Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again.
Despite really disliking this trilogy so far, I’m quite enjoying reviewing it. It is helping me get everything off my chest. And while I’m not exactly cool, calm, and collected, it is still a lot of fun to tell everyone exactly how awful this trilogy is. I reviewed Scarlet a few days ago and I wasn’t exactly positive with that review, but my review for Lady Thief is going to be incredibly more negative because this book is a piece of crap.
A. C. Gaughen seems to have a thing for romanticised abuse. I didn’t like it in Scarlet and I absolutely despised it in this book.
Firstly, Rob is still a bit of an arsehole and is completely overbearing when it comes to Scarlet. But that’s topped by the fact that Gaughen decided it would be a cool idea to use that well known trope of “boyfriend beats girlfriend after experiencing trauma”. After Rob’s torture in the first book – which we saw very little of, by the way – he starts to have intense nightmares which result in him beating Scarlet while still half asleep, and in two instances he almost kills her. She walks around with a bloodied and beaten face, and she still goes back to stay with Rob even though she knows what will happen. I am not about this message. Not about it at all. It would be one thing if Gaughen actually addressed this and discussed about Scarlet’s safety and how important that is, and also if she actually bothered to continue this plot point up to the end of the book. But she doesn’t. She uses this vile trope in the beginning, and then it’s all forgotten about. No one addresses it later on, save for the characters who point out that Scarlet has been beatnen up. Scarlet doesn’t talk about how it’s affecting her, and we don’t get any resolution when it comes to Rob’s PTSD. We’re just meant to assume that they’re gone.
Secondly, Scarlet goes off to stay with her new husband in the castle and throughout her time there she is beaten up and tied up and just generally abused and threatened. And yet we still get Scarlet being a lovely person and starting to sympathise with these characters who abuse her, because they sometimes show a “good” side. Note how I said “good”, because I don’t think anyone who abuses people or women in this way is actually good, I think it’s a façade and I am absolutely disgusted that Gaughen thought it would be a good idea to have Scarlet think that her abusers had layers.
Like I said, the author of this trilogy seems to have a thing for abuse. I hate how abuse is depicted in this series, and I swear to god if I have anyone telling me “well, it’s historical, those things happened” I will bite their head off because no. Yes, people were abused back then. People still are. But there is no genuine reason to romanticise the abuse, and if you try to do so because it’s from the victim’s point of view then you had damn well better have them come out of it stronger and fighting their abusers. We don’t see that in Lady Thief or Scarlet at all. Yes, Scarlet gets back up and fights with her husband, but there’s still the sympathy there and nothing is done about Rob at all.
In short, I hate the trope. I hate this book. I hate the characters. And yet, I still find myself wanting to read Lion Heart because I want to see how this shitfest ends. I imagine I already know, though. I fucking hate this trilogy and I wish Scarlet had been a character from someone else’s mind, because she and Much are truly the only saving graces of this mess.