No Good Deed by Kara Connolly (review)
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Reviewed by
Connolly, Kara No Good Deed. Delacorte, 2017 [352p]
Library ed. ISBN 978-0-375-99140-0 $20.99
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-385-74393-8 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-385-37323-4 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 8-12

Olympic hopeful Ellie Hudson is in Nottingham for an archery tournament when she follows her curiosity down a cordoned-off tunnel in the catacombs under Nottingham Castle and emerges in twelfth-century England. There she quickly runs afoul of the Sheriff of Nottingham, escaping him with the help of Sir James Hathaway, a Knight Templar recently returned from the Crusades who’s laying low in Nottingham disguised as a friar while he tries to find out if things are really as bad as he’d heard (they are). Outraged at the Sheriff’s abuses and too impulsive to leave well enough alone, Ellie and James—whom she affectionately calls Friar Tuck—soon find themselves hiding out in Sherwood Forest with a familiar band of merry men, and Ellie realizes she may have traveled back in time for a reason. The relentless focus that makes her a favorite for Olympic gold serves her well in medieval England, where she gets down to business and doesn’t waste too much time in disbelief about her situation, but she’s also struggling with her brother’s disappearance during a tour in the Peace Corps and she desperately wants to get home, making her an appealing mix of tough and vulnerable. Her contemporary college-student idiom and awareness of the legend she inhabits add humor and complexity to her narration and bring some familiarity to the medieval setting. The sparks that fly between Ellie and James never completely ignite and they part with a bittersweet what-if, which may disappoint some readers, but Ellie’s and the novel’s restraint on that point make this absorbing time travel tale a refreshing change of pace. [End Page 10]

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