Richard's Reviews > A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury

A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury by Edith Pargeter
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Apr 05, 2015

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, historical-fiction, abandoned, not-gonna-read
Recommended to Richard by: Themis-Athena
Read in September, 2009

I gave up on this early.

It took me a few pages to realize I knew the history that ends at Shrewsbury. Once the Prince of Wales was on the Welsh border with Hotspur, I realized I knew what was coming.

And that was a problem: if I'm going to read historical fiction, it had either better be riveting or as accurate as a historian can manage. Making up the quotidian life and internal monologues of actual historic folk is an iffy affair. If it is boring, it better be footnoted with references to diaries, personal letters, etc.

And Pargeter did have a chance to write riveting stuff here. The tragedy that culminated at Shrewsbury is historical fact, and it would have been nice to have Shakespeare's version complemented by a deeper novel. To Pargeter's disadvantage, I'd just finished reading a much more engaging historical adventure — Dorothy Dunnett's The Game of Kings , and Bloody Field suffered in comparison. Pargeter spent too much time inside her character's heads and didn't bring out the drama.

P.S. If you do read this, I strongly recommend tracking down a genealogical chart of the Royal Family of England for the appropriate time. In this case, you'd want the descendants of King Edward III, r. 1327-1377. There's a good one in Churchill's excellent History of the English Speaking Peoples , Volume I. It'd also be nice to see the interrelations to the greater British aristocracy (showing the Percys, for example), as well as Welsh, Scottish and French nobility, but I don't know of a source. Wikipedia provides all the necessary information, of course, but not in an easy-to-absorb graphical format.


Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

04/05/2015 marked as: read
04/05/2015 marked as: abandoned
04/05/2015 marked as: read
04/05/2015 marked as: not-gonna-read

Comments (showing 1-2)

dateUp arrow    newest »

message 2: by Gill (new)

Gill Thank you for such a full review, even of a book you gave up on!

Deborah It didn't take me a few pages to realize I know the history that didn't end at Shrewsbury. Pargeter's rendering of it was lyrically and beautifully written, her characters believable, and their thoughts and motives fascinating. She wove these bits of history into a living tapestry.

back to top