Time of Honor by Margo Sorenson (MuseItUp Publishing 2012)
I first "met" Margo Sorenson earlier this year, when I featured ISLAND DANGER, her fast-paced middle grade adventure set in Hawai'i:. Since then, I've come to know her as a generous writer who is always eager to celebrate the written word, as well as pass on writing tips and information via Twitter.
Margo is the author of 28 books for young readers. Having read ISLAND DANGER and TIME OF HONOR in such proximity, I have come to realize how versatile she is. While the Hawaiian adventure was modern, TIME OF HONOR travels through time from our day to 1272. Those of you who, like me, LOVE time travel and history will really enjoy this novel!
The Story (modified from the back cover): Fourteen-year-old Connor’s smart mouth gets her into and—luckily—out of trouble on her prep school’s debate team and in the classroom. Catapulted into the year 1272 while on a field trip to the U.K., she finds her noble new friends’ lives threatened by a conspiracy fueled by greed. When William and Maud learn that their father has been murdered on the Crusade, they beg Connor to help them find who is plotting against them. William must confront his enemy in battle, but Connor also discovers truths about herself and her ability to use words when she tries to save her new friends—and herself.
What I Liked: First off, what a great cover! It totally captures Connor's personality. When we first see her, she is a smart mouth, who is chafing against her domineering mother. She has, by her own admission, never been accused "of being slow to move on anything. Rushing right into trouble was more my style." But she has used her way with words to do well on her school's debate team, and it is this skill that will serve her well at the climax of the novel.
TIME OF HONOR is also a humorous book. Margo Sorenson shifts effortlessly between Connor's modern vernacular and the formal language of the 13th century, with some juicy misunderstandings along the way. Thoroughly modern Connor also has a lot to say about the sights and smells (particularly the smells!) of medieval England--as well as its unfair treatment of women.
The friendship between the three principals--15-year-old William who is training to be a knight; his younger sister, Maud; and Connor herself--is handled deftly. Connor is definitely interested in William, who's a bit of a heartthrob--but this is middle grade, and the feelings are never acted upon.
All in all, this is the sort of novel that, when it comes to the end, you are left wanting more!!
About Margo Sorenson: Visit Margo's website to learn more about her and her work. Follow her on Twitter @ipapaverison.
A very interesting interview about Margo and the writing of TIME OF HONOR can be found at writer C.K. Volnek's blog. Several other middle grade writers and bloggers are posting about TIME OF HONOR in the next couple of weeks, and I will link to them here once the posts are up.
Because I want you to experience Margo's writing, I have a special offer for you. Leave a comment, and I will draw a winner and send him or her a copy, purchased from MuseItUp Publishing, of TIME OF HONOR. (Tweet about it, and you'll get a bonus entry.)
To all my loyal readers facing Hurricane Sandy: Stay Safe. I'm thinking of you!!
HAPPY MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY! As Margo would say, Mahalo!!