Author: Dina L. Sleiman
Publishing House/Publication Date: Bethany House/September, 2015
Genres: Teen Fiction; Christian Fiction; Historical Fiction
Time Period: 1217 (the Middle Ages)
Number of Pages: 365
Series: Book #2 in the “Valiant Hearts” series
You should read this book if… You enjoyed Dauntless, the previous novel in the series! In Chivalrous, it was great fun to discover what happened to various leading and supporting characters in their continuation stories.
Tone and Mood: While the content of this story is often on the dark and unhappy side, the tone does not always reflect this in character actions, etc. At times, especially at the beginning, it feels like a typical teenage novel that has simply been relocated to medieval times, without very much setting-related depth behind the motivations and actions of the two main characters. Depending on your reading preferences, this may either be a good thing or a bad thing.
Characters and Point of View: Lady Gwendolyn Barnes and Sir Allen of Ellsworth are the two primary characters that the story is revealed through. At regular intervals, Gwen’s maid Rosalind also reveals her viewpoint, and on a handful of occasions the villain of the story is spotlighted, bringing his history and desires to light.
Storyline: Gwen is a strong and valiant young woman who dreams of nothing more than battling as a knight and perfecting her jousting skills, just like her brothers. Trying to settle down and focus on the activities her tyrannical father deems “ladylike” is next to impossible. When it is decided that she must be married immediately, and to a cruel man who will control her and tame her wild tendencies using whatever methods he desires, Gwen’s spirit is crushed to the breaking point… Until she meets Allan of Ellsworth, a knight on his own quest for belonging, who encounters schemes and secret motivations that will lead both him and Gwendolyn on an adventure beyond what they could ever have dreamed!
Themes and Morals: Despite other negative aspects, the themes, ideals and character growth presented in this book is one of its greatest strengths. Trusting in God and applying faith to all situations big and small, discovering the true meaning of valour and honour, and accepting as well as following God’s direction for your life are just a few of the many take-away values.
Inappropriate Content: Unfortunately even though this book is aimed towards a young adult audience, it contains large doses of content that would have much better been avoided. Unmarried characters have thoughts about personal and intimate matters, and share them in great detail. One character makes a terrible choice as the result of her sin, and extremely inappropriate actions are referred to several times.
Conclusion: This book was a little disappointing after the remarkably unique story of Dauntless that preceded it. Although it does contain a distinct plot all its own, it still feels like a sequel that didn’t quite reach its full potential. However on the upside, in the Christian youth genre, reasonably clean historical novels are rare. While lacking in some areas and containing several inappropriate elements, this tale of medieval adventure contains many strong morals and themes. These factors, combined with the fact that it is a continuation of an extraordinary story, ensure that young readers will likely enjoy and relate to Chivalrous, perhaps not as their utmost favourite title, but certainly as an enjoyable way to pass an afternoon.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.