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 know 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 know.
I LOVE fairy tales. This one was really fun because she is like a female version of Robin Hood, in a way. But there is so much more to it than that story. The writing is very well done. You are given plenty of description, not too much, not too little. She went from different points of view, not just one characters viewpoint. Merry is strong and yet compassionate. She commands respect in her actions but behind it all is the love she has for the children. Timothy is a typical younger son wishing he could find his place in life, living under the shadow of what his older siblings have accomplished. But his family is loving and supportive, so it seems to be mostly in his own mind that he needs to compete somehow. He is smart but acts impulsively at times. There are many memorable characters among the orphaned children. The story is longer than some but I personally like more depth instead of less and having the story over quickly. I found myself thinking about the characters and where I had left off as I went throughout my day. I looked forward to getting back to the book to find out where the author took them next.
I recommend this book to preteens that enjoy reading, for some who don't, the length may be too much for them. Teens and over will enjoy this book. It is clean but is not lacking in depth and emotional connection. The spiritual content is very real as Merry struggles with her belief after tragedy and hatred took her family from her. I give this book 5 stars. I look forward to the next two books in this series. If you haven't read the author interview that I posted last week, check it out.
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. Also look for her novels, Love in Three-Quarter Time, Dance from Deep Within, and her Valiant Hearts series with Bethany House Publishers. Dina serves as an acquisitions editor for WhiteFire Publishing as well, and she loves to teach at writers conferences throughout the US.