Monday, September 11, 2017

Review: The Shield by C.J. Bentley

The Finder Series, Book 1
by C.J. Bentley
Clink Street Publishing
Middle Grade Historical Fiction
101 pages

People lose their belongings. That is a fact of life. It can happen by accident, but sometimes it can happen when you put them in a very safe place and forget where that safe place is. Not many people are good at finding them again.
A young, gutsy girl with a kind heart, who's searching for her own identity growing up in the 1960s, just happens to be very good at finding things. Can she be the one to help return whatever is lost - anywhere and at any time - to its original owner?
With the help of a beautiful yet mysterious wise woman and a chivalrous knight she does just that. She finds and returns his shield, lost in battle, which unbeknown to her holds a secret that is important to his King, the safety of the Kingdom and the life of the daughter of his best friend.
The Shield is the first story in The Finder Series, taking our heroine on extraordinary journeys back in time. Her first adventure takes place in Medieval England in 1340 where she meets King Edward III, his wife Philippa and their son, who will later become the Black Prince.


This is a lovely book, which mixes time travel and history to form an exciting adventure just right for kids ages nine and up.

Peggy...or perhaps her name is Elizabeth. It depends on the week and her mood. But this girl, who is growing up in the 1960's, is full of spunk and ready to tackle every adventure. Mostly, with her four other friends. But when a day playing at the stream turns up a medieval shield, her life takes a strange turn. At first, she sees a knight on a horse, but her friends don't see a thing. When the same knight reappears at her home and whisks her away back into time, she becomes part of plot to free a captured girl and maybe save the kingdom.

History threads and weaves through this adventure, proving that learning about facts doesn't have to be a boring thing. This story takes place in England in 1340, during King Edward III's reign and does a lovely job of bringing this foreign time period to life, so that modern day kids can slide right into it. The heroine is smart, well spoken for her age, sometimes mature and definitely brave, but she's also unsure of herself at times and not always ready to handle everything. There are moments, which she comes across older than she is, but these are balanced out nicely with more 'childish' ones. Readers will have no trouble sympathizing with her and be ready to stand at her side the entire way through.

The plot is woven with secrets and intrigue, which make it deeper than many reads for this audience. And that's good so. It's interesting, pulls in and never talks down in the readers. The first twenty percent of the book deals only with the heroine finding the shield, which did draw out a little long and slow, but once the story gets going, it keeps the reader pinned to the pages until the very end. Not only is the heroine's destiny to help during the historical moment interesting, but her problem of being stuck in the past is so vivid, it's hard not to cheer for her.

The bits of history are like treats. They flow seamlessly into the adventure, never feeling dull or heavy. Kids will learn without even realizing it and pick up all sorts of tidbits along the way. This is a fun beginning to what should be a lovely series.

And here she is. . .

Originally heralding from the North of England, C.J Bentley has traveled extensively and enjoyed living in a variety of countries across the world from Dubai to Doha, Qatar and now the countryside in the South of France. A background in teaching and childcare she has always enjoyed creating adventure short stories. However, it was when she became a grandma and with her grandchildren growing up that she discovered that books seemed to contain only stories of vampires, zombies and farts that she decided seriously to take matters into her own hands and put pen to paper which today she calls The Finder Series.

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