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I like to read classics, historical fiction and world lit. Oh and I love short stories.


A Place Beyond Courage (Elizabeth Chadwick)

A Place Beyond Courage - Elizabeth Chadwick

I decided to pick up one of Chadwick's books after reading so much about her excellent knowledge of the period. Some good and accurate historical fiction was long overdue. I set my mind on one of the William Marshal books, because that promised to be kick-ass (he was the Greatest Knight Who Ever Lived, what else are you supposed to do with an historical figure like that...).


But if you're looking for some serious political or military drama, this is not the book for you. Instead, the story revolves around John's marital problems and him as a family man. Sadly, even in that respect the story and the characters fell flat. There is little tension in the story. Not once was I gripped about how the characters would make it out of a difficult situation - they were in one, but they had a plan, it worked, and they were in the clear again.


His first wife, Aline is depicted as a weak, incapable woman who can't do anything right - not the house work, not the sex, she's even a bad mother. His second wife is the exact opposite and his True Love. John's motivations are unclear, he has no goals and he just stumbles upon his True Love. If this is supposed to be a love story, wouldn't there be some difficulty in achieving it? I can't even begin to explain how infuriatingly boring and flat the characters are.

(show spoiler)

Chadwick's research and depiction of the period proved to be impeccable. She did an absolutely wonderful job in that respect. Hence why I give the book two stars instead of one. It's a definite 5 star book when it comes to depicting the period. Yet, the story and the characters are as flat as a pancake. I feel she could have done so much more with the characters and the historical events. A pity of all the research done...