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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick

A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (491 pgs)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

The early twelfth century is a time for ambitious men to prosper, and royal servant John FitzGilbert is one of them. But when the old king dies and his successor is appointed, John faces a terrible choice: he must join the rival faction-his enemies- or risk losing everything. His new wife helps him carry his burden, but his final choice will seal not only her fate, but those of his young children.

As the fight for England's crown enters a new phase, John may be forced to make a terrible sacrifice...

It’s a time of strife, the early 12th century, and people are called upon to make decisions, and to swear loyalty to one leader or the other. The price of choosing the wrong one is everything a person holds dear.

The hero, John Fitzgilbert, is a man who knows where he stands. He’s brave beyond words, filled with honor, and irresistible as a lead man. And, he really existed. This is his story, his place in history, fictionalized in a fast-paced, exciting adventure. Should he support the dead king’s daughter to rule the country or her cousin, Stephen?

John has to make a terrible decision. Honor is at stake, but when the lives of others are involved, sometimes a person has to do things that hurt. John must face his dark side and come face-to-face with situations that secretly make him tremble with grief, but he does it.

The secondary characters, such as King Stephen or John’s two wives and children, support the storyline effortlessly and tug at a reader’s emotions. Several scenes throughout the book are particularly poignant, like when John is trapped in a battle and loses his eye, or when his young son, a greatly endearing character, is King Stephen’s hostage. That little boy, like his father, is memorable. It’s nice to know that his story is told in other books by this author.

The story unfolds with the devastating politics of the time. The reader is treated to a world filled with so many realistic medieval details of life that it’s the next best thing to being there to observe. Those who love accurate historical fiction, exciting characters, a plot filled with suspense and action, high emotions and surprises, will probably love this book.