"A Place Beyond Courage" Review

"A Place Beyond Courage"
by Elizabeth Chadwick

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Release Date: Sep 1, 2012
Source: ARC sent by publisher

My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:
The early twelfth century is a time for ambitious men to prosper, and royal servant John FitzGilbert is one of them. But when the old king dies and his successor is appointed, John faces a terrible choice: he must join the rival faction-his enemies- or risk losing everything. His new wife helps him carry his burden, but his final choice will seal not only her fate, but those of his young children.
As the fight for England's crown enters a new phase, John may be forced to make a terrible sacrifice...

My Review:

I prefer the rose-tinted glasses of historical romance over historical fiction, so this book wasn't really for me. The first book that I read by this author, For the King's Favor, was such a beautiful romance, that I thought all of the author's books would read that way. However, after many more chances that I've given the author, I've found that her books are true to the historical fiction norm of gritty realism instead of soft, sweet romance. While For the King's Favor will remain on my favorites shelf, I think this will be the last book I read by the author. I do not deny her fantastic skill as a writer, but her books are not for me. I will leave them to historical fiction fans and stop trying to make them into what they are not: historical romance.

The author's attention to detail is amazing, she really makes the reader feel like they are at medieval court. She uses a special method of transporting herself to the time period mentally, and savoring the feelings of the characters, and sensing her surroundings. (read about Akashic Records here) Whether or not you believe this type of telepathy has actually worked or not, she does a great job of describing things and people as if she were there.

John was just so abrasive and unlikable from the very beginning. His ambition outweighed all else. I thought his job as the coordinator of the court prostitutes was distasteful to read about instead of intriguing as it seemed to be intended.

Fans of William Marshal, from the author's arguably most popular book, The Greatest Knight, will definitely feel like they need to read this book. It's almost like the Marshal saga comes full circle, as readers can finally see him as a child.

Main Characters: 3/5
Supporting Characters: 3/5
Setting: 4/5

Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 3/5
Cover: 3/5
Writing: 5/5

Bottom Line: Another vastly detailed look at medieval court, this is definitely a book for fans of historical fiction and the author's previous work.

If you are interested in reading about this author's other books, I have reviewed a few others on my blog:

"For the King's Favor" (my favorite by the author)


  1. Alas, not a book for me I'm afraid, much too historically steeped....but thanks for sharing! You never know where your next read will come from. Happy reading!

  2. Sorry it didn't work for you, especially since you loved the previous book so much.

    It doesn't sound like my kind of book either even though I can take darker writing more than you.

    As you know I'm not a huge fan of HR, so it can't be too steeped in the historical. I guess that defeats the purpose but what can I say lol

  3. You should try some of her earlier books, but even if they had more romance they were still dark

  4. You know I never really thought about the difference between historical romance and historical fiction. Sometimes historical fiction isn't so... unrosie. I prefer those.

  5. I'm sorry that in the end this author turned out to be not for you, but I totally get you! I much prefer historical romance to historical fiction (I infact kind of avoid the latter). Things are just better with Romance in them.


Thanks so much for your lovely comments!