Meg C.'s Reviews > The Sunne in Splendour

The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman
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's review
Jul 08, 2012

really liked it

Very well-researched and believable account of Richard III and the Wars of the Roses. Attempts to put a human face to the much-maligned king, depicting him as the unfortunate victim of circumstance and his enemies' machinations. I don't know much about this time period so I can't comment on the historical validity, but it seems to me that the author did her homework. The result is a compelling narrative of this fascinating period in British history. Like Penman's other novels, the characterization is first-rate. I laughed and cried right along with my favorite ones, and inwardly cheered when the villains were deposed.

The one dark spot--and it is a big one, for me--is the use of period English (e.g., "mayhap," "be you afraid" instead of "are you afraid", etc.). It comes across as stilted and somewhat pretentious. I don't think it would've taken away from the story at all if the author had used the modern conjugations of the verb "to be." Every time one of those came along, it jarred me out of my reading mode and I gritted my teeth...haha. Also, you'll need to refer to a character map, since the author interchanges the characters' names with their nicknames, and sometimes their titles as well. I didn't catch that "Gloucester" was the same person as Richard until well over 1/4 into the book! So just bear that in mind :)
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StoryTellerShannon This is still my favorite Penman novel. Just a quarter notch down from this one would be WHEN CHRIST AND HIS SAINTS SLEPT (dealing with the struggle for the English throne a few hundred years before this novel).

So you don't use "mayhaps" in all of your conversations now? ;)

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