Monday, November 14, 2011

The Sunne in Splendour

The Sunne in Splendour: "A fascinating portrait of the controversial King Richard III--a monarch betrayed in life by his allies and betrayed in death by history." by Sharon Kay Penman. 1982. 944 pages.

First sentence: Richard did not become frightened until darkness began to settle over the woods.

The Sunne in Splendour is one of the best books I read all year. I started it in July and finished in October: I loved almost every minute of it. This historical novel is just a wonderful, wonderful read. Is it for every reader? At over 900 pages? Probably not. But ANY reader who loves historical fiction, this book is a true must read.

So this novel is about the man who became Richard III. The novel follows him through the decades of his life. And it was quite a dangerous life because of who he was, who his family was. He was of the House of York. And Richard lost many, many family members during the war- for the throne. His brother was Edward IV--and he fought more than once for the throne, for the kingdom. And Richard was always loyal to his brother. Even when he thought his brother was making a few too many mistakes. Still, the two were surrounded by enough traitors, enough men who were ambitious and unwise.

If you're looking for historical romance--and ONLY historical romance--then The Sunne in Splendour might not be the best match for you. If you like historical fiction that has it all--a little politics, a little action, a little romance, a little mystery, a little drama--in other words a lot of life--than The Sunne in Splendour may just be for you.

I loved just about everything in The Sunne in Splendour. I thought the characterization was excellent. Penman did a great job in bringing these historical figures to life. And while there were many, many characters to follow, I wasn't overwhelmed. Same with the descriptions. Yes, the book is detailed, and yes, the book is descriptive, but I wasn't bored. The story, the characters, were just fascinating. Which is saying something since  the ending won't be surprise to many! I loved seeing the different perspectives as well. This isn't only Richard's story. Though it is definitely told sympathetically towards Richard.

The Sunne in Splendour was one of those books I finished and knew that I would want to reread again (and again).

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

8 comments:

Mehdi Jamei 5:12 PM  

Hi Becky, Thank you for the great review. I am a fan of Historical novels and I will definitely look into this book.
I have also started a book review blog and would appreciate if you share my blog link in your blog. It's http://mehdijamei.com and I have added two reviews so far: "The Gospel According to Jesus Christ" and "East of Eden".

Lisa 9:26 PM  

Thanks for sharing this one. I like historical fiction a lot but sometimes when there's too much romanance it ruins it for me. I think I will check it out.

Melissa (Avid Reader) 12:55 PM  

I'm so glad you posted about this. Someone gave me this for Christmas last year, but something about the cover made me think I wouldn't like it, so I neve read it. It sounds like I would probably love it.

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic 1:22 AM  

Unfortunately I have commitment issues and can't possibly commit to a 900 page book. I'll keep it in the back of my mind though.

Kailana 11:45 AM  

I loved this book! I really want to read more from her, but just haven't worked her in...

Hillbilly Tonya 8:12 AM  

I am putting it on my reading list. Thank you!

Marg 12:51 AM  

This was my first Sharon K Penman book and I loved it so much that I became an instant fan! I haven't read her last couple of books. I need to get back to her!

Caitlin 9:22 AM  

Hi Becky, I love how you review books! This is a great book (I'm a sucker for all things written by Sharon Kay Penman). I agree - it is certainly worth a reread!

Check out my blog where I have a shout-out to Penman too!

whatireadlbog.tumblr.com

Looking forward to getting some more ideas for my up-and-coming reads from you!

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I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
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I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
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  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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