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


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 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...

Miss Hillbilly 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!

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

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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).

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