"[A] clever girl-power take on the Robin Hood legend."-The Buffalo News
Fans of Meagan Spooner's Hunted and CJ Redwine will love this reimagining of the legend of Robin Hood. Girl power rules supreme when a modern girl finds herself in the middle of a medieval mess with only her smart mouth and her Olympic-archer aim to get her home.
Ellie Hudson is the front-runner on the road to gold for the U.S. Olympic archery team. All she has to do is qualify at the trials in jolly old England. When Ellie makes some kind of crazy wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle—yes, that Nottingham—she ends up in medieval England.
Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages; she just wants to go home before she gets the plague. But people are suffering in Nottingham, and Ellie has the skills to make it better. What’s an ace archer to do while she’s stuck in Sherwood Forest but make like Robin Hood?
Pulled into a past life as an outlaw, Ellie feels her present fading away next to daring do-gooding and a devilishly handsome knight. Only, Ellie is on the brink of rewriting history, and when she picks up her bow and arrow, her next shot could save her past—or doom civilization’s future.
"A rollicking time travel adventure that will sweep you away to the forest of Nottingham. Be prepared for surprises around every corner and a stubborn, strong-willed heroine you'll root for from the moment she picks up her bow!”-Colleen Houck, New York Times bestselling author of the Reawakened series and the Tiger’s Curse series
"This cheeky take on the Robin Hood legend is pure fun. Connolly’s swashbuckling debut will satisfy any adventure fans."-Booklist
"This fresh take on the Robin Hood mythology...is well worth it."-Publishers Weekly
"Fans will enjoy Ellie’s escapades as she runs around Sherwood Forest, bumping into bad guys, and teens interested in historical fiction with a generous mix of action/adventure will appreciate this page-turner....[Hand to readers of] Renée Ahdieh’s The Wrath & the Dawn series, David Almond’s A Song for Ella Grey, and Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora."-SLJ
"An appealing mix of tough and vulnerable...humor and complexity...make this absorbing time travel tale a refreshing change of pace."-Bulletin
About the Author
Kara Connolly loves history, though she has never time traveled. She lives and writes in Arlington, Texas.
To learn more about Kara and her books, visit karaconnolly.wordpress.com or follow @readKaraC on Twitter and @readkaraconnolly on Instagram.
Read an Excerpt
Time stretched with the draw of my bow. Ancient ages whispered in the slide of the arrow on the rest, and all possibilities collected in that suspended instant when my breath slowed, my knuckle kissed the corner of my mouth, I loosed the shot—
And someone’s cell phone went off in the spectator stands.
I got the shot off, but the bowstring smacked my arm above the guard. The sting ran all the way up to behind my eyes. I did a little it-hurts-but-I-can’t-curse dance but recovered quickly because, one, I did the same thing a couple of times a week, and two, Dr. Hudson’s Third Law of Competition Dynamics was “Never let them see you lose your cool.”
Maybe Dad didn’t put it quite that way, but it was what he meant. So I put my game face on and ignored the troubling fact that I’d let a cell phone distract me amid all the general tweeting and pinging and hubbub.
God, Ellie. Just because everyone’s watching to see when you crack . . .
Even before I peered through the scope set up beside me, I knew it was a poor shot. But it was good enough that I could recover with a high-scoring arrow and make it to the medal round.
Hudson’s Second Law of Competition Dynamics was “There is no such thing as good enough.” There’s ten points and there’s try harder.
With the Olympic qualifying trials coming up, and as the second-highest-ranked woman in the United States, fifth or sixth internationally, it was time to make my move up the rungs of the competitive ladder. That was what I was supposed to be doing in Nottingham. Not shooting like a reasonably accomplished summer camp counselor.
But then, Rob was supposed to be here, not his alternate.
That was Dr. Hudson’s First Law. Its corollary was “Stay in the moment.” Don’t think about the last shot, or the next shot, only about this shot.
One arrow left in my quiver and two minutes on the clock. I took my time fitting the nock to the string, trying to narrow the prismatic scatter of my thoughts. I visualized myself on the podium, the way the team sports psychiatrist had suggested. But what my brain called up was Rob and me on the stand, the way the U.S. Archery Team had run our picture after my first national medal.
Crap. Instead of slowing its roll, my head game was about to go off the rails. I mentally swiped the image of Rob and me off the screen and zoomed in on the ten-point X in the middle of the target. Just that. No flags and no nations, no babel of languages from officials and spectators. I focused until everything blurred except me and the target—
And the bizarrely dressed man between us.
“Hold!” I shouted, lowering my bow and slacking the string. Years of safety standards kicked in before I fully processed what I’d seen. “Man downrange!”
The firing captain echoed my shout in three languages, and all the archers on the shooting line immediately complied. A confused murmur rippled through the spectators, and when I blinked myself back to the larger picture, I saw why. There was nothing between me and the targets, stretched out like a row of unblinking eyes.
The officials conferred on their headsets, checking that the range was clear. The delay wasn’t long, but I could feel the murmur of annoyance trickling through the shooters.
