Courageous (Valiant Heart series #3)
Author: Dina L. Sleiman
Genre: YA, Christian, Historical Fiction,
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: 2016
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Valiant Hearts: Where Adventure and Romance Meet
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 gladly gives herself to the cause, as she's haunted by a tragic mistake and no longer deserves such joys as marriage and family might bring.
Sir Randel Penigree was reared to serve in the church, but dreams of protecting the innocent as a 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 young adolescents. When they face political machinations, danger, and an unknown enemy bent on their destruction, they are forced to reconsider their priorities and the very nature of the God they serve.
My Review: Rosalind has sworn an oath to join the Crusade. Among the men, women, and children going is her best friend, Sir Randel. Sir Randel has decided to go so that he can start on his journey to become a Templar Knight. Both Rosalind and Sir Randel train and protect the young adolescents that have become a part of the Crusade. As danger looms near, both Rosalind and Sir Randel find themselves drawn to each other. Can the two forgive their past mistakes and let love in their hearts?
I was happy that Rosalind was given her own story! She was a tragic figure in Chivalrous, and I wanted to see her have a happy ending. After the act that she committed in the previous book, Rosalind is full of self-loathing and regret. She doesn’t feel she is worthy of love. Yet, while Rosalind may not yet love herself, she loves those around her. She wants to protect the young women from making the same mistakes as she. Rosalind was a very sympathetic figure, and I loved watching her come to terms with herself.
Randel was a good hero for Rosalind. He also has a tragic past that haunts him. He is also full of self-loathing. He hopes to find redemption for his past mistakes. I also like how Randel was a conflicted character. He had to make tough choices to either follow his family wishes so he wouldn’t be disowned or to follow his own path. Thus, Randel had to trust in God to help him make the right decision.
I really loved the relationship between Randel and Rosalind. They were a perfect match for each other. They started out as friends. Eventually, their friendship deepened into something more. They truly understood and loved each other. Both of them have been haunted by their sins, and are constantly searching for redemption. They both feel that they are unworthy of love. Yet, it is because of their sins that they are able to love each other and forgive themselves. They are able to see God’s love and that they are worthy of happiness, too. Thus, out of the Valiant Hearts series, I thought that they were the most interesting couple.
Overall, this book is about loss, regret, redemption, and forgiveness. The message of the book is to love yourself. Courageous was a darker story than the two previous novels, which were very light and fun. Because of the characters and the Crusade setting, this was a more mature novel. Thus, this book is more suited to teenagers sixteen and up. I also thought the setting was perfect for these two characters. They were looking for healing amidst the backdrop of a violent war. This helped make a compelling love story. The only thing I did not like about this book was the switching of the points of view from, Rosalind, Randel, Sapphira, the girl and who inspired the Crusade, and the villain. This was a bit confusing for me, and I would have liked it only from Rosalind and Randel’s perspectives. Also, while Courageous can be read as a standalone, I suggest that you read Chivalrous first to understand the background story for the two main protagonists. Still, Courageous was an excellent conclusion to Valiant Hearts, and it was a great pleasure to read this series! If you love Melanie Dickerson, Jody Hedlund, and Tamara Leigh, I urge you to read Dauntless, the first book in Valiant Hearts, for you definitely do not want to miss out on this series!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars