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Topic: Penman Suggestions

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Subject: Penman Suggestions
Date Posted: 7/19/2010 6:28 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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I know this is completely sick, but since my dance card is already full for 2010, I'm already starting to think about what I want to read in 2011! Gotta get on those wish lists now, you know, to have any hope of getting them bey the end of 2011!  By the end of 2010, I will have tried two of the "Big Three", leaving only Sharon Kay Penman.  So.....where is the best place to start?? Tell me which is your favorite book/series and why. 



Last Edited on: 11/1/10 6:12 AM ET - Total times edited: 6
Date Posted: 7/19/2010 7:10 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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READ THEM ALL!!

Ok, ok -- here's a guide to get you started:

First read The Welsh Trilogy (Here Be Dragons, Falls the Shadow, The Reckoning).

Next read The Henry II Trilogy (When Christ and His Saints Slept, Time and Chance, Devil's Brood).

Then read The Sunne in Splendor (a stand-alone about Richard III -- you can read this first if you like, but you really should read it).

Then for fun, you can read the Justin de Quincy mysteries -- these are optional, but quite entertaining.

I really, really like Chadwick and Cornwell, but Penman is my hero!

 

ETA: Actually, if you like things in chronological order, then read the Henry II Trilogy first, then the Welsh Trilogy -- it doesn't really matter.



Last Edited on: 7/19/10 7:15 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 7/19/2010 7:27 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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They really are all good, but if you want to get a taste of Penman's writing style without committing to a series, start with "The Sunne in Splendor".

Of Course, Sunne is a fabulous book and you will immediately want to get the rest of her books so you should probably just go ahead and wishlist them all. ;-)

I have been craving books set in Wales and I really, really want to re-read her Welsh series now. I think my favorite will always be "When Christ and His Saints Slept" though. Such a wonderful book! It actually made me cry...more than once!

Date Posted: 7/19/2010 7:30 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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I would read When Christ and his Saints Slept.  It sets the stage for all that comes after, even though my favorite is Here Be Dragons, Falls the Shadow and The Reckoning.  Sunne In Splendour is a stand alone novel , that is really about the death of the 300 plus year history  of the dynasty Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine began.



Last Edited on: 7/19/10 7:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/19/2010 7:54 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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What Deb said. Start with the Welsh trilogy. After that, it doesn't really matter. But Here Be Dragons, as big as it is, isn't the honking huge doorstopper that Sunne is. So, if on the off chance, you don't like it, you haven't invested all the time. 'Course, you're likely to experience the wet noodle 'round here.

Date Posted: 7/19/2010 8:14 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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I'm with Deb and Genie, and after that throw Sunne in wherever it fits. Don't forget though, Lionheart is supposed to be out sometime in '11.

Date Posted: 7/19/2010 9:19 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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READ THEM ALL!!   But of course!

 you should probably just go ahead and wishlist them all.   Done. 

 you don't like it, you haven't invested all the time.  I'd never admit it if I don't like them.  I'm terrified of the wet noodle.



Last Edited on: 11/1/10 6:13 AM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 7/19/2010 9:50 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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Even though my favorite series is the Eleanor and Henry one, that starts with Maud and Stephen - I'd actually begin with "Here Be Dragons."  That may be my favorite book of hers.

Date Posted: 7/20/2010 9:33 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
Posts: 2,087
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It has been many a year since I first read Sunne in Splendor, the first Penman book I read.  Then I was hooked and I read Here by Dragons next and the rest of that series.  I have not yet read the Maud and Stephen/Henry and Eleanor series yet.  But I want to fit them in my schedule somehow!  Anyway, I agree that Here be Dragons is my favorite, so far, Penman book. 

Date Posted: 7/20/2010 10:13 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,452
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I'm partial to WCAHSS because that is the first of her books I read.  It still has a soft spot in my heart even though I really like the two next books about Henry and Eleanor and the kids.

Date Posted: 7/20/2010 11:03 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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My other new-to-me author for 2011 is Jean Plaidy.  I've been slowly collecting the Tudor saga and have 6 of the 11 books in the series, and in low single digits on the rest.



Last Edited on: 11/1/10 6:12 AM ET - Total times edited: 11
Date Posted: 7/20/2010 1:54 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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You can't go wrong on any of the Penmans, but I'd probably start with When Christ and His Saints Slept or Here be Dragons.  Some day I'm going to re-read those.  Again.

