The Passionate Brood by Margaret Campbell Barnes – Book Review

The Passionate Brood: A Novel of Richard the Lionheart and the Man Who Became Robin Hood by Margaret Campbell Barnes
Published by Sourcebooks

After Henry VIII, Richard I, otherwise known as Richard Coeur de Lion or Richard the Lionheart, is probably one of England’s best known kings. Perhaps this notoriety derives from his snappy nickname and his association with the Crusades, but I would argue that a large part as well comes from his reign being the background of the legend of Robin Hood. In “The Passionate Brood,” Campbell Barnes combines historical fiction of Richard’s life – from before the death of his older brother and father until his own death – with the the Robin Hood legend. In this version, Robin is the son of Hodierna, the Plantagenet nursemaid, and Richard’s own best friend and foster brother until he regretfully declines to join Richard on his crusade and is outlawed by the passionate king.

“You got legend in my historical fiction!”
“You got historical fiction in my legend!”
Two great genres, better together!

Sorry, that’s out of my system now.

Anyway, I really enjoyed how Barnes worked the legend of Robin Hood realistically into Richard’s reign. It all made sense and flowed completely naturally from both Richard and Robin’s characters. I think the historical legend/fantasy is always that which is well-integrated into solid history.

That being said, i was slightly disappointed to find that Robin was really just a supporting character to Richard’s story in “The Passionate Brood.” Considering that the second half of the subtitle is “…and the Man Who Became Robin Hood” I really expected to see more of Robin’s story once the two men part ways, perhaps cut between Richard on his crusade and Robin adjusting to life as an outlaw. Instead, “The Passionate Brood” dealt more with how the memory of Robin’s character and the guilt over the mens’ estrangement worked on Richard psyche, which was still very interesting, just different than I expected.

Well written an interesting, I can definitely recommend Margaret Campbell Barnes’ “The Passionate Brood.”

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