Another WINNING piece of historical fiction! Awarded 5 stars on Goodreads.
Let me acknowledge up front that historical fiction is my favorite genre, especially novels that take me to medieval England. That said, A PLACE BEYOND COURAGE was a total delight.
Author Elizabeth Chadwick has done a masterful job transporting me back to the time of King Henry I and the trials and tribulations of his daughter, the Empress Matilda and her quest to sit on the throne. This novel is a prequel to Chadwick’s series about William Marshal, telling the story of William’s father, John FitzGilbert.
John is a trusted member of Henry I’s court with important responsibilities as his Marshall. He is also an ambitious knight whose strategic skills are tested after Henry’s death, when Matilda and her cousin Stephen of Blois fight for 10 years over who has the right to rule. With allegiances shifting back and forth, John must repeatedly weigh his options to determine how best to protect his lands and family. And that’s just what he does, through two marriages and the gains and losses of assorted holdings.
But unlike other novels about this era, this one doesn’t get too bogged down in battle details. Instead, Chadwick keeps the focus on the stories of people, and therefore held my interest throughout.
More about Elizabeth Chadwick, one of my favorite historical fiction writers.
You might be interested in my reviews of her wonderful three-novel series on Eleanor of Aquitaine: