I’m glad whenever positive initial impression that I’ve got from reading the first 20-30 pages of book is sustained throughout its length onto the lasI’m glad whenever positive initial impression that I’ve got from reading the first 20-30 pages of book is sustained throughout its length onto the last pages, such as the case with this book.
I know what I want and I know what I seek when I’ve come across a mention about this book amongst the Tumblr community of “The War of the Roses” enthusiasts, and then spent a considerable amount of time, effort, and my (googling *ahem*) research skill in scourging the net freebies zone for its digital version (seeing that it was out of prints everywhere since yesteryear, being that it was published in the 1980s and apparently not very popular). What I want and what I tirelessly seek was a properly written and properly detailed historical fiction concerning the subject of 2 interesting and colorful individuals of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York who each represents the 2 warring sides of House Lancaster and House York and also who ended the decades of bloodied feud for the throne of England with their union and their coronation as the King and Queen of England after the end of The War of the Roses.
What makes them so interesting to me and what makes them to be such an interesting subject to write for was that their political marriage (between two people that are taught to suspect and resent their each opposing House, nonetheless) eventually transforms into a love match and a loving and great marriage (not to mention faithful, which was considerably a rarity in those days) throughout the 17 years they were together as the ruler of 15th century England (also apparently a great one in that aspect, seeing that they manages to bring back England towards its former glory, return political stability to the nation, restore the royal coffer, improve trades and mend its losses which caused by the wars).
Here’s an excerpt of their marriage from “Henry VII : The Winter King” by Thomas Penn:
"(In 1503) the royal household moved to the Tower, where Elizabeth was to give birth. She went into confinement, surrounded by her ladies and gentlewomen. But it was a traumatic and premature labor. With a raging temperature, she slipped in and out of consciousness. Henry was beside himself. Messengers rode through the night to summon specialists, but nothing worked. The 11th of February 1503, her 37th birthday, Elizabeth died. Their marriage had been one of genuine love, and Henry was shattered by her loss (…) Without his wife, the very foundations of his reign were shaken. Usually so inscrutable, Henry’s reaction to Elizabeth’s death was one of complete physical collapse. Retreating into the depths of Richmond, he came close to death. But when he emerged six weeks later, the mask was back in place, and his drive for control was even more remorseless. The cornerstones of his reign - his wife and heir - were gone, and Henry’s crown was more at risk than ever. (…) Increasingly ill, suspicious and unable to trust people, Henry saw conspiracy at every turn. But his resolve was unshakeable. He would hang on to the crown, whatever the cost."
Also this :
“The news of Arthur’s death caused Henry VII to break down in grief, as much in fear for his dynasty as mourning for his son. It is a testament to his love for Elizabeth – and her love for him – in the fact that she comforted him, telling him that he was the only child of his mother but had survived to become King, that God had left him with a son and two daughters and that they were both young enough to have more children” - Arlene Okerlund: Elizabeth of York, (2009).
Now you see why they are giving me the FEELSSSSS!??? Their entire history was built like an epic love story ala Han – Leia, Jack – Rose, Pinky and the Brain etc etc. CMON PEOPLE!! THEY NEED A BOOK! A MINISERIES! SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE!
Okay, back to this book: Yeah, I really, really LIKE it! It’s well written and well worth reading if you are particularly interested in the subject. It basically covered the childhood of Henry VII where he was consistently living in the shadow of danger inside the Plantagenet’s rule, his escape for safety towards the duchy of Brittany with his uncle Jasper Tudor, his return to England and his victory in the battle of Bosworth which ended with the death of current ruler, Richard III, His introduction and courting and marriage to Elizabeth and it (unfortunately) ended shortly after the birth of their first son Prince Arthur and the coronation of Elizabeth of York as His Queen.
The writing is sharp, the characterizations are as canon as they get to known historical accounts, there are surprisingly a lot of subtly yet cleverly inserted humors found scattered alongside the story and never failed in making me chuckles (seriously, it’s great), and what I really dig was that Henry VII and Elizabeth’s romance is really built up well and always keeping up with both established characters. Pity it’s only 300 something pages long though and not as much of Elizabeth of York as I would like.
