First Chapter Review: The Paladins DuBois by Patricia Donaruma Williford


While attending the WriteAngles Conference this past November, I ran into Patricia Donaruma Williford, author of The Paladins DuBoisPat is a teacher in our local school district. Luckily, she had a copy of her book with her that I was able to purchase.


BLURB: Eighteen years after the infants Kai and Mahri DuBois were separated and taken from La Foret de Chenes for their own protection, they are called to return. Appointed as Paladins, they receive their first charges from the Elders. The twins must overcome the devastating act of treachery that tore their family apart, restore the integrity of the treasure they guard, and beat back the encroaching evil of La Famille DeMauvaise.

COVER: While I’m not always a fan of dark covers, they are popular in the young adult genre. This cover works well for the book because the dark forest with its glowing fireflies is an integral part of the story.

FIRST CHAPTER: Kai Woods, a painfully shy boy with unruly blond hair, has just graduated from high school. The letter he has received from his Uncle Frank invites him to be considered for a position of caretaker of La Forêt de Chênes, The Forest of Oaks. He follows a trail and soon comes to a cottage, where he meets the mysterious Shaun O’Shaunessey.

KEEP READING: Definitely. Williford quickly captivates the reader with her mysterious, magical tale. In a few short pages, the reader learns a bit about Kai’s past and the future that is about to unfold before him. Told from Kai’s and Shaun’s points of view, this intriguing first chapter is filled with rich descriptions that add depth but are not overdone. The back story is just enough to entice. It doesn’t cloud over the present day happenings.

While I’ll admit fantasy is not my first choice of reading material, this strong first chapter, the conflict of a family torn apart, and Kai and Mahri’s destiny enchanted me. I’m eager to continue.

Paperback: 524 pages
Publisher:, Inc. (September 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1621417719
ISBN-13: 978-1621417712

This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

The Paladins DuBois by Patricia Donaruma Williford

“They look promising.  But are they prepared?”

“How could they be?  Better to ask, are they be willing to be dedicated?  Do they have courage and imagination?”

Eighteen years after the infants, Kai and Mahri DuBois, were separated and taken from La Forêt de Chênes for their own protection, they are called to return.  Appointed as Paladins, they receive their first charges from the Elders.  The twins must overcome the devastating act of treachery that tore their family apart, restore the integrity of the treasure they guard, and beat back the encroaching evil of La Famille DeMauvaise.

Filled with humor, action, and romance, The Paladins DuBois features an ensemble of distinctly different protagonists, who must, each in their own way, learn this lesson; “Love is strong enough to withstand anger, accept the truth, and embrace forgiveness.”  But this kind of love is not for the faint-hearted.  It demands courage, sacrifice, and the willingness to bare one’s soul.

Read an excerpt!


“Auntie Lina! Auntie Lina! Where are you? You are not going to believe this! I have a job offer. Well maybe not an offer, but an interview…or something. I don’t know but…it’s in the forest…” The redheaded dervish of energy known as Mahri Woods spun through the house. “Auntie! Where are you?” Unable to find her aunt, Mahri dropped cross-legged onto the couch and examined the envelope. No return address, no postage, it was sealed with wax and stamped with an odd signet. Caretaker? What could it mean? 

Her fascination for La Forêt de Chênes had often drawn her to the large bay window of her bedroom. But oddly enough, in spite of her curious nature and her aunt’s love of exploration, they had never ventured into the forest. In fact, the thought had never actually occurred to her until now. She tingled with a sense of anticipation as she read the brief contents again. Somehow, she felt that she had been waiting for this…summons? Maybe it would satisfy her ever-present, unshakable feeling that she had a missing piece.

Impulse rather than reflection being Mahri’s strong suit, she flew up to her room, threw a few things in her backpack, then left a message on her aunt’s voice mail explaining where she was going. Mahri couldn’t imagine that Lina, who had always encouraged her to embrace new

experiences, would object. Besides, she would call her again when she arrived at the forest. Mahri wheeled her bike down the sidewalk and headed toward Oakenwood Road.

From her vantage point in the cupola of the rambling old Victorian house, Angelina followed Mahri’s progress as she cycled off toward the forest. She had raised Mahri, homeschooling her and providing an eclectic education which produced an inquisitive, imaginative, and capable young woman. For eighteen years, Lina had kept watch on La Forêt de Chênes. Last night, when she saw the first glimmer of the fireflies high above the trees, she knew the forest was calling, and it was time to move Mahri to her destiny. So, early this morning, she had placed the envelope in the mailbox for her niece to find. Her eyes filled with tears. If all went as planned, it was likely that Mahri would find it hard to forgive her years of deceit.

Patricia Donaruma Williford is a believer in the power of stories of conflict between good and evil, and how character is developed when confronted with challenge.  A teacher, mother, and avid reader, Pat has lived in Colorado, Iowa, on Cape Cod, and currently calls Hampden, MA home.

  • Paperback:524 pages
  •, Inc. (September 1, 2012)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1621417719
  • ISBN-13: 978-1621417712