A Courageous Conclusion to Valiant Hearts [Review]

With just the right mix of action, romance, and a plausible historical setting, Sleiman brings the Crusades to life in her latest historical novel, Courageous!

© 2016 Bethany House
Title: Courageous [Valiant Hearts #3]
Author: Dina L. Sleiman
Published: 2016 by Bethany House

About the Book:
Will they trust God's call even when it leads to unexpected places?

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.

The Artist Librarian's Reivew:
Dina Sleiman's latest historical, Courageous, is set in the often overlooked medieval Crusades and is solid, satisfying ending to her debut YA trilogy.  With just the right mix of action, romance, and a plausible historical setting, Sleiman brings the Crusades to life!

While Sleiman's previous novels, Dauntless and Chivalrous, were based on Robin Hood and Arthurian legends respectively, the protagonists in Courageous do not seem to have the same "legendary" connections, though I can see shades of Joan of Arc in thirteen year-old Sapphira.  Regardless, I enjoyed getting to know Rosalind and Randal (both first introduced in Chivalrous), along with their motley band of young charges.

I admit, I wasn't initially enthusiastic to hear that this novel was set during the Crusades --what some would argue to be a low or dark point in Christianity.  However, Sleiman's even-handed approach and obvious research won me over.  The "Christians" had many reasons for going on crusades --some with religious sincerity, some for financial or political profit, etc.  Likewise the different Muslim sects and attitudes towards the European Crusaders are carefully and respectfully portrayed.  By no means is either exhaustive or perfect, but I appreciated that Sleiman tried not to fall into stereotyping the Christian crusaders or Muslim people, but sought to give readers a peek into the complexities and challenges cultural differences can make.  I was so impressed with this handling that it makes me want to check out Sleiman's 2013 contemporary novel, Dance from Deep Within, which centers around three college classmates (one secular, one Christian, and one Muslim).

I've really enjoyed Sleiman's Valiant Hearts series and am eagerly looking forward to her next projects!  Sleiman would definitely be one of my top recommendations for teens and adults alike looking for Christian YA historicals.

[Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the author for review purposes.]

The Artist Librarian's review of Dauntless
The Artist Librarian's review of Chivalrous

Is there a book that you initially weren't too excited about, but changed your mind once you started reading it?  Let me know in the comments!

About the Author:
Dina Sleiman writes stories of passion and grace. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Check out her novels Dance from Deep Within, Dance of the Dandelion, and Love in Three-Quarter Time. Also look for her Valiant Hearts adventure/romance books, Dauntless and Chivalrous, with Bethany House Publishers. For more info visit her at http://dinasleiman.com/


  1. Great review! This series is on my TBR list and I'm looking forward to reading it!

    1. Hope you enjoy it when you get to it! I can't wait to see what Dina writes next. =)


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts! Comments are always welcomed and appreciated.

Popular Posts