The Sunne in Splendor by Sharon Kay Penman
Okay Ms. Penman, I’m sure you’re not reading this but, just in case you are, may I say that you rock.
“The Sunne in Splendor” is an historical novel of over 900 pages, spanning nearly the entire life of England’s Richard III, and it held my rapt attention for the entire book. In fact, I picked it up because I wanted to alternate something with more of a narrative with another book I was reading. It did not alternate well, because I basically dropped the other (quite good as well) book until I was completely done with “The Sunne in Splendor.”
Besides focusing on Richard III, “The Sunne in Splendor” tells the story of the War of the Roses, although primarily from the Yorkist perspective. From St. Albans to Bosworth Field, we are privy to the entire scope of this conflict, gaining along the way information about its origin.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the successfully ambitious “The Sunne in Splendor” is that it was Penman’s first novel, written over 25 years ago. It has amazing depth both of information and of character for a first published novel.
Sad thing about “The Sunne in Splendor.” I was unable to put it down, particularly near the end, and I carried it into a restaurant my husband and I were in on a trip last weekend. After finishing the book, I set it down next to him on the windowsill to actually eat the food the waiter had brought to our table. Thirty or so minutes into our 45 minute drive back to where we were staying, we both realized that I had left the book on the table (thank goodness I had finished it!). It was a used copy anyway, but I would have liked to keep it. I guess it is time to add it to my BookMooch list and hope to obtain another copy.
Anyway, loved “The Sunne in Splendor” and Ms. Penman is now 2 for 2 with me (“The Devil’s Brood” was also fantastic), so I will be actively seeking out basically everything else she’s ever written.