Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"courageous" by dina l. sleiman

Journey from medieval England to the Holy Land with a group of men, women, and children in Courageous.

Will They Trust God's Call Even When It Leads to the Most Unexpected Places?

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'll gladly give herself to the cause, as she's haunted by a tragic mistake and feels she no longer deserves such joys as marriage and family might bring.

Sir Randel Penigree was reared to serve in the church but has always dreamt of protecting the innocent as a Templar 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 adolescents. When faced with political intrigue and an unknown enemy bent on their destruction, they are forced to reconsider their priorities and the very nature of the God they serve.

In Courageous, author Dina L. Sleiman returns readers to the medieval England setting of her previous novels ... briefly. However, most of the story takes place on a journey to the Holy Land—a journey precipitated by a teen girl's vision. This setting is one I've never read about before; in fact, I've never spent much time thinking about the Crusades (aside from minimal facts memorized for high school history tests), so I enjoyed seeing a crusade through the eyes of participants.

Rosalind, Randel, and Lady Sapphira make great protagonists that the reader will cheer for, and I found each of their journeys to be entertaining and insightful.

In Chivalrous, the previous novel in the series, Rosalind made a terrible mistake that she hopes to atone for by joining the crusade. Randel also highly regrets an action from his past, and for a large portion of the novel, those mistakes continue to haunt them. In fact, the memory of and penance for those mistakes serve to keep them apart, even though they clearly love one another. It's only once they each come to embrace the truth of God's forgiveness that they can move forward together.

Lady Sapphira believes God has called those who joined the journey to "free the captives." Her assumption is that God means for them to free those, including her brother-in-law, who were captured during previous crusades. She comes to realize that God may have had a different reason for sending them to the Holy Land and that "free the captives" means something other than what she assumed, and I especially enjoyed watching her faith grow as she encountered trials and opposition.

While I very much appreciated the themes of redemption and forgiveness that were woven throughout the novel, something about the plot just didn't grab me in the way the two previous novels did, and I struggled to finish the book. I'm glad I did push through, though, as the epilogue nicely ties together the storylines from all three of the Valiant Hearts novels and left me with a feeling of completion. 3-1/2 stars.

Note: While Rosalind does begin her journey in Chivalrous, those who have not read the novel should be able to follow along with Courageous from the beginning. I would definitely recommend reading the first two Valiant Hearts books first, though, simply because they're so good!

Buy the book.
Read an excerpt.
Download discussion questions.
Read my reviews of Dauntless (4-1/2 stars) and Chivalrous (4 stars).

Dina L. Sleiman holds an MA in professional writing from Regent University and a BA in communications with a minor in English from Oral Roberts University. Over the past eighteen years, she has had opportunities to teach college writing and literature, as well as high school and elementary classes in English, humanities, and fine arts. She lives in Virginia with her husband and three children. She can be found online at

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. Sounds like this one has a really interesting setting and backdrop. I'm not usually a fan of "ancient" trips into history, but in all likelihood I will read this one... you know, someday (because intimidating TBR!). ;)

    1. Oh, you know I get the intimidating TBR thing :-) I definitely enjoyed the other two books in the series more than this one, but it was still good--and a different perspective than normal. Hope you enjoy it if you ever get to it :-)


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