Finally the firing captain gestured for me to come off the line to talk to him—pretty much the equivalent of getting called into the principal’s office. As I stepped away from my spot, the North Korean girl shooting next to me—my major competition for the podium—made a comment as I passed. It needed no translation.
Before the official could reach me, Coach jogged over, with a look of serious concern. “What happened, Ellie?”
I had my bow in one hand, and I spread the other in a palm-up shrug. “There was someone downrange.”
Coach had brought Olympic medalists and world champions to the podium before. My brother was one of them. Coach was almost family. “Was it an official? A spectator?” he asked.
Honesty made me pause. “I’m not sure.” Safety had been drilled into me from my first archery lesson, and I knew calling a halt was the right thing to do, but I hadn’t really processed what or who I’d seen. I couldn’t even be sure if it was a man or a woman. I had the impression of a light-colored dress or robe, like a costume. But I wasn’t about to say that, because that was just plain weird and I didn’t want to end up seeing a real psychiatrist. “I only saw him for a second, and then I yelled, and by the time I did that, he was gone.”
When the line captain reached us, we had almost the exact same conversation, except in French. After I explained, he still looked doubtful but got on the radio and instructed security to watch for someone dressed in light-colored clothes. Then he had the field captain signal for shooting to begin again.
“Hey!” I protested. “I’m not on the line yet.”
“Then I suggest you get there, Mademoiselle Hudson,” the official said flatly, “instead of distracting your competitors with this delay.”
He left, and I spun to face Coach and vent my indignation. “What was I supposed to do? Keep quiet and hope this figment of my imagination didn’t get hit with an imaginary arrow?”
Coach made a calming gesture. “Ellie, this isn’t important. You’re wasting shooting time.”
“Not important?” I flapped a hand toward the French official. “I just got called off the line for doing the right thing! How is that not important?”
“Arguing about it isn’t important,” he said before physically turning me around and adding, “The time warning is flashing.”
It was, and I was still behind the ready line. It was bad sportsmanship to step up while my neighbor from North Korea was at full draw, so I had to watch the time count down while she held her shot much longer than necessary. She played a good head game, cranking up the pressure. Then, before she let loose, the woman to my right lifted her bow, holding me back another precious few seconds.
She loosed with six seconds on the clock. All the other shooters were finished, so I leapt to the line with my arrow already in my hand.
I fitted the arrow’s nock to the string.
I put my eye on the target and lifted my bow.
I brought the bow down and drew back in the same motion.
My knuckle touched the corner of my mouth.
I let fly.
The scores took forever for the target captain to tally, and I sweated it out on the field, where only shooters and coaches were allowed, unable to face my parents until I knew whether I’d screwed up or really screwed up.
By the time I got the news and went back to the field house, a lot of the women had already left, but the men were getting ready to shoot their qualifying rounds. Marco Canales paused in his stretching to give me some good-natured hell. “Real dramatic, Ellie. Auditioning for a movie?”
“Courting the cameras, more like.” Erik Murray didn’t look up from adjusting the stabilizer on his bow. “The video is probably already on your fan page.”
I pulled off the sweaty headband keeping my shortish hair out of my face and shot Marco a “very droll” look. I ignored Erik Murray. He was something like nineteen going on a hundred and fifty; his younger brother had to set up his Facebook page. The thing is, my unofficial fan page was a little embarrassing, but Mom and I tacitly supported it with exclusive videos and interviews because the moderators donated any ad revenue to the Women’s Sports Foundation.
Someone threw their arm around my neck. I jumped, but settled down when I saw the red, white, and blue manicure. Angela Torres was my closest friend on the team, as well as my closest competition. She was six years older than me but had never treated me like a kid, even when I’d been one. “What happened, Hudson? I was too far down the line to see.”
It was pretty quiet with the field house clearing out, so I set my equipment bag across two benches. “I barely squeaked by to the finals.”
She folded her arms and leaned against the wall, watching me disassemble my bow and pack up. “I heard you cracked under pressure. That’s why I’m not gloating about being ahead of you in points.”
“Enjoy it while it lasts, Torres.” I bantered on autopilot because I was thinking about what Angela had said. Had I cracked? I knew that’d be the gossip. Some bloggers had been just waiting for it to happen. I’d been training intensely, and competition was brutal even without any family drama. But if I was going to lose it and start seeing things, why would it be something so random?
“Are you going to tell me?” Angela prodded. “I promise not to tweet it.”
That made one. It was a matter of record anyway. “I saw someone downrange, walking across the field.” I didn’t mention the weird clothes, which were the one thing that kept me from believing the whole thing had been some kind of optical illusion, like I’d seen someone on the sidelines out of the corner of my eye and just . . .