I would love if somewhere in the future Roberta Gellis would release 900 pages of the “Author Cut” version of this book. A girl could dream, right! ...more
I’ve only just start knowing the subject of “The Wars of the Roses” while watching the recently aired BBC miniseries “The White Queen”. The miniseriesI’ve only just start knowing the subject of “The Wars of the Roses” while watching the recently aired BBC miniseries “The White Queen”. The miniseries itself was an adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s the Cousin Wars book series (The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker’s Daughter). The Cousins war omnibus were a retelling of ‘The Wars of Roses’ , which was the decades long dynastic wars fought between 2 rival houses (House of York and House of Lancaster) for the throne of England during the 15th Century. Gregory’s book series depicted this event exclusively from the perspective of the Women who unwittingly or not, helped in setting up the gears, waging wars and ultimately shaping up the medieval England history, from the Plantagenet reigns (King Edward IV and King Richard III) and ushered it into the era of infamous Tudors Dynasty (King Henry VII). The story of Elizabeth Woodville (Edward IV’s Queen), Anne Neville (Richard III’s Queen) and Margaret Beaufort (Henry VII’s Lady Mother) penned by Gregory, while imaginative enough and gave me a satisfaction by viewing the historical events from the woman point of view, still left me reeling because I felt there were too much events being skipped between chapters, glossed over and Gregory’s tools in filling the blank could sometimes relies too much on exposition from one character to another character which made the dialogue felt stilted and superfluous.
Bottom line is, I need my historical fiction fix on The Wars of Roses from another better written source. Then through internet glowing recommendations, came this beautiful brick of a door stopper and Boy! I was blown away…
“The Sunne In Splendour” is quite probably a novel that’s near perfect in its attempt to cover the breadth and vastness of this particular and very fascinating subject. Sharon Kay Penman’s writing is utterly fantastic and while the length of this book could be very intimidating, I found it really easy to get sucked into the universe that is meticulously crafted by the author. The world building of 15th century England is really detailed and you could feel the sense and taste, the hurly burly of medieval England came to life in your mind. This book is also benefitted by telling the story from a number of characters’ perspective instead of one so that you feel the expansive nature of the story and how complicated the atmosphere on medieval England courts. One of the things I loved from this book is also how the political intrigues, psychological war fares and court shenanigans are very neatly depicted that you can feel the laborious research done by the author in weaving the fiction into historical facts and transformed it into a fascinating narrative without sacrificing its historical integrity.
The longstanding controversial figure of King Richard III is given a very sympathetic treatment in this book, depicting his character in a very favoring light, chivalrous and loyal to the bone. While sometimes his portrayal could be too straightforward without any shades of grey (The Princes in the Tower business and whatnot), it doesn’t deterred my enjoyment because it really fits the almost mythological tone of this book. His romance with childhood companion-turn lost lover-turn Queen Lady Anne Neville is told in a beautiful and romantic way that you can help falling in love with these two characters as they struggle to find their way to each other.
This book has so much to offer for historical fiction lovers. It has all the element of swoon worthy romance, chivalry, medieval politic and history…hell, even if you’re not usually into historical fiction, just read it anyway. I’ll guarantee you’ll end up loving this like i do. 5 unabashedly-head over heels in love- glowing stars.
Sharon Kay Penman, meet your new adoring fan! ...more
Welp! That’s it..I’m totally done for; this book is truly beautiful slash poignant slash unputdownable. I giggled and got teary-eyed. Cannot believe aWelp! That’s it..I’m totally done for; this book is truly beautiful slash poignant slash unputdownable. I giggled and got teary-eyed. Cannot believe a book that was written more than 50 years ago could have such a modern ‘voice’ and timeless relevance, all the while being such a fantastic-fucking-read; inhabited with interesting characters who uphold interesting moral values and also sprinkled with some of the most gripping courtroom procedural scenes that rivaled any the intensity of David E.Kelley’s (on top of his game) TV courtroom dramas.
The story of a Southern born lawyer who took on a job defending a wrongly accused young man of color of a rape crime he didn’t committed in 1930s highly conservative town of Maycomb, Alabama is flawlessly presented in a non-preachy way through the eyes of a precocious yet tomboyish 7 years old girl but narrated in a voice that simultaneously raw, mature and filled with worldliness that made for an interesting combination and endearing protagonist. I also want to applaud the social commentary presented in this book (and in some ways, I reckon, Harper Lee’s own personal views and moral values )regarding racial, class and social prejudice felt significantly relevant to social issues that we face through this present day.
Kudos to you Ms. Harper Lee, a truly timeless classic! ...more
This book gave me FEELS! Straight up FEELS!! Askhfhksjgjgfksadf...
Okay, to try putting in my limited command of words this book is panoply of a comingThis book gave me FEELS! Straight up FEELS!! Askhfhksjgjgfksadf...
