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 said...

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 said...

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) said...

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 said...

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 said...

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

Miss Hillbilly said...

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

Marg said...

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 said...

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!