Friday, October 26, 2012
A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick Review and Giveaway!
A Place Beyond Courage is the story of the Greatest Knight’s (William Marshal’s) father, John Fitzgilbert. The thing I most remembered about John from The Greatest Knight was that he once ransomed his young son William to King Stephen and then broke his word. When Stephen threatened to kill his son, John said that he had the “anvils and hammers to make more and better sons.” That is a statement that is heard to forget!
In A Place Beyond Courage, John Fitzgilbert starts off as the marshal of King Henry I. Although his father was also marshal, John won his position through a trial by hand combat. Realizing he is ready for a family, he marries Aline, a shy young neighbor girl. Aline is not well suited to John. Although they have two sons, Aline is always too shy to be out in company, to keep John company, and to take command of her home.
During this time, John has many difficult decisions to make. King Henry has died unexpectedly, with only a female heir, Matilda. Henry’s nephew, Stephen, is crowned the next king of England and John serves him as marshal. John is soon disillusioned by Stephen’s inability to be a firm leader and his followers that do not like John. He leaves Stephen’s household and throws his lot in with Matilda and her young son Henry. Part of this decision is that John must also cast aside Aline and marry feisty Sybilla. Sybilla and John become soul mates and their story is very romantic.
While reading A Place Beyond Courage, I was struck by the difficulty of the decisions that John had to make to survive and prosper during such a tumultuous time in history. He was a strong man and his toughness shown in several key scenes. There is a horrific battle scene where John was very badly hurt, but yet managed to walk miles back home. He survived sieges, battles, and more. Yet, there was a softer side of John that played out in his relationship with Sybilla and all of his children from both wives. In particular, I will admit to crying during the entire William hostage crisis. That part of the book was masterfully written. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about John and his infamous statement, but the book put it wonderfully into context of John having to stand firm, although he loved and favored his young son.
Overall, A Place Beyond Courage is another absolutely wonderful historical fiction novel from Elizabeth Chadwick. It made me cry and really feel for the characters involved in the story, as well as appreciate the history of living during that difficult time in England’s history. I highly recommend this book and Elizabeth Chadwick in general. She is a master of historical fiction.
Book Source: Review copy from Sourcebooks. Thank-you!
Sourcebooks has graciously offered a giveaway of one copy of A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick.
If you would like to win a copy of this book please leave a comment about what intrigues you about the this book.
As part of your comment, you must include an email address. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner.
For an additional entry, blog about this giveaway or post it on your sidebar. Provide a link to this post in your comment.
I will be using random.org (or a monte carlo simulation in excel) to pick the winners from the comments.
This contest is only open to US and Canadian residents (Sorry!).
No P.O. Boxes.
The deadline for entry is midnight on Friday November 2, 2012.
Please make sure to check the second week of November to see if you are a winner. I send emails to the winner but lately I have been put in their "junk mail" folder instead of their inbox.