Strong and adventurous Gwendolyn Barnes longs to be a knight like her chivalrous brothers, but her parents view her only as a marriage pawn. When her domineering father makes plans to see her wed to a brutish man, Gwendolyn must fight for her future.
She's surprised, however, for that clash to include a handsome, good-hearted newcomer. Allen of Ellsworth arrives in Edendale searching for his place in the world, but he finds in Gwendolyn the most unexpected of women.
Tournaments, intrigue, and battles--along with twists and turns aplenty--await these two as they struggle to find love, identity, and their true destinies.
If you will remember when I did my review on Dauntless I mentioned that Allen was my favorite character and I hoped that he would be in another book because I wanted to hear the end of his story. Well guess who is one of the heroes in Dina L. Sleiman's second book in The Valiant Heart Series? I was so please to be able to continue Allen's story as he now searches for his place and identity in this world.
Chivalrous also tells the tale of Gwendolyn, a young girl who, very much like Merry in Dauntless, struggles with her identity as a women in a world where females are viewed as marriage pawns. Because of this there is that whole "I-can-do-anything-a-man-can-do" attitude in Gwendolyn's character. But much like Merry in Dauntless, she learns how to be as chivalrous as a knight while not being the one in charge. There is even a scene at the end where Gwendolyn goes to fight for her own right but ends up allowing a man to fight for her showing that, even though she is quite capable, she is choosing to stay in her role as second in command and allows a man to be the leader.
I was very pleased that there was less kissing in this book than there was in Dauntless. But because one of the main themes of the story is that women were viewed at that time as marriage pawns, sex was discussed more in this book than in the other. This subject could not be avoided. But the author did a fantastic job handling it never going into detail, but still addressing the topic in a respectful manner. One of the characters in the book you find out does commit sex outside of marriage. But because the author did not finish their story I am assuming this means it will be brought back up in a later book since this character took on the same role as Allen did in Dauntless.
Gwendolyn's spiritual journey was a very refreshing one compare to all the other books I've encountered in this genre. Most of the time in a christian romance either the main hero or heroine is not a born-again christian and the other is and the whole book seems to be centered on trying to get the other character saved so the two can live happily ever after in the end. However this is not the case in Chivalrous. You see from the very beginning that GOD is wooing Gwendolyn to HIMself and in the end she chooses HIM of her own accord; not because she must in order to end up with Allen. Allen is a tool used to help draw her to GOD but she does not choose GOD because she loves Allen; she chooses GOD because she loves GOD (she even is willing to accept not being with Allen if that is The LORD's will for her because she knows that HE is going to take care of her in the end). I believe this is how every relationship must be. GOD is your first and main love Who is far more important to you than any other, even your spouse, and I think Mrs. Sleiman did a fine job of showing that in the end.
There is one part in the book that I'm very disappointed in. At one point Allen is caught saying something that he does not necessarily believe to be true. When confronted Allen states that, quote "... the truth wears many faces." then proceeds to defend his previous statement that he is being confronted on. I do not believe this statement is true at all. Lies wear many faces, but there is only one Truth and that Truth never changes. If you are speaking the truth, then you either are speaking the whole truth or speaking part of it mixed with something else which ends up turning it into a lie. I had hoped that the author would come back and make Allen correct himself, like she has a tendency to do, but she did not this time thus leaving the audience with a false assumption.
Over all though Chivalrous was a pleasant read which gave me the ending for Allen that I was wanting in a way I was not expecting. I was a little disappointed because there were several spots were I felt like I was re-reading Dauntless and not experiencing a whole new story. But maybe that was because some of the themes were along the same lines. Anyway, I'm awarding Chivalrous by: Dina L. Sleiman a 4 out of 5 rating (see side bar for book review scale). I can't wait to see what Mrs. Sleiman comes out with next in her Valiant Hearts Series!
P.S. I was given Chivalrous by: Dina L. Sleiman by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.