Okay, to try putting in my limited command of words this book is panoply of a coming of age story, an intriguing-subtle (and quite sexy) love story, entwined with quasi-introduction to the breadth of 15th century Italian art and cultural scene and its turbulent political landscape. All of these elements work together to form a fully fleshed narrative centered on one woman’s journey and quest for ‘freedom’ amidst the change of time, political and cultural landscape of her country. Quite an ambitious undertaking for a debut novel and in some measured ways it has succeeded admirably.
We follow the heroine’s journey, an adolescent girl named Alessandra Cecchi, The intelligent and passionate youngest daughter of a renowned Cloth Tradesman who has a thirst of political and art knowledge, also an ambition and talent to become a painter, an equal among men, at a time where the renaissance movement is in full bloom in a 15th century Florence, unfortunately for her 15th century Florence is also the time where the only thing that was expected from women is for them is to be chaste and demure and the knowledge they need to possessed is the knowledge of courtship, and the highest achievement for them is to marry and marry well and ultimately to produce heir to further the family lineage. Always at odds with the wishes of her parents and feeling different amongst her siblings , Alessandra struggles to free herself from the shackles of conventionality and to pursue her dream to become a painter while toeing the line of limitation of womanhood, pursuing her love and defining her own freedom as a woman amidst a changing political landscape of Florence from patron of art and culture becoming into a more pious, religious and restrictive atmosphere under the new leadership of an evangelical bishop.
The details is rich and vivid, the story while flows in a pretty languid time frame, the pace itself feels like moving in a breakneck speed thus not one second I felt bored while reading it, and the characters is layered and 3 dimensional, I get the sense of Alessandra’s inner workings, her motivation, frustration, her hope and agency, in some ways I think the readers (esp. the female one) will at one point identified themselves with her character, which I think is important to create a sense of engagement from the reader to the story. I love it!
PS : Quick shout out to Ms.Jae for leading me to this wonderful book :) ...more
wicked! deliciously wicked! the tale of debauchery and self-capitalizing man using said debauchery of a supreme opportunist named Oswald Hendryks Cornwicked! deliciously wicked! the tale of debauchery and self-capitalizing man using said debauchery of a supreme opportunist named Oswald Hendryks Cornelius is told with straightforward manner laced with rip-roaring humour by Roald Dahl making this book such a joyous reading experience, and i breeze through it wanting more and more wicked tales of this wicked uncle. Roald Dahl proves once again why he is such a captivating and imaginative storyteller whilst not afraid to dabble in the taboos. If one must make a list of Roald Dahl recommended reading, this book will surely placed at the top of mine....more
Asimov has built a layered ,belieaveble & complex Robo-verse, and interesting Human-Artificial Intelligence interaction and conflicts based on hisAsimov has built a layered ,belieaveble & complex Robo-verse, and interesting Human-Artificial Intelligence interaction and conflicts based on his self-formulated "three laws of robotics" in these collection of short stories. Such an exciting read and complete eye opening experience (and introduction) to hard-science fiction and its tropes. The true stand out from these collection IMO is 'The Bicentennial Man', examining both robotics and human existentialism, where and when do they both intersect. interesting, engaging for discussion and touching as well. Can't wait to devour more of Asimov's works. Just one thing though: why the need to make the robots feel the need to sit (in a chair! nonetheless) everytime they had 'interrogation' scenes with their human overlords??. Really bugs me lol....more
It was the book that i grew up with and the first english book my Dad gave to me and my siblings when i'm 8 years old after his trip to Singapore. I rIt was the book that i grew up with and the first english book my Dad gave to me and my siblings when i'm 8 years old after his trip to Singapore. I remember being entranced and absorbed by the beautiful pictures and descriptions so much that i became an avid enthusiasts of all things Sesame Street. It will forever hold a special place in my heart....more
This novel is truly a BRICK of amazingness, at 900 pages, it surprises me how it just flew by and i thoroughly devoured every page until it's finishesThis novel is truly a BRICK of amazingness, at 900 pages, it surprises me how it just flew by and i thoroughly devoured every page until it's finishes, it took me only 5 days to finish it, such a rarity,amazing!. Basically it is a neo-victorian novel, set in the 19th century London, but written with a 21st century perspective, about a victorian highly-sought out-prostitute named Sugar and her struggle to rise for the betterment of her life, sort of like Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair but with raunchier and tantalising narrative. Along the way Sugar encountered a variety of characters which, while some only brushed by through her life,but some will helped forging her path and decision towards the climax of her tale. Michel Faber's skill of weaving sentences into sentences together is impeccable, throughly hooked you for wanting more. It is truly one book you must read and i can't wait for it's BBC adaptation airing this year.