Not Every Girl by Jane McGarry
I received a copy of this ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Olivia Davenport’s plan is destined to fail.
She is going through with it anyway, of course. After all, it is the chance of a lifetime. The unreasonable rules of others should not stand in her way.
In her small kingdom of Stewartsland, Olivia trains with the squires and harbors a secret dream. She longs to become a knight under the command of the Master-of–Arms, who just happens to be her father. He has indulged her passion so far, but they both know a simple fact – girls may not attain knighthood. Dismayed by the constant discouragement of her ambitions, she makes an impetuous decision to disguise herself as a boy in order to sneak on a mission. The consequences are not at all what she anticipated.
When her deception is revealed, she is sent home in disgrace; however, an unexpected turn of events puts her at the center of a dangerous plot against the King. The ensuing adventure finds her grappling with mercenaries and outlaws, yet these pale in comparison to her newly awakened emotions. She finds not only her life at risk, but also her heart, when the aloof Prince Liam begins to affect her in ways she never thought possible. In the end, it is her courage and unique spirit which must guide her through the challenges she encounters both physical and emotional.
I really enjoyed this novel! I was provided a copy by the lovely author Jane McGarry and I am so glad she reached out to me to review! Not Every Girl has all of the action and powerful female characters of current popular novels, but it still feels fresh. What I really think stands out is its root in a fictional but realistic historical setting. I loved the kings and castles, the knights and armor. The novel isn’t filled with the supernatural that seems to be the status quo, but instead relies on a young girls courage to go after her passion that is equally as magical.
Olivia is a character you want to see succeed. There is a definite Mulan feel to the story, with the woman dressing as a man to join the army. Whereas in Mulan, she does it to save her father, Olivia does it because she is passionate about it and every bit as good as a man. Now, there is a love story as well but it doesn’t overpower the thread of powerful women and courage. The interactions between Olivia and the love interest were fun and sweet to read. However, the best was her relationships with her little sisters and parents. Her sisters were headstrong in their own way and I loved the relationship with her father. Within his societal constrictions, he supported her in every way he could.
- I loved the time and setting!
- Kings, knights, politics, plots!
- Strong female characters that are good role models.
The Not So Good
- Predictable plot threads within the story
- Feel like there is more information to be had on the kingdom and its history
- Could use some fleshing out
Yes! I really enjoyed this as a quick “girl power” read with a great historical setting!