This book by: Dina L. Sleiman is the first book in the Valiant Hearts series. Valiant Hearts features strong females in traditionally male roles. In the case of this book, Lady Merry Ellison is somewhat of a Robin Hood figure. She leads protects a group of orphaned children who were forced from their homes and now live in the forest. Rumors spread and they become known as “The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest.” Her skills with a bow and arrow as well as secrecy allow her to provide for her friends. When she is captured by Timothy Grey, a childhood friend who thought she was dead, she realizes that her heart is torn between her life now and what it could have been. Timothy starts to question his loyalty to the throne when he encounters Merry and her “ghosts.” In an effort to try to protect them, he accidentally puts them in more danger.
The story of Robin Hood is one of my favorite legends (Robin Hood Prince of Thieves has been my favorite movie since I was 13 years old). I was drawn to this book first by the beautiful and unique cover. Then when I realized it had a Robin Hood type theme I knew I had to read it! It has action, suspense, emotion, miracles, and a hint of romance. The characters are believable and diverse. Merry is conflicted about whether or not God truly exists. Her spiritual struggle is apparent throughout the book yet her faith is deepened as the storyline continues. While reading, you can tell that the author researched the time setting and culture. She explains some of her writing decisions in her historical notes at the end of the book. The book is marketed as teen fiction but I am 32 and absolutely loved it! I think any teen or adult who like medieval settings will fall in love with this book!
I am really looking forward to book 2 in the Valiant Hearts series: Chivalrous. It will feature Gwendolyn Barnes, who wants to be a knight, in a Camelot setting! It is due to be released in September 2015!
In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.
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Dauntless, Valiant Hearts Series #1
By Dina Sleiman / Bethany House
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