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Rowan Hood Returns [Hardcover]

Nancy Springer


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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Satisfying Conclusion ot the Rowan Hood Series 9 Jun 2007
By Amy Graham - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
There is just a bit of sadness in reading Rowan Hood Returns as it brings to conclusion a simple but charming series featuring Rowan Hood of the Rowan Wood (daughter of Robin Hood). Both my daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed this series (and read through it quite quickly). We enjoyed reading each book in turn, learning a bit more about each member of her band of outlaws and their exploits. In this final book, we return (having come full circle once again) to Rowan, formerly Rosemary (she changed her name when her mother was murdered and she set out to find her father, the infamous outlaw Robin Hood). As we join the merry band once again, Princess Etty returns having learned the name of the killers of Rowan's mother. Having already sensed that "something" was about to happen, Rowan's heart fills with anger and rage and she vows (once again) to avenge her mothers' death. The band sets out...because none will allow the still injured Rowan (injury occurred in the first book) to make the journey herself. For all the action of this book, the true conflict is mainly internal. Rowan must explore within herself the conflicting emotions...she is a healer, the daughter of a woodwife, yet her gifts have all but fled as anger filled her and as she journey's forward, she seems hindered at every step. Her legs betray her, she can hardly walk, the trees and vines practically assault her...as if they do not want her to go and in her own heart she is conflicted between waiting to help and heal people and an overwhelming desire to put an end to the men who heartlessly killed her mother. How will it all end and will she ever find peace again if she takes the life of another in anger? Young readers will delight in discovering how all the details come together in the end.

This last book is perhaps, contains the most twists of plot yet. There are two levels to the story, the first being the actual physical conflict and second being the emotional turmoil that Rowan experiences as the journey progresses. As with the other stories in this series, there is graphic detail about the cruelties of the age this book is set. Women are largely treated as property (as evidenced by Etty's description of the Knights advances toward her), peasants are made into outlaws often for the slightest "offences," winters and life are harsh and food is hard to come by. I think Springer did a wonderful job of depicting age appropriate material that gives young readers a realistic look at what life would have been like in this period for all classes, while maintaining a focus on the lower classes. I would definitely recommend this, and I give it four stars...I won't call it "fun" because there is a lot of tragedy and hardship...but it's definitely interesting and provides a window of insight into life in another time. I think readers aged 9-12 would most benefit from reading this, given the amount "mature" material that is covered in this book, and the series as a whole (murder, maiming by "man traps" - a punishment against poachers, threat of death, and so on). Rowan Hood Returns is a bit of a melancholy tale with a mostly happy ending that I think will charm many readers.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST BOOK EVER!!!! 11 Jan 2006
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is truthfully one of the best books I have EVER read, next to Midnight for Charlie Bone (Jenny Nimmo), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (J.K. Rowling), Molly Moon's Hypnotic Time Travel Adventure (Georgia Byng), Lionboy: The Chase (Zizou Corder), and Charmed Life (Diana Wynne Jones). Maybe it's even better than those. It is about a fifteen year old girl who you will be familiar with if you have read the last four Rowan Hood books (Rowan Hood, Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest; Lionclaw; Outlaw Princess of Sherwood; and Wild Boy.) Her real name is Rosemary, but she changed it to Rowan when she became an outlaw and met her real father, Robin Hood. Why did she do this? Her mother was horribly killed by people who Rowan does not know of. In a previous book, Rowan's legs were broken and weakened by a horrible invention of yeomanly England called a man-trap. In a different book, Ettarde, the princess of Sherwood, goes home with her mother. However, at the beginning of this book she returns with the news that she has found the names of those who killed Rowan's mother, Celandine, of Celandine's Wood. Rowan, in the other books, is gentle and kind, with a bow and arrows made of aelfin flint (she is part aelfin.) She also has the aelfin powers of healing, sensing her father, Robin hood, and speaking to the Rowan trees and the rocks and the springs. But when Etty returns with this news, Rowan's powers disappear and her legs grow weaker than they were (which is fairly weak.) She can no longer walk, but her fury rages on. She commands her cohorts, Lionel, Ettarde, Rook, and Beau to go to Celandine's wood and find the four men who Ettarde has named: Guy Longehad. Jasper of the Sinister Hand. Hurst Orricson. Holt, also Orricson, brother of Hurst. As Rowan can no longer walk, she rides Beau's white horse, Dove, who they die black and then yellow for the long journey to Celandine's wook. Rowan's faithful wolf-dog, Tykell, also comes along. The outlaws have a difficult journey with little food and shelter- and many dangers. When Rowan finally finds the men who killed her mother- well, you'll have to read the book. But I really wish Nancy Springer would write more Rowan Hood books. It is really unfair that this one is the "Final Chapter." She hasn't even written one about Beau.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Little Adventure 6 Aug 2010
By Julie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Though predictable, this book delivers a satisfying story about a young woman's journey to find justice and ultimately healing for the wounds to her spirit. Rowan Hood's mother was slain, but now she knows the names of the four evil men who did the deed. The knowledge sends her off with 4 friends to find these men.

I have not read the first 4 in the series, though I will probably seek them out. Enough information is provided to draw in new readers.

The narrative style is decent and easy to follow. Definitely a worthwhile read suitable for children, young adults, and adults who love fantasy stories.
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