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The Passionate Brood    by Margaret Campbell Barnes order for
Passionate Brood
by Margaret Campbell Barnes
Order:  USA  Can
Sourcebooks, 2010 (2010)

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* *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

This reissue of the originally titled Like Us They Lived is a wonderful example of Margaret Campbell Barnes' writing. Subtitled 'A Novel of Richard the Lionheart and the Man Who Became Robin Hood', the book opens into the lives of Richard, Johanna and John, only some of the children of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

In this tale, Robin is raised side-by-side with Richard and is his foil. Where Richard is too forward, Robin steadies. Where Richard is careless, Robin is careful. And when the break between them comes, both are the poorer for it, Robin materially, but Richard, who is now king, most significantly, since he has lost his best mentor and sharpest observer of what is right for England.

Barnes has her hands full trying to squeeze all of Richard's history as well as that of Johanna, his intrepid sister, in these pages. She eloquently shows us their strengths and weaknesses as well as their hopes and fears. Above all, the dialog vividly expresses their passionate approach to life. Even though much information has to be summarized, explained and foreshadowed so we can get on with the story, we really feel a part of these people's lives. This is a satisfying read.

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