A Place Beyond Courage

A Place Beyond Courage  - Elizabeth Chadwick Add another author to my tbr list. I did enjoy this book but I found myself continually comparing it with [b:When Christ and His Saints Slept|43841|When Christ and His Saints Slept (Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine, #1)|Sharon Kay Penman|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1333577582s/43841.jpg|6417933]. It was a close race but Penman narrowly edged out Chadwick.

This book is the first in a series about William Marshal. William doesn't make an appearance in this book until later but it didn't bother me as much as something like that normally would. I enjoyed getting to know William's father John FitzGilbert along with his mother Sybilla (I love that name! If I were thinking I needed any more girls in my house.....). I understand why the author needed to include Aline in the story, however, it was an unfortunate necessity. If ever there were two women more different, it was Aline and Sybilla. I mentioned previous I was pleased with the way the author addressed the marriage between John and Aline. When John proposed marriage to Aline, at the time it was a good fit. Aline did provide John with sons but I never got the impression she was really his wife. Part of the reason I enjoyed the discord in their marriage was because it seemed authentic to me. I get rather annoyed with all of the historical fictions that implies marriages during this period in history were all love at first sight stories with happy endings. That really wasn't the case among members of elite society. Marriages were made to form alliance, gain land/wealth, and produce sons. If you happened to love your spouse it was seen as a bonus. Does this mean I hated when John married Sybilla and immediately hit it off with her? No. The transition from having a wife who knew who duty to having a wife who was capable of being a partner was well done. Five children in ten years seems to be a sign of a "good" marriage. Some might argue there were women who had five children in five years of marriage but you have to consider the amount of time John spent away fighting for the Empress and Henry.

I look forward to continuing the story of William Marshal. In addition to William Marshal, I look forward to reading Chadwick's other novels about the era. It seems there are quite a few novels out there by Chadwick. I should be entertained for quite some time. I'd hate for my tbr list to start shrinking.