Book Review: Dauntless

24 May

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.

Award-winning author, Dina Sleiman, writes stories of passion and grace. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Since finishing her Professional Writing MA in 1994, she has enjoyed many opportunities to teach literature, writing, and the arts. Her debut novel, Dance of the Dandelion with Whitefire Publishing, won an Honorable Mention in the 2012 Selah Awards, and her cross-over YA novel, Dauntless, won the 2016 Carol Award. Also look for her books, Love in Three-Quarter Time, Dance from Deep Within, and the rest of her Valiant Hearts series with Bethany House Publishers. Dina serves as an acquisitions editor for WhiteFire as well, and she loves to represent them at writers conferences throughout the US. Join her as she discovers the unforced rhythms of grace. For more info visit her at


My Impressions:

Merrie Olde England is not so merry during the time of King John. Many know the Robin Hood legend in which the noble Robin robs from the rich in order to take care of the poor oppressed by John and his sheriffs. Building on this framework, but with a fresh voice, Dina Sleiman’s Dauntless takes the reader into a time of chivalry and honor, with an endearing young heroine determined to protect the most vulnerable. The first book in her Valiant Hearts series, Dauntless presents the story of Lady Merrie Ellison and her Ghosts, the children of her village left orphaned by the ruthlessness of King John. They live by their wits in the forest hoping to one day re-enter society.

Dauntless is a YA novel that will appeal to high school girls. Main character Merrie Ellison is a courageous and determined young woman who doesn’t let her weaker sex keep her from protecting those she loves. Smart and talented in the ways of defense, she leads her band while eluding detection from the kings’s men. There certainly is danger in the forest, and Merrie must use her wits and her loyal men to escape from her childhood friend Timothy. The characters are wonderful, and the romantic thread is just right. The adventures of the group keep the pages turning. Historical details abound and add a depth of authenticity. Merrie wrestles with injustice leading her to reject God as impotent or cruel. That struggle is the main thrust of the spiritual thread woven throughout the novel.

I liked Dauntless and would not hesitate to recommend it. There are two more novels in the series as well — lots of reading adventures!


Audience: young adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Bethany House for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


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