I'm attempting to go back to one title per entry here, for ease of tagging.
Title: When Christ and His Saints Slept
Author: Sharon Kay Penman
# of Pages: 768
Publisher: Ballantine Books
I thought I’d like this book, but I REALLY did not. Penman’s novel about the war between King Stephen and Empress Maud in 1100s England was long and repetitive. Usually, I thoroughly enjoy Penman’s novels, set as they are in Medieval Britain. For instance, her first novel, The Sunne in Splendour, was my first entry on this blog, and I LOVED that book.
But it seems like Penman’s novels are beginning to repeat the same sorts of stories over and over again. There’s always the scene in which one of the character learns about the laws of Wales and how they differ from the laws of other countries. The scene in which we learn how Jews were treated in Medieval Europe. Usually a scene involving the wedding night, in which one of the “heroes” of the story kindly finds a way for him and his bride to escape the “ribald jests” that accompany a medieval wedding night. I can see how Penman wants us to get a feel for the era, but having very similar scenes in multiple books is not the way to do it.
Also, When Christ and His Saints Slept is a book that focuses on a war that lasted about twenty years. Medieval warfare consisted mainly of: battle, siege, starvation, pillaging, escape. Repeat as necessary. Therefore, SKP’s book consistent of battle, siege, starvation, pillaging, escape. For a good 700+ pages. I found it tedious and tiresome and was very happy when I got to the end- after, I admit, skimming a goodly portion of the last 50 pages or so.