Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Review: The Brothers of Gwynedd - Edith Pargeter


Pages: 722
Published: May 1st 2010 Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Historical fiction

A Burning Desire for One Country, One Love, and One Legacy That Will Last Forever.

Llewelyn, prince of Gwynedd, dreams of a Wales united against the English, but first he must combat enemies nearer home. Llewelyn and his brothers—Owen Goch, Rhodri, and David—vie for power among themselves and with the English king, Henry III. Despite the support of his beloved wife, Eleanor, Llewelyn finds himself trapped in a situation where the only solution could be his very downfall.

Originally published in England as four individual novels, The Brothers of Gwynedd transports you to a world of chivalry, gallant heroes, and imprisoned damsels; to star-crossed lovers and glorious battle scenes; and is Edith Pargeter’s absorbing tale of tragedy, traitors, and triumph of the heart.

I am a part of Sourcebooks Summer reading club, and we will read this big book over the summer, and have a few chats along the way. This is then a review of the first book, Sunrise in the West.
The first Blog Chat Night will take place on May 24th at 7:00pm EST and is hosted by Amy of Passages of the Past.Join us there.

I do confess that I am pretty happy to only have read book 1 so far because this book is pretty big, but then there are four novels in it.

This is the story of 4 brothers, with the focus on Llewelyn ap Gruffyd, he is the second born son to Gruffyd ap Llewelyn. The Welsh did not look at bastards like the English did, but because of who Llewlyn the Great was married to, an English Princess, it was the second born son that took the throne of Gwynedd and Gruffyd was not happy about that. There was war, and Gruffyd and his oldest son Owen was inprisoned. Later on they were again imprisoned in England together with his wife Senena, and their sons Rhodri and David. Only Llewlyn managed to stay in Wales and grew up fighting, and later fighting the English.

Sounds complicated? Well that is history. Later when all brothers are back, and the former Prince David is gone they divide the kingdom between each other, and well that is never a good idea. Because they all want a piece and Llewelyn understand how Wales should stand united against the English that is breathing down their necks.

This book follows the childhood, and up to their adulthood when they are all back in Wales. It is very much a brother against brother story, as it is Wales against England. The English who do not understand their customs.

My favourite part, haha, they mentioned Mur-y-Castell, because they were riding there, I mean I had to love them mentioning the name of my blog.

But this is also a very heavy book, the language felt very, 50s,60s 70s? Old, in a way written back then and it was written in the 70s. It's not an easy book to read, it can be a bit dry. I have no problems with Welsh names, surnames and place, I did choose my blogname for a reason, so that is not the problem. It was more her way of writing.

This is then a book for the hardcore historical fans because I promise that it is filled with history. And all seen through the eyes of Samson, who later becomes the scribe of Llewellyn. And you will certainly learn a lot.

There are plenty of other reviews to check out as the tour continues:

May 18 Reviews

Between the Pages 
And there are more dates :)


  1. Hey honey, just popping in over here to say hi!! To see how you are doing! What a great review honey! Your book choices always amaze me!

    I hope all is well honey!!! Hugs to you!

  2. I couldn't participate in this reading series as the book really intimidated me to read over the whole summer! I think many say that the language is a bit hard and the writing kind of dry. That's sad :-(

    Have you read Sharon Kay Penman's Welsh trilogy, beginning with Here be Dragons? That is a FABULOUS book! I didn't like the second or third nearly as much.

  3. I just love big historical books like that:) I will have to look for it in the stores.

  4. Hi Cecile,
    Always happy to see you here hon :)
    Yes me and my books, I can't stick to one genre, I love to be all over the place.

    Couldn't be better! We have summer weather, it is freaky and amazing.

  5. Aarti
    It does feel a bit intimidating, it will sit there for months, wow. But I will not read it all at once, must read it piece by piece.

    Nope, have not read those, should check them out, since I am obviously in love with Wales

    Then it will sure be a good read for you. And it sure is big

  6. Dang, this sounds epic!

  7. Somehow I think the first book may have been the easiest but we shall see as we go!

  8. Chris
    The Welsh are epic ;)

    Oh really, hm, well we will wait and see :)

  9. Oh wow! You're so brave for reading a book that's over 700 pages! I'm in awe here, honey! :)

  10. This should be fun!! I'm looking forward to hearing more about this book during the summer!

  11. Janna
    Lol, it's nothing, I am used to it, fantasy book can be rather chunky

    Stay tuned cos there will be more, Late June, July and come August

  12. I definitely agree that the language feels old, but then at the moment I am reading a book that is older than this and doesn't feel it! I think it is just the author's style.

    I would also highly recommend the Sharon Kay Penman books - awesome, awesome author!

  13. Thanks for the honest review!! Hmmm, sounds so long! Also, I can see how the 70's style language might be a bit hard to get through.

  14. Marg,
    Very interesting, and I am seeing comments about Penman everywhere so will have a look at it

  15. The title of this one always grabs my attention. That being said, it's long and from what you said about the writing style, probably one I'll skip.

  16. Reading this one over such a short period seemed too daunting to me, so I'm not participating. I'm looking forward to following the posts, though.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  17. I am a huge fan of historybooks, historical novels, even though I don't read them enough I still love those books. This book sounds good, but really heavy and maybe even too difficult for me to read it in English. I wait till it gets translated into Dutch. Thanks for the great review.

  18. Historical fiction? Not so much mine. But I love the book club idea. Sounds interesting.
    HAve fun with that hon!

  19. Carol,
    Aye long it is, it's not a book you just sit down with. But instead a book you can read those "chapters" and get back to it later.

    I will keep you updated over the summer :)

    Hm, I wouldn't say that the language is tricky, so you should be able to read it ok.

    The club idea is such a fun idea :D
    Yeah you are more about the future ;)

  20. have fun with the reading club!
    This sounds like a really good read.



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