Books,  Reviews

Book Review: My Bonny Light Horseman: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, in Love and War

Reviewed by: Lori Twichell
Genre: Historical, YA, Adventure
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 24, 2010

Is it possible? Could the infamous Jack Faber really be dead? Say it isn’t so!

With a crew of men who would gladly follow her into the bowels of hell, Jacky was captured and taken to a French prison where she was found guilty of treason. In full view of those same men who would gladly lay down their lives for her, she was beheaded. Even her beloved Jaimy lay near death. Was this really the end of Jacky’s adventures?

Not even close.

Through the manipulation of the British government, Jacky’s execution was a finely handled set up designed to allow her to go undercover behind French lines and practice a new trade: spy. With her proficient skills at entertainment and her keen understanding of men, this should be a slam dunk for young Jacky.

It’s not long before the intrepid young woman once again has a starring role in international intrigue, chaos and almost unbelievable craziness. Now it must be mentioned here that though her previous adventures have been bawdy and crazy most of the time, our favorite heroine has managed to maintain her innocence throughout each one. She is, after all, determined to be the bride of one James Fletcher and no matter how many laps she’s sat upon, men she’s kissed or awkward naked situations she’s found herself in, she will become his bride as a virgin. So you can see how it wouldn’t work for her that the English government has decided the best way for her to spy is to be a prostitute. She’s willing to spy for them in order to protect Jaimy and keep him  safe, but she will not compromise those values unless that’s the only way. If you’ve been following her adventures to this point, there’s never, ever, an ‘only way’ when Jacky’s involved.

Once again Meyer has created an amazing story that takes place across continents, wraps in a good amount of history and presents a highly entertaining journey. More young men fall for dear Jacky, others from the past show up in her present and at one point, Jacky even becomes a confidant for Napoleon. (Does anyone remember the very beginning of this series when I compared it to the adventures of Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean? That’s still exceptionally accurate.

Scenes that make you laugh with the absurdity of the situation are quickly followed by moments that will have you sobbing or cringing with the painful reality. Jacky’s witty answers to situations never ceases to amaze me and I am still just as delighted with this series as I was when I started reading.

The only caution I have is that where these books started out as good for younger teens, as Jacky has grown, so have the twists and plots in her life. As we progress through the series, my recommendations for readership gets older and older. If there are any parents looking at these books for their teens, it’s probably a good idea to read them and be sure of what you may or may not need to address. This book has Jacky in some highly compromising situations.

And I can’t end this review without another massive thumbs up for the audio books. Even if you’ve read the print versions, these are a must for any Jacky fan. The audio adventures are so beautifully produced and are overflowing with excellence that you do not want to miss them. I’m to the point where I hear the actress reading in my head as I’m reading the print versions and it makes a world of difference in my perceptions of the series. If there aren’t Jacky Faber movies or a television series, these would come close. Trust me – if you’re even close to being curious, go pick up a copy of the audiobooks. You’ll be glad you did!

Rated PG-13/R: These books have Jacky posing as a prostitute in order to spy on the French government. It’s all but assumed that she must not be a virgin (even though she actually is) so the government sets her up as a prostitute. I’m sure you can imagine some of the difficulties and scenes that she encounters. I recommend that parents of younger readers should either read this book beforehand or read along with their kids.

Review copy provided by the publisher and Listen and Live Audio. Thank you!