Dina L. Sleiman makes her debut with this young adult Middle Ages novel about a young woman who courageously steps out to do what must be done, even if it is unconventional.
In Dauntless, Merry is an outlaw as a result of her father’s failed assassination attempt against the king. She is willing to go to any length to provide for the orphaned children from her village.
Timothy Grey, Merry’s former fiancé, serves as an assistant to the earl. Timothy wants to make a name for himself by capturing the “Ghosts of Farthingale Forest,” unaware that the leader is his childhood friend, Merry.
Sleiman presents a 13th century young woman with the skills and courage to step outside the normal role to lead others and help them survive. She isn’t waiting for a handsome knight to save her. Merry hardens her heart to God and to others in order to protect herself. Dauntless is about using your skills to do what needs to be done, but not abandoning hope especially when “God opens a window.”
Both plot and character driven, Dauntless is a welcome addition to young adult literature. Merry is a strong young woman who isn’t afraid to do whatever she needs to do in order to provide for the children in her care. She is a valiant heart – one who is fearless, both feminine and strong, open to love but not defined by a man. She is a role model to other young women, both in her story and to her readers.
Recommended for public libraries and school libraries. Fans of medieval young adult books by Melanie Dickerson and Lisa Bergren will especially enjoy this new author.
Carol R. Gehringer