Dauntless (Valiant Hearts Series #1)
by Dina L. Sleiman
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: March 3rd, 2015
Genres: Christian, Historical, Romance, YA
Buy at: Amazon, B&N, CBD
Add on: Goodreads
Find the author at: website
Rating: ★★★★ (4 out of 5 stars)
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.
“Stealth, Anonymity, and Restraint” are the words seventeen-year-old Merry and her band of “men” live by in order to survive. Lady Merry Ellison was born of nobility, but everything changed when her baron father was deemed a traitor by oppressive tyrant King John. Now her family is gone and she’s an outlaw, but Merry finds new purpose protecting the orphans who survived that fateful day everyone in her village was murdered. Survival means having to resort to thievery, but her young comrades are as brave and stealthy as they come which leads them to be infamously known as the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest. Timothy Grey is the ninth child of Baron Greyham and strives to earn a title of his own. When the opportunity presents itself to do exactly that on the condition that he captures the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest, he jumps at the chance. But meeting the leader of the thieves rocks everything he believed to be true and forever changes all of their lives.
I’ve been dying to get my hands on this Robin Hood “spinoff” (if you will) for ages; ever since I saw the cover on my blogging pal Rissi’s blog. The title Dauntless immediately had me intrigued and upon learning more about what the book was about, it was a no-brainer must read. After all the excitement leading to it’s release, thankfully it didn’t disappoint! Dynamic characters, a gentle love story, meaningful message, and intriguing plotline made this a tale to remember.
Merry and her makeshift family MADE this book. I fell in love with little Wren and the other kids right away, laughing and smiling the whole time I was reading. Love triangles can either be really good or really terrible (in my experience) and this one was handled delicately and extremely well. I loved both Allen and Timothy, but was completely satisfied with the ending. Merry was a great kick-butt heroine. As Sleiman says on her website, “If you love Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior, prepare to meet their historical counterparts.” To top it off this book held a deeper meaning than expected that made it very relatable, touching on topics like overcoming fear, seeking truth, and keeping faith. And the author did it all without being too “preachy”, as some of these books tend to be. Bravery, kindness, strength, family, and faith are integral parts of this story and I truly enjoyed every second.
If you like Robin Hood and exciting tales of heroism and faith, Dauntless is for you! This is my first read from this talented author (by the way, the reader’s note in the beginning was just plain awesome!) and I can’t wait to meet more of her dauntless heroines. I’m really hoping I don’t have to wait too long to read the next book in this series, Chivalrous!