Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Book Review: Here Be Dragons
Here Be Dragons is a historical novel written by Sharon Kay Penman published in 1985. The novel is the 1st in a trilogy know as the Welsh Princes series. It is set in medieval England, Wales and France.
The medieval princes of Gwynedd and the monarchs of England. England's King John uses his out-of-wedlock daughter Joanna as a negotiating tool by marrying her to the Welsh king Llewelyn to avoid war between England and Wales.
I will say that I had hard time with this book at the start. Welsh names are very hard and there are a lot of characters in this book. Once I gave up trying to figure out and keep everyone straight I did start to enjoy the book. It is still a shock to me that princes and kings would marry off their daughters at such young ages just for political purposes.
History is stranger than fiction, true, and this was as unlikely a pair as could be imagined. Joanna and Lewelyn's love was strong, and true, and overcame Joana being torn in two between the father who showed her love when she was orphaned, and the husband who gave her the world, as well as showed Joanna her own faults. Joanna committed adultery, and yet Llewelyn's love for her was so powerful that her forgave it. In the 13th century Europe it was a big deal if a woman was unfaithful. It was common for men to have multiple mistresses on the side, but of course frowned upon for women.
I was heart broken at the thought of Llewelyn and Joanna forever apart, shed many tears when he took her back.
This was a very long book, it took me nearly a whole month to read it, but well worth my time. Highly recommended!