Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great historical novels, 14 May 2009
This review is from: When Christ and His Saints Slept (Eleanor of Aquitaine Trilogy 1) (Paperback)
I hesitated over this book - unsure of the subject matter and initially daunted by both the size of the book and the style of writing. In addition I was not at all sure how I would feel about the way the story moves on jumping through the months/years/decades. I found almost at once the style to be easy and I soon got the hang of how the chapters flowed, so much so that I just couldn't put the book down.

There was a large cast of characters but the author was very good at reminding us from time to time who was who and the family tree and other information at the beginning was very useful. I hate historical novels that place 21st Century values in the past, but I didn't think it happened here - I felt the more sympathetic characters had very much a 12th Century feel.

Incredibly well researched some of the events were so bizarre and coincidences so unbelievable that they had to be true as no author could make them up and get away with it - a point the author makes herself at the end. The maturing of the characters over time was excellent - on occasions it was sad to lose some of them and in a couple of cases shocking.

The whole book was so well researched and the story worked so well with the history that it strongly re-enforces the misconception that the past was a far less complex country. I am so glad there are two further books in the series - I need to spend a short while back in the 21st Century to get my bearings again, but can't wait to take my next trip back to the 12th.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Apr 2011 14:38:51 BDT
Eileen Shaw says:
Sharon Penman is very good at historical fiction. I recently read Sunne in Splendour (covering the later wars of the Roses and the reign of Edward IV and Richard III. I have to say I thought Edward IV was caricatured, but I liked her interpretation of Richard III. She managed to find an alternative to the deaths of the Princes in the Tower that did seem reasonably likely. More likely than that Richard took the risk of killing the boys.
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