Date Posted: 7/20/2010 11:16 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2009
Posts: 388
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I started at the chronological beginning with When Christ..., and it's still my favorite Penman so far. No one I've read so far has been able to surpass my love for SKP. No one!

I'm currently reading Falls the Shadow, and it's terrific. I've been trying to go slowly. I can't believe that after this I only have 2 more SKPs left. She needs to write faster! But no so fast that the books suffer...in that case, I'd take slow and steady any day. She's really amazing IMO.

Date Posted: 7/21/2010 7:43 AM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2005
Posts: 714
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The first Penman I read was The Sunne in Splendour and when I was done, I rushed to the bookstore and was thrilled to see there were more titles! Here be Dragons is a good place to start.

Date Posted: 7/21/2010 9:21 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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As I posted before, just read them all!  Unlike Chadwick and Cornwell who have so many books to choose from, with Penman, it's just 7 books -- two trilogies and a stand-alone -- that's all (excluding her de Quincy mysteries which are very good and entertaining but not essential). No need to agonize. Obviously, read the books within the trilogies in order, but it really doesn't matter which trilogy you read first. And The Sunne in Splendour is a must. Just start reading Penman -- NOW!!

Date Posted: 7/21/2010 11:48 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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it's just 7 books

Oh, Deb, you crack me up! Just 7 books, she says. But she left out how many pages they comprise. LOL!

Date Posted: 7/21/2010 6:05 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Genie -- sshhhush!wink

Date Posted: 7/21/2010 8:44 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 849
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Here Be Dragons is not only my favorite Penman, but one of my all time favorites.

Date Posted: 7/22/2010 9:54 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,390
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My vote is When Christ & His Saints Slept. This was my 1st Penman & I was immediately swept away. While all her other books are equally marvelous, there is something particularly special about Christ & His Saints.

In giving it some thought, I think it is because the setting was something I knew nothing about, so I was completely immersed in the story & Penman's interpretation of the events and characters. It was like discovering something brand new, without any background influences or prior (mis)conceptions. I had never heard of the White Ship; I knew nothing about Maud or Stephen or Geoffrey Plantagenet or the Civil War that split families, and made fortunes for some while it destroyed the lives of others. So, as Penman rolled out the story, I was right there, like a child on Christmas Eve, soaking it all up and completely enchanted by her wonderful, expressive writing and amazing development of her characters - both historical & fictional.

And then ... when young, impish, precocious Henry makes an appearance, the book just ramps up one more level!

Ahh, to be discovering Penman for the very 1st time ... you're in for a treat, Christa!

Kelly

Date Posted: 8/3/2010 9:35 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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I received an anonymous package in the mail today with beautiful paperback copies of the Welsh Trilogy!!  I am shocked, humbled and very blessed.  There was just a note inside that says "From an HF Forum Friend..Enjoy!".  I don't recognize the return address.  I checked the member directory for the city and didn't recognize any of the names there.  So whoever you are,

THANK YOU!! 

I don't mean to be too sappy, but I'll just say that when I walked through the door tonight, I really needed a special blessing. You gave it to me and I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Of course, I will pass this tremendous kindness on as soon as I finish reading them.  Or I will be happy to return them if you'll fess up!

Date Posted: 8/3/2010 10:16 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,390
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Man oh man ... does the ol' heart good. My thanks also to Christa's anonymous Gift Angel! You have brought a smile to my heart!

Kelly

By the way, Gift Angel, my address is ... and my wish list is ... and my phone number is ... 

 

Date Posted: 8/3/2010 10:24 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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That's so wonderful! Sniff, sniff.

Date Posted: 8/4/2010 7:27 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,709
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 What fun---I love surprises!   Christa, you've obviously touched some hearts and made some friends here in the HF forum.  Now, just remember, when you realize that Penman will forever and always be on your 'keeper' shelf...don't feel guilty if you can't pass them on.  wink  We all understand.  

I think we should make 2011 The Year of the SKP Read-A-Thon.    

Date Posted: 8/4/2010 7:48 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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That was the HF fairy! And here I was almost not believing in the Easter bunny ...

What a nice, nice thing to do.

Date Posted: 8/4/2010 9:51 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,217
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Another example of the greatness and generosity of the people on this forum!!! These ladies never cease to amaze.heart

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