Discussion Forums - Historical Fiction

Topic: Here Be Dragons Read-Along Book One Chapters 1 - 10

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Here Be Dragons Read-Along Book One Chapters 1 - 10
Date Posted: 9/7/2010 7:00 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
Back To Top

Let's talk!

Date Posted: 9/7/2010 11:43 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
Back To Top

All of this felt like background information before the "real" story starts.  Being the ultimate Daddy's girl myself, I'm definitely drawn to Joanna

Date Posted: 9/9/2010 2:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2005
Posts: 809
Back To Top

Hi Christa! You're way ahead of me, LOL! I'm just finishing up this section.

Does it bug you at all that Penman tends to put exposition in her dialogue by having characters talk about things you'd presume they'd already know? (Like a character mentioning a certain castle is a day's ride to the north?) Granted, it doesn't bug me TOO much, but I still notice it every time. However, authors have to get the exposition in there somehow, especially for books like this with so much historical background. Penman handles it more smoothy than many.

That said, I ADORE how this woman writes Eleanor of Aquitaine. I have loved every scene she's been in. I also loved the scene where Llywellen meets the young knight who tormented him at the beginning of the book and gets his revenge. wink

Date Posted: 9/9/2010 2:22 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
Back To Top

Oh yes...that scene was priceless!  And I agree...this is a good portrayal of Eleanor.   Similar to how she was treated by EC in The Greatest Knight, but with a little more bite. 

You know, I never noticed exposition before in my reading, but someone mentioned it on a thread here a while back and I've noticed it ever since.  I think I've decided that it is less distracting to the story line when it is part of the dialog than when it is just thrown in there as background info.   When it's dialog, it seems to get limited to just what you really know.  I'm way more interested in a story in a historical setting than I am in the actual history.  While a lot of the history is interesting, I'm a very linear thinker when it comes to the story and if the information isn't relevant to moving the story along, I don't need to know it. 

Date Posted: 9/11/2010 8:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2005
Posts: 809
Back To Top

I'm finished with this section, and as much as I'm enjoying the book, I'm ready to get to the "meat" of the story. All of these chapters jumping forward in time is making it hard for me to keep track of who's who. I completely forgot Will Longsword was John's half brother until Penman reminded me. wink

Poor Joanna, having to grow up with an unhappy, volatile mother. I thought it was strongly implied her mother killed herself, and the abbot covered it up out of kindness. At least she found some happiness living with her father. I'm glad Penman is slowly revealing more facets to John's character, beyond the clever schemer he was in the early chapters.

I admit to being both fascinated and repelled by John's "courtship" of Isabelle, mostly by the fact her father was so confident Isabelle's beauty would reel John in and keep him from breaking the bethothal. I mean, the poor girl was only 12, and her father was so calm about "throwing her to the wolves," so to speak. At least she might be better off with John than the brute she was originally bethrothed to.

I'm always fascinated by how women managed to survive in these times, when life was so hard for them, when they could be forced to marry men they barely knew, who likely were much older, and would have to leave their homes forever.

Date Posted: 9/11/2010 8:51 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
Back To Top

I felt the same way about this section, Felecia.  Lots of background info, jumping around and lots of  characters to keep up with.  If I had not just finished all three of the King Raven books, Rosalynde and The Greatest Knight in the last few months, I would have been totally lost.  But fear not...the meat of the story has started for you now!