Friday, May 8, 2020

Review: The Land Beyond the Sea by Sharon Kay Penman

Release Date: March 3, 2020

This is a biographical novel of the sadly short and painful life of Baldwin IV, King of Jerusalem, also known as the Leper King, but as ever with Penman's novels, it's a multidimensional story told from the points of view of many fascinating characters. It perfectly balances the personal and intimate stories of the characters with the political and historical events.

So much was thrust onto poor Baldwin's shoulders from such a young age, yet he not only weathered it with more maturity than someone twice his age, he proved to be an exceptional leader, in spite of, or perhaps because of his ailment.

Agnes, Baldwin's mother, is portrayed somewhat as an antagonist, but as with all of Penman's novels, it's never that black and white. All the characters are multifaceted, with fleshed out backgrounds that make them so human and relatable.

I did feel like the plot dragged a little in the middle, but that could just be because I'm struggling with what's going on in the world and haven't been in the mood to read, plus I was sick for 4 weeks. I'd really planned to have this done before the release date.

Advanced review copy from publisher via Edelweiss. My opinions are my own.

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