Lauren's Reviews > The Reckoning

The Reckoning by Sharon Kay Penman
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's review
Feb 09, 09

Recommended for: lovers of historical fiction
Read in February, 2009

** spoiler alert ** Fantastic conclusion to Penman's Welsh trilogy. This book tells the story of Llewellyn the last and Simon de Montfort's children, who are inextricably linked due to the cruelties of England's King Edward Longshanks, son of the ineffectual King Henry, and Llewellyn's planned marriage to Eleanor (Ellen) de Motfort. The novel illuminates King Edward's medieval English version of manifest destiny and his ruthless desire to destroy Wales as an independent principality.

Penman does a masterful job at turning these historical figures, politics, and complex family relationships into an engaging story. The novel explores Llewellyn's tortured relationships with his brothers Owain, Davydd, and Rhodri, King Edward's relationship with his de Montfort kin, young Simon "Bran" de Montfort's guilt over his role in his father's death and the impact of the family's downfall on the de Montfort children. Penman's style made me root for Llewellyn and Ellen and become emotionally connected to them. By the end of the novel, even though the I knew that Wales ultimately becomes a part of England, I hoped that history would have gone another way and that King Edward would have let Wales survive on its own. The Reckoning is a masterful conclusion to a great trilogy. Unfortunately, history prevents it from having a happy ending; consequently the novel ends with shocking brutality.

After I finished this novel I started Sunne in Splendour and I have the Eleanor of Aquitaine series on order. I've become a serious Sharon Kay Penman fan!
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