Dina L. Sleiman
Valiant Hearts Book One
Though once a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village. Dubbed "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest," her band of followers soon become enemies of the throne when they hijack ill-gotten gold meant for the king.
Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance.
The book was really delightful, we got to see the action from two points of view: Timothy and Merry.
I liked the characters, but I didn’t love them. For some reason I found myself mostly detached. The main character, Merry, was often trying to keep her emotions in check and I think that flowed through to the reader. Her most affectionate moments were always around Wren, the character I enjoyed the most. Wren was this absolutely adorable little girl, so sweet.
I had a hard time picturing Merry with a love interest. The book presents two different people as possibilities. She said that she wasn’t ready for it, and the romance didn’t feel necessary. Merry was capable and I really liked and identified with her. I had a feeling pretty early in the book who she was going to end up with though. Throughout the novel there were moments of doubt, so I didn’t really know who, which was really nice.
I found their level of faith kind of astounding for the time period. Some time after Jesus died, people started losing power resulting in the belief systems that were common only one hundred years ago. The reintroduction of grace and laying hands on people came back more commonly in the last century. The characters’ faith was true, and possibly the most touching moment.
I loved the historical accuracy. I originally thought it was set in the same fictional legend world as Robin Hood, who appears in Dauntless as Robyn of the Hode, but it is heavily based upon the world of King John’s England (middle ages). I was so intrigued that I looked up King John on Wikipedia. This particular John has an older brother named Richard, which made my Robin Hood heart squeal.
I couldn’t really tell how she plans on turning it into a series, but I am super excited to see.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my complete and honest review. Enjoy reading and don’t forget to click on the cover for an excerpt!