Where Legend and History Collide,
One Young Woman Will Fight for the Innocent
Born a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father's failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village--a group that becomes known as "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest." Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.
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. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he's forced to reexamine everything he's known.
I was skeptical about this book when I first looked at it. When Bethany House sent me a list of books to review for the month of March (yes I know this is in April, I'm late) they gave me the option of looking at the first chapter before I committed to the whole book. In the first few pages the main character portrays herself as very feministic but as the story continues you begin to see the truth. Lady Merry struggles to be the leader of outlaws while still wanting to be the woman she was created to be. In the end, she learns how to lead her band of troops while still being the gentle submissive spirit the children crave in a motherly figure.
There were, of course, a few issues that I wished were handled differently regarding the way characters portrayed physical contact with others of the opposite gender. There are a few kisses shared and Lady Merry is described as experiencing a "feeling of hot fire" whenever she kisses this one man. There is also one time when the two main characters share a kiss and the guy "pressed her body to his with a fervor she had never dared imagine". I just think that, considering this book is targeting ages 7-12 (according to the definition of juvenile fiction) the author should have phrased sentences like the one mentioned above differently. Young minds (especially those going through puberty) can go a little crazy sometimes and often they will re-read sentences like these because they want to know what it would feel like to be in a situation like that. I say this because I remember doing the exact same thing at that age. Authors targeting middle and high school age audiences should be cautious when capturing these moments. I realize that these subjects can not be avoided at this age (and they shouldn't be) but they should be handled with the most care as they are introduced into what is really a child's world. ***Please read the comment section below. The author contacted me about this part of the review to clear up a misunderstanding. She was super nice and I appreciated the fact she took the time to comment.***
Besides the physical issues mentioned above along with a little bit of blood there is not much to be concerned about with this book. It is overall clean with an important message about womanhood, faith, love, and ultimately trusting GOD no matter what has happened in our past or current circumstance. The book has a good story line with characters you're sure to love (like Allen, Wren, and Cedric for example). If you're looking for a story with action, an awesome female hero, and a not-so-sappy prince charming, Dauntless is all that and more. I give Dauntless by: Dina L. Sleiman a 4 out of 5 rating (see side bar for book review scale). This is apparently the first in a series Mrs. Sleiman is starting called The Valiant Heart Series. I hope to be able to review the others in the series as they come out. I would especially love to see a book about Allen as he was my favorite character and I wished he could have his own story.
P.S. I was given Dauntless By Dina L. Sleiman by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.
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