A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick
ARC, Kindle E-book, 512 pages
September 1, 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Received from publisher through Netgalley for review
“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...”
Ever since I first picked up The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick I have been entranced with the Marshal family – be it William, Mahelt, or now, John Marshal. I had heard from many other readers who had read the previously released UK version of this novel that this was a wonderful read and it certainly did not disappoint.
John Marshal is always known for the “hammers and anvil” speech that he gave to King Stephen at Newbury Castle – and this incident leads people to believe him to be a harsh, uncaring, man. Chadwick’s Marshal is much more of a compassionate man who had to have the courage to make the tough, right decisions. Chadwick builds a person that we can believe in and understand that his decision to leave his son, William, with the King was not one that was made lightly.
We meet John Marshal’s two wives in this novel, Aline and Sybilla, and these two women could not have been more different. Aline was a more quiet, reserved, deeply religious woman, while Sybilla was more passionate, outgoing, and a great hostess. I have to say that I couldn’t wait to see Aline leave the scene, not only because she was not compatible at all with John, but because she was so boring. I kept thinking “get with the program and do your duties!” Sybilla was much more interesting to read about because she knew what her responsibilities were and was a great helpmate to John.
My favorite scenes were those that did not involve John or Aline or Sybilla – but little William. Of course I enjoyed reading about him in The Greatest Knight and the other novels, but these small scenes allowed the reader to get to know where he got some of his ways from and give us a little preview of the future William Marshal.
As with all of her novels, Chadwick really knows how to create some great drama. I have to say, without giving anything away, that the scenes at Wherwell Abbey were fantastic. Each chapter pulls you immediately into the next chapter and it is truly an “unputdownable” read.
Author Elizabeth Chadwick also has written 4 other books loosely related to the Marshal family including: The Greatest Knight, The Scarlet Lion, For the King’s Favor, and To Defy a King. You can visit Chadwick’s website or blogs for additional information about the books. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?
You can also watch the book trailer below:
My other reviews of books by this author:
- The Greatest Knight
- The Scarlet Lion
- For the King’s Favor
- To Defy a King
- The Lady of the English
- Shadows and Strongholds
- The Summer Queen
Other blogger reviews of this book:
Copyright © 2012 by The Maiden’s Court