30 Aug 2015

Review - Chivalrous by Dina L. Sleiman


Title: Chivalrous (Valiant Hearts #2)

Author: Dina L. Sleiman 

Publication date: Sept 8, 2015

Rating: 2/5 stars

Synopsis:

Strong and adventurous Gwendolyn Barnes longs to be a knight like her chivalrous brothers. However, that is not an option for her, not even in the Arthurian-inspired Eden where she dwells. Her parents view her only as a marriage pawn, and her domineering father is determined to see her wed to a brutish man who will break her spirit.

When handsome, good-hearted Allen of Ellsworth arrives in Edendale searching for his place in the world, Gwendolyn spies in him the sort of fellow she could imagine marrying. Yet fate seems determined to keep them apart. Tournaments, intrigue, and battles--along with twists and turns aplenty--await these two as they struggle to find love, identity, and their true destinies.

I received a free ebook copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My thoughts:

Chivalrous by Dina L. Sleiman was the first Christian fiction novel I read and I won’t want to start another one in the foreseeable future. I was raised a Roman Catholic and  – although I have a complicated relationship with God – I do believe in Him. I pray every day and I often see His work where others see coincidences. BUT I do not have the mindset that was represented in this novel, I couldn’t and, frankly, didn’t want to make it mine.

It’s okay if someone feels God’s presence and it brings him/her peace. It’s okay if a person silently recognizes that He leads him and he often thinks of Him. But to have God involved in every single thought of yours and not voice a sentence without His name... it’s called obsession in my dictionary. Even for a medieval setting the religious reasoning was too much. And I was surprised when suddenly, out of nowhere, it hit me because the story didn’t start out badly.

I enjoyed the beginning, right until the point Allen became a member of the council. This is how it went: on one page he was a religious, but reasonable guy, on the next he was a bigoted fellow who found fault after fault in the girl he fell in love with, a fellow who kept on worrying that God might not like that he desires a lady of ’ill behaviour’.

Examples for the ’faults’:

„If she was capable of fighting in a tournament as a man, what other troublesome deception might this enticing woman be prone to?”

or

„But perhaps this was God’s way of saving him from a woman who did not share his devotion.”

In other words: wanting to be yourself and not being blindly religious were unacceptable traits (or lack of traits) for our knight in shining armour.

In Gwen’s place I would have wanted to be saved from Sir Allen and his strange way of thinking… Fortunately by the end Sir Allen began to understand and accept Gwen the way she was (the fact that she started to feel closer to God helped a bit), but I still would have hooked up with Randel…

So all in all God was pushed onto the reader especially through Allen’s character and it resulted in serious eye-rolling from my part from time to time, it basically ruined the book for me.

I gave Chivalrous two stars only because it would have been a decent, entertaining tale without putting that much emphasis on religion. 

 

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