Friday, October 16, 2009

In Search of Honor by Donna Lynn Hess

In Search of Honor cover

In Search of Honor
by Donna Lynn Hess

Trade Paperback: 166 pages
Publisher: Bob Jones University Press
First Released: 1991

Source: Bought from

Back Cover Description:

Young Jacques Chenier, caught up in the anarchy and terror of the French Revolution, finds himself living a precarious existence as one calamity succeeds another. But even worse to bear are the worry about his mother and the heavy load of hatred he carries--hatred for the Comte de Guiche and his son.

While the French Revolution rages throughout Paris, Jacques struggles to free himself from the prison of his own bitterness and to find the true meaning of honor.

In Search of Honor is a fast-paced historical fiction set during the beginning of the French Revolution (1787-1793). It has injustice treatment, a prison break, historical figures, the Revolution, and other excitement.

While the characters were not precisely likable, I could fully understand and sympathize with why they did what they did. I certainly wanted to know what happened to them and read the book through in practically one sitting. I especially enjoyed the world-building as the excellent historical detail about the time, place, and Jacques' job as a sculptor was interesting and brought the story alive in my imagination.

I honestly don't know if non-Christians would enjoy the book for not. It had a very definite Christian influence and quotes the Bible in several places, but only one character was actually Christian and I think non-Christians could relate to Jacques' attitude and desires.

Though not labeled a YA book, I think both teens and adults would enjoy it. There was no sex and no bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this as well-written, clean reading.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
The revolution began for me the day my father was murdered. Though it was years ago, memories of that day have faded little. His death is still difficult to think upon and harder yet to write about, and I would not, were it not for the fact that the circumstances of his death reveal the temper of the times.

It was early one afternoon. My father and I were in our shop as usual. I was bent over the fire, stirring up a new batch of molding max while he was busy carving on yet another marble bust of the great Rousseau. He had done many such busts that spring, for Rousseau, like Voltaire, had become an idol of the rich. Requests for his image seemed endless and were not limited to sculptured busts. The wealthy wanted the face of this dead philosopher on buttons, snuff boxes, shaving bowls, and inkwells. Indeed, for several months it seemed that everywhere I looked, a Rousseau was staring back at me.

There was one thing, however, that intrigued me about those myriad faces that my father created: no two were alike. I have since come to realize that such diversity is the mark of a great artist. My father was a great artist, and I freely admit that any success I have achieved as a sculptor I owe to him.

Read the prologue and more of chapter one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I taught this book to my 7th graders towards the end of the year since it is a quick read. Most of them enjoyed it although many found it rather depressing-but that is what made it realistic. I would have liked more character development, but for a novel set during the French Revolution it was quite riveting and easy to follow!