Lady Merry Ellison was born the daughter of a baron, but when her family is accused of betraying the king, they, along with the nearby villagers, are slaughtered. Merry and fellow villagers who survive form a band, stealing food and money to stay alive, but only from those who can spare it. Unintentionally, they become known as the “The Ghosts of Farthingale Forrest.” This group is brought to the forefront of King John’s attention when the group steals gold meant for him.
Timothy Grey, Merry’s former betrothed and ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, has determined to catch the legendary “Ghosts of Farthingale Forrest” so that he can obtain a title of his own. When Timothy searches for and discovers the “ghosts,” he is shocked to find Merry, whom he thought was dead, as their leader. Will Timothy betray Merry to gain a title or will he choose love instead?
Originally an adult author, Dina L. Sleiman has branched out to write young adult fiction as well. Having never before read her adult novels, I was greatly impressed by this remixed story of Robin Hood. Dina has presented well-developed characters and an excellent story line. Knowing this novel was a new version of Robin Hood, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was met with excitement and adventure from the first chapter of the book which caught and held my attention. I would recommend this novel to those that enjoy retold versions of stories as well as adventure and a little bit of romance.
Series: Valiant Hearts
Number of pages: 368
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Publication date: March 3, 2015
Grade Level: 7th+
Genre: adventure; historical fiction; fantasy; romance
Other books in this series:
2-Chivalrous (September 8, 2015)
Dina Sleiman reads Dauntless.
Auden’s parents recently divorced and she currently lives with her high strung, controlling mother. But for the summer she decides to visit her dad, step-mom, and new stepsister, Thisbe. Auden has always been very studious and done exactly what her mother asked of her. But this summer she does things she never had a chance to experience in high school, such as hanging out with girlfriends, having a boyfriend, and learning to take care of baby Thisbe. She also helps her dad and step-mom’s struggling and complicated relationship by teaching her dad that they can start over. In this novel, Auden comes to better understand and accept herself for who she is and she learns to love life.
This is a well written novel that brings to life struggles that many teens have while growing up. Some of these concern marital issues and divorce of parents, friendship, and coming to understand oneself. Sarah Dessen has a way with words that makes her stories real, helping readers to connect with characters in the stories.
Genre: realistic fiction; drama; romance
Literary awards: Milwaukee County Teen Book Award Nominee (2010), Teen Read Award Nominee for Best Read (2010), Goodreads Choice for Young Adult Fiction (2009)
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication date: June 16, 2009
Number of pages: 338
Grade Level: 7+
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