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GROUP READ: Time and Chance by Sharon Kay Penman

2013 Category Challenge

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Apr 4, 2013, 11:25am Top

Hi, all! I figured I'd start the thread for the April group read of Sharon Kay Penman's Time and Chance. I personally won't get to the book until later this month, but I look forward to reading it and discussing it with you all!

Apr 4, 2013, 1:03pm Top

Thanks for starting the thread, Christina. I've started it, but keep getting distracted so haven't made it very far yet.

Apr 4, 2013, 3:55pm Top

I'll be joining in, but also not until later this month. Looking forward to it though!

Apr 4, 2013, 4:25pm Top

I will be joining this one but not for another week. I am still reading Big Rock Candy Mountain from last month.

Apr 4, 2013, 4:57pm Top

I'm in! Started it last weekend and will probably read more of it this weekend.

Apr 4, 2013, 11:03pm Top

I'll be starting shortly.

Apr 4, 2013, 11:44pm Top

I'll be reading this later on in the month as well.

Apr 5, 2013, 10:27am Top

I'll probably start it sometime next week.

Apr 5, 2013, 10:43am Top

Almost finished but will wait for others before I comment.

Apr 5, 2013, 6:07pm Top

Wow, Ann! I have to read Fountainhead first before I really work on T&C

Apr 8, 2013, 2:58pm Top

I did start a couple days before April but I just love this series.

Edited: Apr 16, 2013, 10:05am Top

I now have a good start on this book. I have been doing lots of reading of historical fiction set in The England of the medieval period this spring so this one fits right in. At times I find her writing a little on the fluffy side but it still tells the story.

It is amusing to me that Eleanor's job is to produce babies when she could be administering her huge lands by herself. And their ideas about childbirth! I am so glad that I don't live back then.

Apr 15, 2013, 11:23pm Top

I'm finally starting this tonight -- looking forward to it!

Apr 18, 2013, 9:21am Top

I'm about 1/3 through and having a hard time putting it down.
I've always had a fascination with this period and the writing just keeps dragging me along, I keep saying 1 more chapter!


I'm not sure whether Becket was really a holy man or just plain stubborn. It seems to me that the idea of separate courts for the religious was the main issue and if the offenders were no longer considered religious then Henry had every right to sentence them for their crime. A lot like the Catholic Church hiding the offenders in present day.

Apr 18, 2013, 11:05am Top

Yes cyderry I said the same thing in my own head about Thomas Beckett if he was truely a holy man it was later on in his life.

Apr 18, 2013, 7:03pm Top

The dispute between Henry and the church over the church's failure to prosecute wrongdoing among the clergy was one that went on and on. Henry wanted justice, and of course some of the revenues, but mostly he thought that clergy should be subject to the laws of the land. I agree with cyderry in that this is a dispute that is very modern as the essence of the problem is still with us today.

Apr 18, 2013, 11:13pm Top

I'm about 1/3 of the way through as well. The disputes between Henry and Thomas are fascinating (though a bit tedious to read at times)! I'd like to hear more from Thomas' point of view so that I could understand his motivation better, but it seems like Penman isn't going to go inside his head like she does with Henry.

I also can't help being reminded of a similar showdown between Henry VIII and Thomas More about the proper relationship between church and crown. Funny how history can repeat itself!

Apr 19, 2013, 10:42am Top

I had forgotten about St. Thomas More. Who could forget that powerful movie Man For All Seasons? And yes, that conflict was much about the same thing. Which reminds me that I have Dissolution by C. J. Sansom to read. I want to also do a reread of Green Darkness because that is also about the Dissolution of the Monasteries and Churches in England. But will stick with Henry and St. Thomas Becket for now. But history is so interesting and it is so easy to get distracted.

Apr 24, 2013, 10:52am Top

I finished this yesterday! Haven't had time to write a review yet, but I really liked it overall. It was more of a page-turner than I thought it would be...I'm a big Penman fan, but I always think of her books as hefty medieval tomes. I'm really excited to read Devil's Brood now, because I can't wait to see what happens with Henry and Eleanor's children!

