Dina L. Sleiman continues her young adult series with a story about a young woman who is inspired to join a crusade. Dauntless and Chivalrous, earlier books in this series, were reviewed in Christian Library Journal and on this blog in May/June 2015 and November/December 2015.
In Courageous, Rosalind of Ipsworth joins a crusade to free captives from a Tripoli prison. Haunted by a mistake in her past, Rosalind feels she is unworthy to even consider marriage and a family. She is joined by Sir Randel Penigree, who dreams of becoming a Templar knight, even though he flees humiliation at home. Together they train a group of older children, are faced with political intrigue and an unknown enemy, on their journey to set prisoners free. Will they find redemption from their past? Will they be successful in their attempt to rescue the prisoners?
Both plot and character driven, Courageous is another Middle Ages novel from Sleiman, with strong female characters. The author handles the crusades with sensitivity and detailed research. She also touches on the tenets of a different belief system as Rosalind befriends a Muslim woman, giving the reader some insight into her culture. Redemption and forgiveness are strong themes in this book. Faith elements are strong but not overpowering.
Her main characters (who were secondary characters from her earlier books) are realistic and flawed, carrying burdens of guilt over their past, struggling to accept forgiveness. The author provides enough backstory for the reader to understand past actions. The book’s epilogue concludes the series with updates from the other books.
Recommended for public libraries and school libraries. Fans of medieval young adult books by Melanie Dickerson and Lisa Bergren will enjoy this series.
Carol R. Gehringer