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Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
To Shine With Honor: Book One: Coming of Age by Joseph Scott Amis is a historical fiction novel following the life of Galien de Coudre. Set in late 11th-century France, Galien’s life is already planned for him. His father, Henri de Coudre, is a knight who has trained his two elder sons for knighthood and decided Galien is fit for the priesthood. However, Galien knows in his heart he will be a great knight. Practicing with his brothers comes in handy when his family is threatened, and his sword practice is useful. But certain circumstances and Galien’s love for a common household maid make his father question if he is fit for knighthood, despite having a talent for it. A compromise is made: six months at a monastery, and then his future will be decided. However, things change when Galien reaches the monastery and his dreams move in a different direction. Before he knows it, Galien has to make some decisions that will change his life forever.
I knew little about the First Crusade, but To Shine With Honor was an entertaining way to educate myself. Galien is a fantastic character. He is so painfully human, and I loved him for that. He is indecisive, but maybe because he is never given a choice. Stepping away from the influence of his father does him some good. He understands he has options besides the priesthood and becoming a knight, despite having education and talent for both. His love for Lisette confuses him in the best way possible. Their relationship is smooth, and the helping hand he needs to do well. Joseph’s character is monumental in Galien’s progress. He is the mentor and guide Galien needs to understand his true potential and the relationship between these two is incredible, to say the least. The descriptions are vivid, and the narrative style is perfect. Author Joseph Scott Amis is a fantastic storyteller. He leaves questions in the mind of the reader while also leaving a satisfying feeling in their heart. I cannot wait for the next book!