Thursday, February 11, 2016

Review: Chivalrous

Dina L. Sleiman


By Dina L Sleiman
Bethany House, September 2015

About the Book

Strong and adventurous Gwendolyn Barnes longs to be a knight like her chivalrous brothers. However, that is not an option for her, not even in the Arthurian-inspired Eden where she dwells. Her parents view her only as a marriage pawn, and her domineering father is determined to see her wed to a brutish man who will break her spirit.

When handsome, good-hearted Allen of Ellsworth arrives in Edendale searching for his place in the world, Gwendolyn spies in him the sort of fellow she could imagine marrying. Yet fate seems determined to keep them apart. Tournaments, intrigue, and battles—along with twists and turns aplenty—await these two as they struggle to find love, identity, and their true destinies.

My Review

I enjoyed this book. It made me think of a warm and fuzzy Robin Hood themed story (the one made by Disney with the Fox and Hare, etc,) but with a Christian twist. There is a strong faith element to the novel that makes it clear how our relationship to God must be personal to be effective. I could not agree more. There is also a bit of A Knight’s Tale blended in with the knights fighting in tournaments and jousting. It put me in the mood to want to go to a Renaissance Festival, lol!

It was clear the story was tailored by the publisher to fit their typical readership. I’d say this book was rated G overall. There were a few realistic elements that shaped the main female character, like the physical abuse she and her mother suffered at the hands of her father, but it was a very small part of the story. It did fit the mentality of the times—that women were supposed to be ruled by the men in the family.

I can see how Gwen’s childhood and seeing what her mother endured would make her want to train to fight if needed to protect her family from the brutality of her father. I can see her hanging out in trees to get away from it all. I do feel a bit disadvantaged by not having read the first book in the series, which sounds like it had an even stronger Robin Hood theme, including a heroine named Merry. I do believe the story that comes next will be about Rosalind, and if so, it will no doubt tug on heart strings. Overall, this was an enjoyable read.

Michelle Szymanoski
Michelle Sutton author, Healing Hearts