From birth, Lady Sabine’s arm has been blotched by a bizarre birthmark. In a culture where beauty is regarded as symbolizing the state of a person’s soul, a slip of her glove could have her branded as a witch and killed. But despite all the pressure, Sabine dreams of finding acceptance from her friends, community, and God.
For Love and Honor is the third and final book in Jody Hedlund’s An Uncertain Choice series. Although readable as a standalone novel, it features many of the main characters from the first book in the series, namely Sir Bennet, Sabine’s counterpart.
From the moment Lady Sabine is introduced, readers will know they are in for a treat. The entire novel is filled with witty banter improvised by Sabine and Sir Bennet. The setting is Medieval Europe; Hedlund provides enough historical details to make the settings feel authentic, but refrains from overwhelming readers with medieval jargon. The specific people and places are not intended to be historically accurate, whereas the culture and technology is.
For Love and Honor is classified as a clean historical romance, which means the developing relationship between Sabine and Bennet takes central focus. Though masculine readers may be intimidated by this, it won’t alienate them. Warriors, sieges, and battles ensue, and the novel’s emphasis on self-worth relates as much to them as teen girls, though guys may not wrestle with it exactly the same way.
Sir Bennet and Lady Sabine must overcome several obstacles outside of their relationship. Both of them struggle with trust. Sabine’s greatest hurdle is learning to accept herself and trusting God and the people closest to her to accept her as well. Bennet struggles to act honorably and morally no matter how difficult the situation. At the beginning, Bennet seeks a marriage alliance with Sabine because of his family’s severe financial problems, which is neither honorable nor in accordance with his moral standards. Both characters make mistakes, resulting in disastrous consequences. The key for them is to learn from their mistakes and continue fighting for what is right.
The strongest theme in For Love and Honor is self-image. Lady Sabine’s skin blemish is a source of conflict throughout the novel. She keeps it a secret because the highly superstitious people could easily murder her under the accusation of being a witch. This fear holds Sabine captive by lowering her self-image so that she is unable to proceed in a trusting relationship. Only by changing her worldview and perception of herself can Sabine conquer her debilitating fear.
For Love and Honor is an exceptional novel that delivers an inspiring message applicable to all readers. Additionally, it provides well-written dialogue, character development, and theme that writers can examine to cultivate their own writing skills.