interpol has been ineffective for prosecution) and thieves (so I guess I'm not that mad at Scotland). 
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