#3: Courageous  -     By: Dina L. Sleiman
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#3: Courageous

Bethany House / 2016 / Paperback

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In Courageous, Book #3 in the Valiant Hearts Series by Dina L. Sleiman, Rosalind inspired by Lady Sepphira's visions joins a group of men, women, and children as a defender of the cross, seeking to free captives from prisons near Tripoli. Convinced that marriage isn't in her future, Rosalind is determined to stick to her cause and help train and protect a group of adolescents with her friend Sir Randel Penigree. Sir Randel was raised to serve in the church, but dreams of protecting the innocent as a knight and 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.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 368
Vendor: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0764213148
ISBN-13: 9780764213144
Ages: 14-17
Series: Valiant Hearts

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Publisher's Description

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.

Author Bio

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. She is the author of the Valiant Hearts trilogy, which includes Dauntless, winner of the 2016 Carol Award for Young Adult Fiction. 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 www.dinasleiman.com.

Product Reviews

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  1. Canada
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Exciting conclusion to a wonderful series
    September 30, 2016
    KavR
    Canada
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Book Three of the Valiant Hearts series and I'll admit to feeling forlorn now that the series is complete. I've really enjoyed these Medieval tales of adventure and romance. You don't need to have read the first two books in order to enjoy this one, though Rosalind played a prominent secondary role in Chivalrous, where we left her in a bad spot. So I am all kinds of thrilled over getting to share her journey in this book. And what a journey it is!

    The Crusades is such a confusing and fascinating period in history and I think Sleiman did justice to this era. Her Historical Notes explain her connection with this part of the world and includes some interesting observations. And it certainly provides a tumultuous backdrop for a novel!

    Rosalind is an unusual woman. A lady's maid, trained as a soldier. She can wield a sword and shoot an arrow as well as any man. And she has a heart for the Lord, but can't quite fully accept His gift of grace. Desperate to make amends for past mistakes, she tries to prove her worth through her actions. She understands the concept of divine forgiveness but though she can apply it to others, she can't accept it for herself. Such an inspiring and exhilarating faith journey -- well worth the read.

    I fell for Randel pretty quickly. I mean, seriously, a knight in shining armor -- what's not to love? He's fiercely protective, committed to the cause...and Rosalind. But he also has demons from his past to conquer. The kind that keep him at arms length from the woman he is developing deep feelings for. I do so love a tortured hero caught in an impossible love story!

    And then there's treachery from within and threats from without. Not exactly a conducive backdrop for romance. Angst and action ensue as the story unfolds. Breathtaking and heart-tugging -- an exciting conclusion to a wonderful series.
  2. 4 Stars Out Of 5
    Awesome Historical Fiction
    September 28, 2016
    EmilyAnne28
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Haunted by their past mistakes and hoping to make penance, Rosalind and Randel join a group of men, women, and children on a crusade to the Holy Lands. While on the ship, Rosalind and Randel find themselves partnering to train and care for the small group of children on the crusade. Their friendship grows ever closer, and Randel and Rosalind soon agree to pretend to court each other to discourage the other single adults on the journey. But the dangers of falling in love are nothing compared to what awaits them in the Holy Land.

    Courageous is the third book in the Valiant Hearts Series by Dina Sleiman. Though some of the characters are the same as in previous books, it is largely a standalone featuring a new journey, setting, and romance. And did I mention women and children warriors? The setting takes the characters to the Holy Land in the Middle East, and it is fraught with war, political stress, and religious differences as it continues to be in the present. Sometimes, there is no way to know who is really on your side.

    The themes were the most memorable parts of this story. One major theme was guilt and its effects. Both the main characters were wracked with guilt over the things they had done, but they refused to forgive themselves of it or seek God for forgiveness. And since they both had guilt, they could better understand and help each other through it. Another theme worth mentioning centered on religious differences. There is some controversy over whether the crusades should have ever been fought, since todays society teaches religious tolerance and since some of the wars were so needlessly brutal. Courageous touches on these topics and creates an acceptable compromise through the characters actions; they learned to work with the Muslims and respect and befriend them even in their differences.

    Courageous was a fascinating adventure with memorable characters and epic plot twists! I recommend it to readers of YA historical fiction.

    I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
  3. California
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    2 Stars Out Of 5
    Very Boring!
    September 5, 2016
    Sqwiggles
    California
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    This book was a disappointment for me. I did not realize it was in a series until I started reading it. It was really confusing at first and I had no clue what was going on. There were so many previous story lines and characters mentioned I felt lost. It took forever for me to remember names because there were so many characters in the book. It was also really confusing because the book was from 3 different perspectives: Sapphira, Rosalind, and Randel. That was confusing as well because I was under the impression that the book was about Rosalind. The book was very boring. I had to force myself to read it and finish it, which is why it took me so long to read it. I could not get into it. Towards the end the plot became slightly more interesting. I also liked the twist a the end of the book when you find out who wanted to get revenge on Randel. I was not expecting that, but it did not redeem the book for me. Overall, I did not care for the book and I would not recommend it. If anyone is interested in it I suggest you start with the first book in the series.

    I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review.
  4. Carthage, MO
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    A Medieval Tale of Crusaders
    September 4, 2016
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage
    Carthage, MO
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    My Thoughts:

    This one started slow for me. There is a lot of set up, a lot of learning about characters and the situations of their past. Even though I wasn't immediately drawn into the book, I persevered for a couple of reasons. First it was a review book. I had to read it. Second I had read CHIVALROUS her last medieval novel. I knew she is a good writer. When I got to page 142, I started getting interested. Things started happening. By the time I passed page 200, I had to finish it. ~smile~ Truthfully, a lot of books are like that for me. Oh, there are 358 pages in all if you're wondering.

    Once in, I was all in. What began as an agreement of convenience, grew into a true friendship for Randel and Rosalind. Together they worked through terrible circumstances and came out of it stronger. I had spent the first couple hundred pages getting to know the characters, so it was interesting to watch them meet new situations, form relationships, and engage the enemy.

    Themes were forgiveness, guilt, repentance and freedom from the past mistakes and sins. There was also an emphasis on truly knowing and experiencing God rather than just knowing about Him.

    Disclosure: I was sent a sample of this product for review purposes only. I was not compensated in any way. All opinions are my own based on my experience with this product. 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."
  5. 4 Stars Out Of 5
    Courageous
    August 30, 2016
    George
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    I always thought historical novels are the most difficult to write. The author has to deal with all the routine aspects of a novel such as plot, pace, characterization, prose, in addition to all the historical details he or she has to get right. Theres always a history buff out there who will complain On page 258, there is a historical mistake.

    But the author didnt make many mistakes in the historical novel Courageous the story of a crusade to the Holy Land by men, women and children. Both of the main characters are admirable and both carry a secret. The pilgrimage is besieged with troubles, fights, Muslim attackers, and machinations that would make Machiavelli shake his head. Plus there is a would-be assassin who wants to kill Sir Randel Penigree. The author skillfully weaves the plot and subplots together and makes a very intriguing novel. One of the major difficulties in a historical novel is the men and women of the far-away era probably didnt speak like 21st century characters. An author has to make them sound different but realistic and here, I think, is one of strong points of the book. The reader truly believes these knights and ladies are of the Middle Ages yet they are real and deal with problems we might face today, or at least modern readers will understand the problems these characters struggle with.

    Thought there were two minor problems with the novel. First, was the pace. The travelers go slowly and sometimes it seems the book does too. Second, the characters sound a bit too much like each other. In that sense, the characters come alive for the reader but are not always distinctive.

    But even with those two flaws and other readers might disagree this is a solid novel that I think readers will enjoy.
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