This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Zarina de Ruiter
We meet titular character Marion as she walks into the reception of the Peace and Pigs campsite and being mistaken for the new receptionist she suddenly finds herself manning the desk. Without any real plan of where to go and no place to stay she gratefully takes the job when it's offered to her at the end of the day as it comes with a room, in the form of her very own caravan on site, and a purpose until she figures out what her next step will be.
We soon find out that she ran away from her life and family in Northern Ireland, but why this is and why she is so determined to go to Sherwood Forest remains a mystery for a while as the reader first gets to know the cast of supporting characters, from the wonderfully welcoming camp-owner Scarlett to the handsome but emotionally distant Reuben who lives on the grounds next door to the campsite.
This is one of those novels that makes reviewing books such an absolute joy, as it not only gives the opportunity to read a new release from an already favourite author before it is available in the shops, but you also discover some fantastic new writers along the way. I had not heard of Making Marion before it unexpectedly arrived in my mail box and when I read the blurb I still wasn't sure if this would be one for me, but as soon as I started reading I fell in love with the story and the characters.
Horribly shy and somewhat weak-willed, I initially found myself rolling my eyes at Marion and her lack of direction in life or even the strength to open her mouth and stand up for herself. However, as her back-story slowly unravelled it became all too clear why she is so reserved and it was absolutely heartbreaking to find out what she had been through. Just like Scarlett, I started to feel protective of the character and I wanted Marion to not only become stronger but to find her own Robin Hood and happy ending.It isn't all about Marion though as there are some wonderful people surrounding her that I quickly fell in love with (and a few I wanted to throttle). And the story is very endearing with some funny moments too; there was a particular scene involving power-hungry chickens that made me laugh so much I nearly cried! Foremost though, this is a moving tale of a broken woman coming to terms with her past and herself, and one that made me tear up for completely different reasons. There are some incredibly sad moments affecting all of the characters and author Beth Moran made them come alive so much with her beautiful storytelling that it felt as if this was happening to my own close friends.
A nice touch to the novel were all the Robin Hood references throughout – some are obvious from the start, other more subtle ones don't become evident until the final pages – which makes this an extra fun novel for readers who are familiar with the story – and who isn't after growing up with the Disney version or ogling the hot men in the more recent BBC television series. You may think that you know where the novel is headed because of this, but some of the revelations will still surprise you in the end.
Heart-warming and deeply moving, this Making Marion was a very pleasant surprise. It's a book that I will undoubtedly pick up for another read soon, so I can stay with these wonderful characters just a little while longer.