Friday, November 12, 2010

The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman

Here I am at the computer, reaching through brain fog to way way waaaayyyy back in the past to discuss one of the best books I've read this year:  Sharon Kay Penman's The Sunne in Splendour.  Actually, I finished the book 2 weeks ago, approximately 4 hours before my water broke and Atticus was on his way.  Even though this books wasn't truly read eons ago -- I feel like it is an ancient relic of my past reading life.  In other words, this isn't going to be the most stellar review.  In fact, you can skip my inane babbling about how much I adored this book and just go read it.  Right. Now.  Go.  I'll wait here.

For those of you who would like the challenge of reading a sleep deprived review written hastily before little man calls for his midnight snack, proceed with caution.

I've mentioned before that The War of the Roses is my latest historical obsession.  Earlier this year I read Susan Higginbotham's terrific novel, The Stolen Crown, which concerns Elizabeth Woodville's sister, Katherine, and her marriage to the Duke of Buckingham.  In this novel, Richard III is portrayed as evil, greedy, and murderous -- essentially as history remembers him.  I've been wanting to read a mammoth Penman novel for some time, and I was ecstatic to hear about The Sunne in Splendour, a pro-Richard III historical novel.

To relate the plot would be daunting and if you are interested in this sort of novel you're probably already familiar with the basics of Richard III's life.  Penman is a true historian, the historical events make sense and the life of these medieval characters truly come to life.  One of my favorite aspects of The Sunne in Splendour was her attention to detail: I learned about weaponry, marriage customs, daily household activities, medicine, property laws, etc... within the pages of this novel.  I felt truly immersed in Richard III's world.

The book is large (nearly 1,000 pages) and it took me several months to complete the book, but on the whole it felt like a quick read.  I was so engrossed that reading for several hours seemed to slip by quickly.  I would "wake up" from reading and felt as if I needed to readjust myself to modern life.

So quickly, now, get thee to a bookstore or library and grab this book.  I'm certain to be asking for more Penman for Christmas.

Alright, hasty review done and baby ready for some food!


Elizabeth said...

I read this book years ago and remember really enjoying it too. I'm so impressed you are even able to do blog posts right now (and this one was just fine by the way). After my daughter's birth I think it was months before I was back to a version of normal.

Daphne said...

Penman's books are great - my all time favorite is Here Be Dragons (the first in her Welsh trilogy). I'm also impressed that you are able to think this clearly so soon after giving birth - my brain was mush for weeks!!