Chrissie's Reviews > Here be Dragons

Here be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
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Oct 21, 2013

did not like it
bookshelves: great-britain, hf, history, european-royalty, wales, sample-g, dnf, disliked
Recommended to Chrissie by: Misfit
Read from September 09 to 14, 2012

This is not a book for me! I didn't finish it, and I do not intend or picking it up again. It is simply not my kind of book. I have read 164 pages. I really do not enjoy reading it, so why should I continue?!
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Reading Progress

09/22/2013 marked as: not-for-me
09/22/2013 marked as: not-for-me
10/21/2013 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-25 of 25) (25 new)

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message 1: by Manybooks (new) - added it

Manybooks I love historical fiction, but Sharon Kay Penman is an author I have NEVER been able to get into at all. I think I have tried to read at least five or six books by her and have not managed to finish any of them (I think I lasted about as long as you for one or two of them, but the others, which, thankfully, were library books, I gave up on much earlier (they are still on my to-read list, so I guess I should weed them out).


Chrissie Gundula, I thought I was really alone on not being able to read this book. I really did try! You make me feel better.


message 3: by Manybooks (new) - added it

Manybooks Chrissie wrote: "Gundula, I thought I was really alone on not being able to read this book. I really did try! You make me feel better."

And you make me feel better as well. I have always wondered a bit at my problems with that particular author, considering that she is so well-liked. I am sure glad I am not alone :-)


Chrissie Boring!


message 5: by Manybooks (new) - added it

Manybooks Chrissie wrote: "Boring!"

And tedious!!


Chrissie And everyone had the same name.


B the BookAddict A shame you couldn't get into this one. I'm reading it now and loving it. But then, I am hooked on British medieval history:)


Chrissie Bette, I am glad you enjoy Penman's writing, but she is not for me.


message 9: by Manybooks (new) - added it

Manybooks Chrissie wrote: "Bette, I am glad you enjoy Penman's writing, but she is not for me."

You know how much I enjoy books set in the Middle Ages or about the Middle Ages, but I have never warmed to this author (her writing style is just not my cup of tea at all).


Chrissie Bette, have you read the Cadfael series by Ellis Peters, but don't start with book 1.

Gundula, you are more of an expert than me. What other author would you recommend to Bette, since she probably would appreciate more about medieval England?


B the BookAddict I don;t mind her style at all; I like it that she gives facts and not too many histrionics usually found in medieval stories. She's probably my favourite. I'll be pursuing the rest of her Welsh Princes series, then whatever else she has written.


message 12: by Chrissie (last edited Nov 05, 2014 11:41AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Chrissie I am glad you enjoy her writing, Bette.

Isn't it this author that sometimes "sees" what she writes about - gets premonitions? I read that somewhere.... a long time ago, so I do not remember where.


message 13: by B the BookAddict (last edited Nov 05, 2014 12:59PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

B the BookAddict oooh, haven't heard that! I know she is indisputably factual and uses hardly any fictional characters; she is die-hard fact driven apparently. I love her Afterwords and Acknowledgements at the end of all her books.

When you compare HisFict authors like Philippa Gregory to Penman, Gregory doesn't stand a chance. Penman writes Historical Faction as opposed to Historical Fiction. I'd love to see her do a biography of the early English Monarchs, she'd do as good a job as Alison Weir.


Chrissie I know that Penman sticks to the real events and I admire her for that!!!! Gregory is, well, I will not say, but not for me. I think Weir's non-fiction books are better than her fiction ones. Her non-fiction is superb. I should read more.

I KNOW you are right in admiring Penman, but she still is not for me. She doesn't engage me.


message 15: by Manybooks (last edited Nov 06, 2014 05:00AM) (new) - added it

Manybooks I also tried Gregory, and she is again someone, whose writing I just don't like all that much (and her stories seem more than a bit far fetched). Personally, I like Mediaeval mysteries, especially the Cadfael series (but like Chrissie has mentioned, maybe start with the second book and not the first), Paul Doherty's Hugh Corbet series, Peter Tremayne's Sister Fidelma series and Susannah Gregory's Matthew Bartholomew series. And I love Josephine Tey's modern mystery based on Richard III, The Daughter of Time. One of my favourite books of all time is a children's book by Allison Uttley about a girl who travels back in time to Elizabethan England (The Time Traveler), but that is a children's book. What I've found annoying with some of the books and series I have read is that they sometimes use some rather strange, modern sounding and just decidedly creepy elements to supposedly make their stories more palatable I guess for modern tastes, but that usually does not work for me (and I noticed that especially with Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose which to me still seems as though that the author is not only trying to actively overwhelm us with his knowledge but also mocking us mere mortals who might not have his kind of knowledge or his level of post secondary education). Two authors that I read and enjoyed when I was younger (much younger than today) were Antonia Fraser and Barbara Tuchman. However, I enjoyed these when I was a teenager and I have no idea whether I would still enjoy their writing.


message 16: by Manybooks (last edited Nov 06, 2014 05:05AM) (new) - added it

Manybooks Bette BookAddict wrote: "I don;t mind her style at all; I like it that she gives facts and not too many histrionics usually found in medieval stories. She's probably my favourite. I'll be pursuing the rest of her Welsh P..."

Ellis Peters was and is a perennial favourite with me as well (not sure though if your comment was about Peters or Penman, lol). However, that only pertains to Ellis Peters' historical fiction (and especially the Cadfael series). I tried her modern mysteries, which she I think wrote under her actual name and did not enjoy them at all.


Chrissie Gundula, I am reading A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century right now and it is excellent, although I must admit it is long and I have just begun. I think it has your name written on it, it is so for you! I like this better than The Guns of August. For me it is easier to follow even if I liked the other one too because of living in Belgium.


message 18: by Manybooks (new) - added it

Manybooks Chrissie wrote: "Gundula, I am reading A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century right now and it is excellent, although I must admit it is long and I have just begun. I think it has your name w..."

That was the book I read as a teenager. All I remember was liking it a lot, but I really have to reread it because I don't remember much of it.


Chrissie I am listening now and absolutely love it. i had multiple copies. I gave one to Jeanette!


message 20: by Manybooks (new) - added it

Manybooks Chrissie wrote: "I am listening now and absolutely love it. i had multiple copies. I gave one to Jeanette!"

Glad you are enjoying the book!!


Chrissie In the medieval times there is so much that is strange to life now. Tournaments and chivalry and a quite cold relationship between mothers and children! Probably b/c only half survived. I love the way the author collects all these little known facts. It is easy to follow and absolutely reliable.


message 22: by Manybooks (last edited Nov 06, 2014 10:07AM) (new) - added it

Manybooks Chrissie wrote: "In the medieval times there is so much that is strange to life now. Tournaments and chivalry and a quite cold relationship between mothers and children! Probably b/c only half survived. I love the ..."

The modern concepts of motherhood and a mother's unconditional love actually only started to become important issues and philosophies in the late 18th century (and it was promoted most amongst the new middle classes, the so-called bourgeoisie). Even in the 19th century (post revolution), it was still a common practice for the French upper classes to basically "farm out" their offspring to country wet nurses (and while some of these wet nurses were healthy, capable and loving with their charges, that was not the case with all or even most).


Chrissie You already know all this, maybe you don't want to reread the book... So interesting.


message 24: by Manybooks (last edited Nov 06, 2014 10:41AM) (new) - added it

Manybooks Chrissie wrote: "You already know all this, maybe you don't want to reread the book... So interesting."

But I did not know this when I read the book, I learned this at university (and after reading some non fiction books on European history and the history of the family).


Chrissie OK, then maybe something new will be in the book.


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