Friday, February 17, 2012

Daschunds, Plantagenets, and Mystery

February is my least favorite month. It usually is a snow-laden month one just has to get through until the March promise of spring. This year that promise has come early. We've had such a mild winter here. But that means dogs with muddy feet tracking up the house. Oh, well.

Speaking of dogs....we've had a fourth dog for a week. Bud's daughter, Stephanie had a business conference to go to, so we had Tater, a mini long-haired daschund. Poor thing missed Steph so much, she just wasn't her usual perky self. Archie was not pleased either. Tater is very much a ladies' dog and loves laps. Archie was displaced and I received many disappointed and puzzled looks. Here's Tater in the yard last summer.

She's a definite cutie and super sweet, but like most daschunds, she's a bit of a diva. She rules the roost and all must be attendant to her needs. I don't mind at all, but Dusty, Brandy and, particularly, Archie are not amused. They get along, there were no fights, but distance is always preferred.

So, along with being Keeper for four dogs this month, I've been racing (well, trying to race - these are long books) through Sharon Kay Penman's Welsh Trilogy. I've gotten through the first two: Here Be Dragons and Falls the Shadow. They are fascinating historical fiction tracing the friction and wars between the Welsh Princes and the royals of England during the 13th century. The intricacies and bloody cruelty of inter-related noble families abounds! And we think we have family friction, black sheep and power plays today! Yikes! I shuddered over each time that a marriage took place between a thirty to fifty something man to a ten to fourteen year old young girl cousin! Ick! But it was all too common back then.

There was so much to cover in these books that I wonder if Ms. Penman might have been better served to focus more than she did and break the trilogy into a longer series. Her writing is best when focusing on the relationships of Llewellyn Fawr of Wales and his wife, Joanna, King John's daughter in Here Be Dragons or Simon de Montfort and his wife, Nell, King Henry's sister, in Falls the Shadow. But so very much happens around them and their families that I don't know if it would have been possible to do. These books were an amazing accomplishment and I highly recommend them to anyone interested in the Plantagenet reigns.

Now I'm heading into some lighter reading before I read the last in Penman's trilogy. I just started Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy mysteries. I'll let you know later what I think of them.


Michelle said...

I think I've read "Here be Dragons" or maybe... something like it. I checked out book 2 and I don't recognise the story at all, but I know/remember it was a trology about the Welsh Princes.

There's something crushingly depressing about the age, when you get into the actual details of real life, death, marriage and other things like torture and wars.

Not sure I'd want to go reading historical fact-based fiction again.

As for Tater.. she is a cutie, but Archie is cuter. :-D

Betty Lindholm Navta said...

Michelle ~
Yes, it is depressing. That's why I opted for some lighter reading before I headed into the third book. It is fascinating, though.

As for Archie...right now he looks a ragamuffin. Needs a haircut badly and has put on a little winter tummy since he hasn't been running about the yard as much. Spring should trim him down, tho. :o)