Because it sometimes takes a few days for reviews to be posted to amazon.uk, I decided I would go ahead and copy and paste my review here so I could get the word out about this absorbing, superb (insert more gushing here) historical novel by Elizabethe Chadwick. I can't say enough good things about it! I do believe I'm slightly (okay, rabidly) in love with John Marshal. Do yourself a favor and seek this one out at amazon.uk. You won't be sorry. I swear.
~taminator40 (Review posted below)
Elizabeth Chadwick's historical novels never fail to engage from the first word, and A Place Beyond Courage is yet another excellent example of first-rate history brought to life. The story of The Greatest Knight's father, John Marshal, A Place Beyond Courage treats us to the equally full and engaging life of a man who knew his own mind and lived his life with gusto and fortitude.
Ms. Chadwick begins her tale with John's early years as Marshal to Henry I, King of England, and follows him through the tumultuous period of warring factions for the crown after the king's death. John is shown to be very adept at achieving his goals and maintaining his own fortunes as he switches sides between Henry's daughter Matilda and Henry's nephew, Stephen; his personal life, however, leaves him feeling cold as his marriage to the mouse Aline dwindles into random meetings in the hall. Enter Sybilla, the sister of the Earl of Salisbury, and equal in fire and spirit to John; the hapless Aline is set aside as a love of deep understanding and desire develops between the two. Chadwick does an outstanding job of balancing the romantic aspect with the historical; never once does the novel steep into the vein of overblown romance as she shows the commitment between the two.
Following the steps of John Marshal through history is as well-told by Chadwick as it can possibly be. As I finished the predecessor to this novel, The Scarlet Lion, I'd thought I loved William Marshal. If that was the case, I'm now in love with John Marshal. Don't miss out on one of the best historical novels I've read in a very long time. It just doesn't get better than this.