Young baker's daughter, Robin forms a group that stands up to fight against the tyranny of an unjust king who is overtaxing the populace of Cordovia, while children go hungry and without basic necessities. Having learned the warrior arts of swordfighting, riding, and excelling at archery, she dresses in men's clothing and leads her band of Robin's Rebels to hold up the taxmen as they pass through the forest, and in other ways subvert the King's unjust policies. Robin meets fellow young rebel, Daniel, who also leads his own band of men who work against the government and help the unfortunate. After a challenge to see who has the most skills, they agree to work together. It doesn't take very long for Daniel to realize that Robin is a woman, and he respects her for being a strong person who stands up for what she believes. With each moment they spend working side by side, Robin and Daniel fall deeper in love. Their mutual desire to improve their country's welfare only fuels the fire of the growing affection for each other.
The Rebels of Cordovia is a historical fiction novel that teams a sweet love story with a light adventure tale about people standing up for others and for what is right, against a corrupt governmental system that exploits its population of rights and dignity and ignores their basic needs. Robin is a very lovable heroine, both endearing and admirable. She's caring, strong in character, and very good-hearted. Robin is a true believer who is not afraid to stand up for others. Daniel is a great match for her. He shares many of her traits, and has a grace that a strong man born into privilege might not necessarily possess. Instead of taking advantage of the weak and assuming himself naturally superior, he views people whose stations in life differ from his with respect. I especially liked that he treated Robin as an equal and didn't dismiss her because of her sex. While he finds her attractive, he doesn't objectify her or make assumptions about her based on being a woman. Daniel is a really nice guy, with a lot of honor and class, but also an appealing although roguish sense of humor. The author makes it very believable that these two would fall in love. The camaraderie with other characters in this book charmed me, and I loved the caring, open relationships that Robin and Daniel share with their parents, and the esteem that their band of rebels show for them and each other.
While this was a very enjoyable read, I did have a few issues. It took a while to get immersed in the story. While Robin is clearly a very capable warrior, I was disappointed that she didn't have more fighting scenes. Although I liked that the rebels rarely resorted to violence, I feel that Robin should have been depicted in more of the hand-to-hand fighting, with added opportunities to acquit herself in physical confrontations. Also the narrative lacked a sense of grounding in the historical period. Some of the language was too modern-sounding and the descriptions could have been more detailed. As a result, the world-building was tenuous and didn't feel very authentic for a historical novel, even with its fictional setting. Additionally, the villains were not as well-developed. A point of view by the King would have enhanced this read.
Despite some minor issues, The Rebels of Cordovia is a novel that readers who enjoy the stories of freedom fighters like Robin Hood and Zorro will appreciate. The fact that the lead is a strong and self-actualized heroine is a great bonus. This is a feel good novel that makes you glad to see that intrepid heroines and heroes are out there, doing their part to make their world a better place.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
*Reviewed by guest reviewer, Danielle Hill.
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