She had been looking for somewhere to stay, but instead Marion Miller finds herself on the wrong side of the reception desk at the Peace and Pigs campground and, despite her horrible shyness, promptly lands herself a job.
Marion came to Nottinghamshire — home of Sherwood Forest — to discover her father’s mysterious past, but all she has to go on is a picture of her father dressed up, it would seem, as Robin Hood.
Life on a busy campground challenges Marion’s formerly controlled life –t he pigs roam free, the resident chickens seem determined to thwart her, and an unfortunate incident with a runaway bike throws her into the arms of the beautiful, but deeply unimpressed, Reuben.
Yet, Marion’s would-be boyfriend Jake, and Reuben’s stunning fiancée Erica, conspire to leave little room for Marion to daydream about the twinkling eyes of her rescuer . . . Will Marion ever find peace, and perhaps even love, among the pigs?
Beth Moran lives in Nottingham, England with her husband and three children. When she’s not writing, Beth helps lead a national women’s network.
From the cover art and blurb, I thought Making Marion was going to be a lighthearted romance. And while there are definitely some light moments and a romantic thread, this novel is more a coming of age sort, even though the main character is in her mid-twenties. Not a typical Christian novel by American standards, it is one I very much enjoyed.
Marion Miller has come from her home in Ireland to Sherwood Forest to discover her deceased father’s past. The victim of abuse and neglect as a child, Marion, a recovering selective mute, stumbles into the holiday park (campground) The Peace and Pigs. Recruited by owner Scarlet, Marion begins a healing journey and a discovery of just who she is.
The characters in Making Marion are wonderful. Many have been deeply wounded in their childhoods, but are determined to make a better life for themselves and for others. Scarlet, a transplanted Southern belle, serves up love in her colorful campground. Valerie, her adopted child, is filled with enthusiasm and hope despite her mother’s abuse. And Marion sets on a course of conquering her many fears. The setting of the book is a treat for those who love all things British. Who can’t resist a book set in Sherwood Forest and involving an annual Robin Hood festival? Moran’s light handling of abuse, neglect, and forgiveness make the difficult subject easy to read. And of course, the hunky Robin, er, Reuben is definitely a swoon-worthy hero.
As I stated, this book would probably not be categorized as Christian here in the United States. There are bits that can be described as off color, some adult situations (although no graphic sex scenes), and some profanity. But I was not put off by it. The faith message of forgiveness is very subtle, but definitely a thread that runs through the book.
So should you read it? If you are conservative in your reading selections, I would say give this one a pass. But if you regularly include mainstream fiction in your reading time, then you may like Making Marion. I actually really did!
Recommended (with a caution for adult situations and profanity)
(Thanks to Lion Hudson and Kregel for a review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)
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