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Book Review of

MARIGOLD: OUR LADY OF THIEVES”

A historical novel by Jack Heerema

 

Writing in the historical fiction genre can be a difficult route for an author to take. The expectations of the history purists will always be different from readers just looking for a good, entertaining storyline. Creating the right mix of accurately researched factual background with an inventive, fictional plot often requires some clever negotiation through the literary landscape! Throw in the further complications of familiar characters and themes from the universally-loved legend of Robin Hood threading their way in and out of the story and you may well begin to wonder if the author might have set himself one “helluva” mountain to climb!

So how does Canadian-based writer, Jack Heerema, fare on his first outing as a published author? Well, the answer is surprisingly well! He meets the challenges head-on with a narrative that hangs together solidly and ticks all the boxes regarding plot, characters, political intrigue and emotional drama. Right from the first few crucial opening paragraphs he pulls the reader into a medieval world of corruption and espionage that quickly makes you want to discover more. There’s plenty of action and the drama twists and turns in some interesting ways.

The heroine of the title brings a new dimension to the “Maid Marian” character, for while reverently heeding the teachings of the nuns, she also develops amazing sword fighting skills, which, together with Robin Hood, Friar Tuck and Alan a Dale, she puts to good use to help foil the evil Sheriff of Nottingham’s secret plans to stir up civil unrest in collaboration with Philip Augustus of France.

It’s also interesting to note that the author embarked on this debut novel having suffered a stroke that affected his speech and he was advised by medics that engaging in some creative writing might prove to be an effective therapy. How right they were - for Jack Heerema’s inspired efforts not only successfully overcame his speech difficulties, but also resulted in an entertaining and worthwhile work of historical fiction that is well worth a read.

Robert White, World Wide Robin Hood Society, June 2022.

Go to www.jackheerema.ca to find out where you can obtain a copy of the book and the various formats in which it is available.