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
“No Good Deed” is a fairy-tale/legend retelling that served as a good palate cleanser for me in the middle of quite a few heavier reads. The plot is fast-paced and the characters are just the right amount of snarky and developed for a light read. The content is mild, and the writing easy enough to read, that even the youngest of the ya group should find it enjoyable. Recommended! This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
If you've been following my blog for a while, you know that I'm a big fan of fairy tale retellings. I especially like when they are looking at actual historical events and people, which this book does that as well. When the book starts out, Ellie has just had a strange experience at a tournament, one that almost caused her to get disqualified. She sees a man in a white monk's habit in between her and the target she is aiming for. No one else sees him, and he disappears. Later on she goes with her mom for lunch, and then while her mom is working, Ellie goes to see the Nottingham castle. When she's getting ready to buy her ticket to go see the tourist attraction, she spies the monk again and so she goes to follow him, trying to figure out who he really is. This leads her through the tunnels under the castle, but when she comes out of those tunnels, suddenly she seems to be back in time. And being there is a crime, and she is immediately on the run from the sheriff and other law of the time. She ends up being saved by a knight, James, who is also a member of the Templars. Along the way she ends up with her own little merry band of friends, who turn out to all kind of fit the characters that were supposed to be Robin Hood's band of outlaws. So not only is she trying to find her way back home, she's also trying to keep from being put to death for her suppposed crimes of the time, as well as help out those who are suffering under the horrible taxation that seems to be happening at the time. You know, she kind of becomes Robin Hood. What I really enjoyed was all of the different historical facts that were woven into the story, making it so much more than just a fairy tale/time travel story. There was King Richard, and Prince John, as well as Eleanor of Aquitane, and so much more about that time period. I loved learning where the word sheriff actually came from. This was a very fun read, and hard to put down. There were some things about the Robin Hood story I was unfamiliar with, but it was fun to do the research on those things as well, when I would google as I was reading.
I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review. No Good Deeds by Kara Connolly is a fresh take on the Robin Hood legend involving a little time travel. For me, retellings are a recent love. I’ve not always been a fan, but I really enjoyed this one. And Robin Hood, well he’s one of my favorites. I love the myth and legend surrounding this outlaw who stole from the rich to give to the poor. It’s nice to think the man existed at some point in the Middle Ages, fighting the people who were drunk on power to save the little guy. Robin Hood is iconic, which is why I thought it brave for a debut author to tackle this myth. However Kara Connolly does a fantastic job with it. The entire story is told from Ellie’s perspective. She’s a nineteen year old, Indiana girl who happens to be a good archer and at the opening of the story is participating in some tournament to qualify for the Olympic team (at least that’s what I gathered from her descriptions). I like and dislike Ellie. She’s immature for her age, makes rash decisions, and doesn’t seem to question the consequences of her actions until after the fact. When by some twist of fate she finds herself in medieval Nottinghamshire, Ellie embarks on a journey that puts her at the center of the Robin Hood legend. Ellie gives herself two rules for the past: don’t die and don’t change history. I thought those were pretty basic and covered everything that could possibly happen to her. Yet she becomes the center of the sheriff’s attention when she arrives making herself an instant target. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out while reading that Ellie’s actions in the past are what create the Robin Hood legend, even when she is trying to stick to what she knows of the myth. I actually liked this twist! I liked Ellie being the iconic outlaw. Aside from Ellie are the people she encounters in the past. I wound up liking the all! Much the Miller’s son, Little John, Will Scarlett, even Friar Tuck make appearances, though their names are not what Ellie know them as. She easily connects who the people are in the legend and I loved reading as they came to life on the pages. Will was my favorite (even if I did keep confusing him with the Will Scarlett from Once Upon a Time). My only dislike was a bit of plot hole with the time travel. It is never really explained. How did Ellie get to the past? How will she get home? How do her actions change the future or will they change the future? It’s all very: “Oh look I’m in the past, I’ll just roll with it,” instead of the panicking I’d expect. There’s no explanation about this aspect of the book and I really wish there had been. It felt like a glaring hole. Overall I enjoyed the story and Ellie grew on me as I read. The gender twist of the original Robin Hood made for an interesting read, and I was pleasantly surprised at the historical aspects that were included. If you enjoy alternate history or retellings, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of this book. It doesn’t disappoint.
I received this book for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I love Robin Hood retellings, so when I started this book, I was really excited. I loved Ellie, James, Much, Will, and Little John. The characters were wonderful, and I loved how Ellie was just a girl trying to win an Olympic medal, but ends up time traveling to the past. There, she meets her new friends and starts an adventure of her own, with two goals: Don't get killed. Don't change history. Overall, I thought the book was very well written. The only part I didn't like was the ending. It seemed a little abrupt and confusing. Other than that, I really enjoyed this story.
I hadn't heard of this book until I got the email from the publisher asking if I wanted to read it. I liked the cover and a lady Robin Hood? Yes please. I liked Ellie. She's smart and strong and one heck of an archer. The rest of the group is introduced individually and it really works. I enjoyed the 12th century take on these well known characters that were separate from Robin Hood. Plot wise, it moved at a decent pace. It was pretty clever having Ellie doing trials for the Olympics and for some reason, I liked that the time travel part wasn't explained at all. The world building was lacking, but I was all in for the constant bickering and shenanigans. Overall, it did keep me interested and I liked the characters. I would have loved more at the ending, but it was pretty satisfying at the same time. **Huge thanks to Delacorte Press for the invitation to read**