Release Date: October 29, 2001
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Not what I thought it would be
I thought this book must have been made for me when I read the description, and while I did end up liking The Sherwood Ring, it wasn't as spectacular as I was hoping.
The blurb sounded very Gothic and it says the house is full of mysteries, so I was expecting, you know, Gothic mysteries. And, I guess there sort of is a mystery, but it wasn't all that twisty and it was more like Gothic lite.
The main character is pretty much a generic stand-in for the reader. She doesn't have much personality and her own story seemed like a half-hearted attempt thrown together at the end to make the character passably interesting. Her resolution was kinda hokey and obvious.
But that's mostly ok, because the meat of the story isn't about her. The point of her character is pretty much to sit back and listen to each of the ghosts tell their story. I liked their story (a little action, a little romance, a touch of peril), and even though those characters were only slightly more fleshed out, I was entertained.
The Sherwood Ring really was a sweet, feel-good story, but it was almost too easy. The two men, while they were on opposing sides, really didn't seem to be combatants. Neither seemed particularly attached to their war causes (making the historical backdrop inconsequential) and the resolution seemed extremely convenient. The same can be said for the romances between the men and their respective sweethearts.
You're not even a tease
I love uncovering secrets in Gothic stories--discovering old letters, journals, or hidden away objects. But there needs to be a little frustration in the telling. The secrets can't come without some searching.
The secrets of The Sherwood Ring were divulged without Peggy ever even having to ask for them. The ghosts simply appeared, told their section of the tale, and then disappeared to make way for the appearance of the next ghost. This was disappointingly easy.
The Sherwood Ring wasn't the twisy Gothic tale I was expecting, but it was enjoyable, light, and fun. Even though it had large chapters and there wasn't a TON of action, I still flew through it. It just goes down smoothly, and the storytelling aspect made it extremely easy to sit back and let the tale wash over me.
Don't expect a Gothic tale with emotions running high, peril, death, tragedy, and terrible secrets kept across the generations. Expect a sweet story that leans a little more MG than YA, where everything resolves happily and easily.
Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key