Meet a crusader and a knight in
Medieval YA Romance
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.
Introducing Rosalind & Randel
Brief physical description
Rosalind is a stunner, slender with long dark hair, pale skin, and bright blue eyes. Meanwhile, Randel is one of those guys who might just blend into a crowd of soldiers, but when you really stop and look at him, he’s quite appealing with his warm brown eyes and crooked smile.
For Rosalind, Katie McGrath from the BBC’s Merlin.
And for Randel, actor Michael Socha from Once Upon a Time.
Strengths and weaknesses
Rosalind has two sides. There is the playful, spunky Rosalind we all met and loved in book 2 of the series, Chivalrous. She’s faithful to friends and family, and incredibly responsible, while still finding ample opportunity for fun and adventure. However Rosalind has a passionate side that sometimes gets her into trouble. Towards the end of book 2 and early in book 3, she’s haunted by a tragic mistake she made, but the lively Rosalind very quickly resurfaces and remains present for most Courageous as she seeks redemption on a crusade.
Randel is laid back and intelligent, yet he’s always had this longing to be a knight that doesn’t readily fit with his personality. Because of this, his parents are against the path he’s taken and want him to join the church as a priest. His main weakness is that he’s a gentle, feeling person, which is only a weakness because he’s a soldier, but it’s that same caring nature that drives him to protect others. Similar to Rosalind, he’s still recovering from a bad military experience back home in England, and he sometimes suffers from a bit of PTSD. Randel hopes to become a Templar knight, which he believes will please both him and his parents.
Quirk (if any)
Randel can be a bit…shall we say “nerdy” at times. LOL. He’s really into bird watching, and specifically obsessed with finding a Syrian serin while in the Holy Land.
Rosalind is more the girl next door, medieval version. She doesn’t really have any quirks. However she does have an uncanny ability to attract the wrong sort of men. She’d really like to figure out how to change that about herself.
Your inspiration for the character
Rosalind and Randel were both characters in Chivalrous. I wanted Rosalind to present a foil to my big, blonde, tomboyish Gwendolyn. So she mostly evolved to fit that role. Rosalind offers a more typically feminine point of view and helps to guide Gwendolyn in discovering her own femininity. She’s the most girly of my Valiant Hearts heroines so far, and she even loves beautiful clothes, make up, and fancy hairstyles. On the other hand, she learns to protect herself and to fight for what she wants from Gwendolyn, which helps to drive her through this crusader story.
In Chivalrous, Randel offered a backup love interest for Gwendolyn when it looked like everything was falling apart. She thinks of him as a gawky, awkward teenaged boy, until she looks at him with fresh eyes and discovers a man who’s kind, considerate, and quite handsome. I would say the inspiration for Randel is all of those awesome guys who get overlooked in high school but end up making the best husbands. Actually, that was the only role I had planned for Randel in the beginning, but then I fell in love with him and decided to make him the hero of book 3.
Background to the story
Based on the general Valiant Hearts premise of placing female characters in legendary medieval roles, Courageous is a crusader story. I was inspired by several different crusade legends, including the children’s crusades and the knights Templar. Very early in the creative process, I realized that I wanted my heroine to go on crusade in search of redemption. Next I needed to figure out what she had done that required such a drastic step. The final result was that my heroine, Rosalind of Ipsworth, made a tragic decision to abort an illegitimate child while she was still serving as Gwendolyn’s lady’s maid in Chivalrous, book 2. This made for some challenging subject matter in a series geared toward Christian teens and young women, but I believe that they want to learn about tough, real life issues from people they can trust. At least those were the sorts of issues I wanted to read about when I was a Christian teen.
Dina L. Sleiman holds an MA in professional writing from Regent University and a BA in communications with a minor in English from Oral Roberts University. Over the past eighteen years, she has had opportunities to teach college writing and literature, as well as high school and elementary classes in English, humanities, and fine arts. She lives in Virginia with her husband and three children.