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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Devil's Brood


As a child mother took me each Saturday morning to the Children’s Room at the downtown St. Paul public library. Since then reading has been one of my favorite avocations. What a list of books that would be if only I had kept track. Beside the fun of reading comments that people make to the books I'm  reading,  this blog is a neat way of keeping track...:)
This week I’m into historical fiction, courtesy of the inexpensive books found at our local Goodwill Store.  My current reading is a book titled Devil’s Brood by Sharon Kay Penman. It is the third in the author's Eleanor of Aquitaine series. Fiction based on facts about   of King Henry II and his family. This family is tearing itself apart as his four sons reach adulthood. Henry sees Eleanor first as his wife and Queen. Then as the Duchess of Aquitaine. She sees herself as the Duchess first and then as his Queen and wife. Their sons Hal, Richard, Geoffrey and John each have their own ambitions and desires. A family tragedy is writ large around marriage, child-parent relationships, sibling rivalries, ambition, betrayal and just plain greed. The historical facts and descriptions of the 12th century ring true to me. Even more compelling is the author's psychological fine tuning of the main characters motivations. The dialogue is often riveting.
 
Years ago. I had enjoyed watching Katherine Hepburn win her third Oscar as Eleanor in the film The Lion In Winter. This book exceeded my expectations bringing the story once again to life. I loved this book. I can’t wait to go back now and read the first two books in the series and those of Richard the Lion Heart to follow...

Starring Katherine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole
I’ve been trying to recall other novels I’ve read about the medieval period in European history. One of my all time favorites does come to mind. That is Ken Follett's The Pillars Of The Earth. The story of the building of a great gothic cathedral had a vibrancy all its own. Another was the story of the life of Sir Christopher Wren and the building of St. Paul’s in London . The author of Devil's Brood certainly knows her history and is a wonderful writer.


 
 

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@Barrie Summy

17 comments:

Anvilcloud said...

It's a good era for historical fiction.

DJan said...

Thanks for the review. I'll read this one. :-)

Sally Wessely said...

This sounds like a fabulous book. I will put it down the read. Thanks! I think I want to watch the movie A Lion in Winter again too. I love that movie.

I'm glad you write the reviews. I wish I were better a writing up the books I read. My daughter asked for some book titles yesterday. I promised her a list. I must include it a blog post.

Out on the prairie said...

a fun part of history to explore

Arkansas Patti said...

I never thought I would like a book about a medieval church builder and church politics but Ken Follett made me a believer. I LOVED it. This book sounds like it might rope me in also.

NCmountainwoman said...

I also loved "Pillars of the Earth" as well as the second in the series, "World Without End." I was totally amazed that such large books covering so many characters over such a long period of time could be so easy to follow.

I'm also a fan of Henry and Eleanor. Might have to look these up when my to-be-read pile gets a little shorter.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Sounds like a good read. I have not read Pillars of the Earth in a long long time:)

Carla from The River said...

Sounds good. Thank you again, for a great review.
I love that first photo!! :-)))

amanda | wildly simple said...

I'm a fellow fan of inexpensive books found at Goodwill. I love going through their shelves. Our library on the Mississippi also has a Friends of the Library bookstore attached which I frequent.

You've offered an enticing review.. I've added this to my to-read list! Historical fiction is probably my favorite genre (hard to choose, and why bother.. when it comes to books, the more and broader the better!) yet I don't think I've read about this time period.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Good for you. I just visited out 2nd hand store, and picked up 9 or 10 books!!! Reduce, reduse, recycle.

pattinase (abbott) said...

LION IN WINTER is one of my favorites. Thanks for the enticing review.

Sarah Laurence said...

This author's work might be a good choice for my husband, thanks!

Linda McLaughlin said...

I enjoyed your review. Henry and Eleanore and their offspring did give new meaning to the words dysfunctional family. So glad you enjoyed the book.

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Bubba Muntzer said...

It's interesting how your Mom was smiling knowing the picture would be posted on the internet. You were apparently too young to know about the internet.

That's an interesting way to start off a book review, and a good review. I got interested in that time period when I was in the army (US army) in a town that goes back that far, Mainz, Germany, which has a 1,000 year old Romanesque cathedral and a rich history. But I, too, lament not keeping track of the books I've read, or remembering what they were about if I do for that matter. One can only hope that they've become part of the unconscious somehow and are sloshing around in there to positive effect.

Cynthia said...

Pillars of the Earth is one of my all-time favorite novels. I think I'm about due to read it again! I love the photo of you and your mom. Thanks for the recommendation of Devils Brood. I love British history so I think I wll look for the one on your recommendation.

CailinMarie said...

I haven't read this one but I really enjoy this author. My brother picked up "When Christ and His Saints Slept" (I think that is the Title) years ago. And he loved it. He is a military history guy who doesn't like shoddy fiction so I thought if he liked it I'd be alright with it. Now I grab her books whenever I see one. Except a funny side series she tried- I read "Cruel as the Grave" which is a sequel to "The Queen's Man" and didn't love it. But that might be because I was expecting her typical Historical Fiction and the Justin De Quincy books are pure Fiction/Mystery.