Kristen's Reviews > Falls the Shadow

Falls the Shadow by Sharon Kay Penman
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Feb 19, 09

bookshelves: 2009, drama, historical-fiction, medievalism
Read in February, 2009

** spoiler alert ** Um, why have I never heard of Simon de Montfort before reading this book? I've done a bit of my own research since I started reading this and I can't believe that I somehow managed never to hear about him in all the history classes I took, even in college! WTF, education system?

I liked Penman's depiction of him--he was honorable and firm in his political beliefs, but he was also probably a real pain in the ass at times. The stubbornness, arrogance, etc are all traits that made him more real to me, because I know that if I'd met him, I might have had mixed feelings about him as a person. But I don't think I would have doubted him as a politician. He stayed and fought battles when he could have and maybe should have fled. I liked that.

I also liked Nell. I don't know how much of her characterization was fictional and how much was real, but in any case I found her to be a very sympathetic character. She was strong and intelligent and didn't back down as men thought women were supposed to. She seemed to have won the loyalty of Kenilworth's garrison of her own accord, not just because she was Simon's wife. I loved the scene near the end when the garrison told Edward to shod off, that they would surrender Kenilworth only into Nell's hands.

I've always been impressed with how well researched Penman's books are. I know I can trust her scholarship. This book, though, made me want to make more of an effort to go out and learn more about Simon on my own.
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