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The Sunne In Splendour

The Sunne in Splendour - Sharon Kay Penman

Author: Sharon Kay Penman

Rating:  6 /5 stars !!!!!!


Book Blurb: In this triumphant combination of scholarship and storytelling, Sharon Kay Penman redeems Richard III—vilified as the bitter, twisted, scheming hunchback who murdered his nephews, the princes in the Tower—from his maligned place in history.

Born into the treacherous courts of fifteenth-century England, in the midst of what history has called The War of the Roses, Richard was raised in the shadow of his charismatic brother, King Edward IV. Loyal to his friends and passionately in love with the one woman who was denied him, Richard emerges as a gifted man far more sinned against than sinning.


You have to understand that when I finished Here Be Dragons- the first book Sharon Kay Penman wrote in the Welsh Trilogy - I read everywhere that  Splendour was her masterpiece. But I thought, no way did she write a book better than Dragons.


I stand corrected.


I loved Here be Dragons and that is still a 5 star read. But this book - WOW. 


I knew little of the War of the Roses. But I now understand the fascination with this period of time. I even recognize the many plotlines of rather famous movies and fantasy series that's I've read and/or watched who seem to have borrowed or been inspired by this period of history.


Richard is a fascinatingly complex character - and one that has been slandered over the years. Penman takes up the task of setting the record straight and going so far as to explain how this slander came to be. 


I read this book over a few months and grew attached to many of the characters. Anne and Richard were probably my favorite. Their love story was a great center of the story and gave me something to root for amidst the chaos that was this family. There was  Richard's brother Ned - King for most of the book and whom I didn't like but Penman makes him so human you understand him.  Penman attempts to explain inexcusable decisions by this man and dang if you don't buy it. There was Elizabeth Woodville, his wife - argh -  that woman! As much as I loathed her, I ended the book wanting to read more about her. I think I will seek out some reading to learn more about her.  The mystery of the Princes in the Tower was one I had heard of - but now that I understand the facts surrounding what happened, only feel sadness at the tragedy.  The changing alliances every. other. page. left me feeling that being born royalty was no privilege. You never knew who to trust. There could be no peace or contentment. 


Penman is a masterful storyteller, sticking close to history yet filling in the gaps in a way that made these historical figures seem relatable and human. Family loyalty, honor, love, family squabbles - it all rang true. 


I HIGHLY recommend this book. It is one of the best books I have ever read.