Sunday 7th February 2016….Some Reading

 

f5d36c7350ed2175884d3a5968e305f7.jpgThe last couple of weeks have been spent tidying up the sale of our house and the purchase of our house in St Keyne Cornwall, that plus packing loads of boxes. The daily walks continue, albeit we are getting bored by the same old routine, and we are very much looking forward to doing new things in Cornwall. Reading has continued and for me has been mainly the re-reading of the marvellous 61mtZqfHOKL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg‘The Sunne In Splendour’ by Sharon Penman. I finished this yesterday and it was a marathon read as the book is 1240 pages long. However every page is a delight. It must be good as I hardly ever re-read a book, and having finished this for the second time I would happily start all over again! Basically it’s the story of Richard III, the locations are always real, the events are nearly always real, but the dialogues are of course made-up. It is the Yorkist version of History and very interesting for being that, particularly if you feel the conventional Tudor spin on things might not reveal quite all the truth. The times were momentous and so it has everything…family relationships and quarrels, love stories, politicking, battles galore……..the pace is relentless. At the front is a kind of Dramatis Personae to which you have to refer constantly because of the plethora of family members with the same name, that and the fact that personnel keep changing sides so you want to see whose battles they should be fighting! The book was 12 years in the writing, and I can only wonder at the amount of background research that underlies it…I have huge admiration for the author. But not only is it a fantastic read in its own right, it makes you want to explore the period even more. So I have immediately pulled one of my so-far unread Folio books off the shelf…Unknown.jpegThe Wars of The Roses’ by medievalist Desmond Seward. Rather good so far. In fact, having finished it….very good. Unbelievably it was almost like revisiting ‘The Sunne In Splendour’ again. It is really well researched, balanced, and zips along at a cracking pace. Plus its approach, which is to concentrate on five of the main characters, and tell the story of the Wars through them, is highly enjoyable, particularly as at least two of the people are not whom you might expect…..one a political ecclesiastic, Dr John Morton, and the other Jane Shore, mistress of Edward IV, then of his friend William Hastings (another one of the five) and then of his stepson the Marquess of Dorset….a remarkable woman and according to Seward ‘the first ordinary Englishwoman recognisable as a human being from contemporary sources (actually Sir Thomas More’s ‘King Richard’). Using all these people in this way does make the wars very immediate, and you realise how much impact they had on the extended families of everyone involved. Btw the upper pic is of the ‘Sun In Splendour’ at Tewkesbury Abbey.

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