Apr 27, 2013, 12:34am Top

Almost finished - have less than 100 pages hopefully, I'll finish this weekend. I'm really enjoying it!

Apr 27, 2013, 10:44am Top

I had a bit of trouble getting through the first half, but now I'm in March 1168 and the pace is picking up. For Eleanor's sake I hope she doesn't have any more kids.

Last week a tree associated with Owain Gwynedd and Henry II was in the news; unfortunately, it was because it had blown down in a storm. A shame! Such a lovely tree.


Edited: Apr 27, 2013, 11:23pm Top

I guess this tree can join the ranks of the recent fallen ancients in Britain. I had just finished reading Mists of Avalon and somebody cut all the branches off the Glastonbury Thorn! Now the last tree from the Ceiriog Forest goes down? Perhaps my reading is cursed?

However, I did notice that both the newspaper articles stated that Henry II cut down the Cieriog Forest. Penman doesn't say that in the book. She says that Henry had is army cut a road with wide verges through the forest. It took centuries after Henry to deforest Wales. No doubt Henry helped but he didn't cut the entire forest down. He only cut what allowed him and his army to get safely through to the ridgeland above the forest. What he did reminded me of the U.S. military and the Agent Orange campaigns in Vietnam. Likewise in that campaign large areas were deforested but the entire jungle of Vietnam was not destroyed.

I know it is a technicality, but it bugs me when things get overstated. Looking back on what Henry did we think it was terrible but he probably thought there was no problem with cutting down a few trees among the millions that were in Wales at the time.

Apr 27, 2013, 11:12pm Top

FINISHED! Can't wait for July and the next installment.

I knew the history but the writing really brought it alive!

Apr 28, 2013, 8:42am Top

Very true! Even if he wanted to cut down the entire forest it would probably have taken forever with 12th-century technology.

I finished the book yesterday as well and am glad I persevered. What an ending!

May 1, 2013, 10:38pm Top

So has everyone finished? are we ready to talk?

May 2, 2013, 12:11pm Top

I am ready.

May 2, 2013, 6:56pm Top

Anybody who hasn't finished?

May 4, 2013, 10:04pm Top

I am disappointed in this author. I have now read two of her books and find her interpretations standard and her characterizations wooden. The books are too long and they run out of steam early. To put it bluntly, for me this is old history and the author has not brought anything new to the table. I am not sure if I will read the next one in this series. Perhaps I expected more from this series and so was set up for disappointment? My old copy of Henry IIby W. L. Warren published back in the 1970's was more interesting than this book.

In this book, the only characters who made me want to know more were Henry II and Maud, Countess of Chester. Everybody else was a wooden stock character.

the book was far too long. It could have been edited and shortened and been a better book.

As was stated earlier in this thread, there were some interesting and currently relevant topics in this book and the state/church dispute made me think that everything old is new again.

Jul 13, 2013, 7:45pm Top

It took me a long while to finish this one, just couldn't get motivated to read it. I'm also getting a bit jaded by the writing style though find the time period interesting enough that I'll keep reading the books. I was also interested in the state/church dispute.
One of my favourite recent historical fiction reads was Credo by Melvyn Bragg which covers the early 7th century church politics in England.

Jul 14, 2013, 2:22am Top

Just took a look at the next book, Devil's Brood and wow, it's over 800 pgs.

Jul 15, 2013, 5:46pm Top

I went and got Devil's Brood from the library and just couldn't get motivated to start it. Maybe in a week or so it will call to me, but I had to return it because it was due already.

Sep 3, 2013, 5:05pm Top

Well, I'm months and months late to this, but I finally started and finished this. As with all of Penman's books, I very much enjoyed it, but I have to say that I didn't like how much she relied on the fictional Ranulf. I like that she generally stays to real life characters and as much as I liked Ranulf, I think she could have done the book without him.

Other than that I liked it and am looking forward to the next book.

Group: 2013 Category Challenge

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