I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to review Courageous by Dina L. Sleiman (Book 3 in her Valiant Hearts series). Having read and loved Chivalrous, it was exciting to travel back to the 1200's again, where I was certain the Camelot-like adventure would continue.
Courageous picks up about 2 years after Chivalrous continuing with Rosalind of Ipsworth's story. (Rosalind was Lady Gwendolyn's ladies' maid in Chivalrous.) Moved by Lady Sapphira's vision to save captives from a prison in Tripoli, Rosalind feels called to join the Crusade along with a throng of other men, women, and children. Among this multitude, is Sir Randel Penigree, who was raised to serve the church, but always longed to serve as a Templar knight fighting for and protecting the innocent. Rosalind and Sir Randel have a solid friendship and they partner together to train the children in combat exercises. While onboard the ship, both Rosalind and Randel find themselves the recipients of unwanted attention. Randel trying to fend off the vain Lady Jocelyn and Rosalind attempting to dissuade Lord Rumsford. To ward off the attention, Rosalind and Randel agree to pretend to be courting to keep the unwanted suitors at bay. Will their charade cross over from being pretend to real?
Rosalind and Randel are similar in the fact that both are trying to overcome sins from their past. Over the course of the story, both of them realize that they must embrace the future and not attempt to earn their redemption.
Their motto throughout is "forward ever forward."
One aspect that truly impressed me was the maturity of the children and young adults. During this time period young people didn't have much of a childhood if any and had to grow up quickly. It was not uncommon for girls to be married as young as 15. In today's society we would balk at this, but back then the mortality rate was higher. It was sweet to see how both Rosalind and Randel developed paternal feelings for the younger children who were in their charge on the crusade. In my eyes, this trait endeared them to me.
Courageous was an excellent conclusion to Ms. Sleiman's Valiant Hearts series and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If strong, unforgettable heroines appeal to you, then I urge you to check out this series.
*Courageous was provided to me by Bethany House Publishers in return for my honest review.