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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Dina Sleiman: Courageous

By Kelly Bridgewater

Inspired by the vision of the Young Lady Sapphira, Rosalind of Ipsworth joins a group of men, women, and children as a defender of the cross, seeking to free captives from prisons near Tripoli. She gladly gives herself to the cause, as she's haunted by a tragic mistake and no longer deserves such joys as marriage and family might bring.

Sir Randel Penigree was reared to serve in the church, but dreams of protecting the innocent as a knight. Joining a crusade to escape humiliation at home, he finds himself drawn to Rosalind as they partner to train and protect a group of young adolescents. When they face political machinations, danger, and an unknown enemy bent on their destruction, they are forced to reconsider their priorities and the very nature of the God they serve.

From Amazo
My Review:

I have read and enjoyed Dina Sleiman's first two books in the Valiant Hearts series, Dauntless and Chivalrous. Even though the books are young adult novels, I enjoyed spending time jumping back into the historical realm of the middle ages and following the heroines and heroes on their journeys. With Courageous, there is no exception.

I believe the most important aspect of a historical novel is the research. If the research isn't done right, than the story falls apart. Sleiman has definitely done her research. With all the information into the Muslim heritage with what they believe to the Crusades to the Holy Land with the children Crusades to Jerusalem, I never once doubted Sleiman's story. She wrapped me in this original adventure and took me for a great ride. I enjoyed the novel, but there are moments where the story drags and features repeated actions, for instance, battle, camp, battle, camp. I still enjoyed the novel though. The setting of traveling through the wilderness to accomplish what they have believed God allowed them to do jumps off the page.

What would a crusade story be without some sort of lesson to take away? With Courageous, Sleiman does a good job at allowing the heroine, Rosalind, and the hero, Randel to fight and struggle with their past mistakes. But they both learn the power of God's forgives and his ability to allow them to forgive themselves and move on with their life. Because of God's grace, Rosalind and Randel were able to fall in love and move forward with their life. Randel and Rosalind both have a desire to protect and love children. It brought out the innocence and purity from their past mistakes.

Courageous is written in Randel, Rosalind, and the person seeking revenge's perspective. The dialogue matched the characters. Even the internal monologues showed the struggle all three of these characters experienced throughout the book. The pace of the prose and dialogue moved at a good clip. Once I was engrossed in the story, I did not get taken out of the story.

With Dina Sleiman's conclusion to her Valiant Heart series, Courageous is a great researched novel that reminds me a lot of a Arthurian legend with the hunt of something greater than oneself. With a memorable cast and a unique premise, Courageous is a book that will stay with me long after I finished the novel. A must read for fans of Dina Sleiman's other books and fans of Melanie Dickerson. 

I received a complimentary copy of Dina Sleiman's Courageous from Bethany House Publishers and the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Do you read young adult novels or do you leave them to the young adults? Why or Why not?

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