Here be Dragons - Sharon Kay Penman This book probably deserves more than 5 stars just for the depth of research and mind-boggling amount of information that is contained within its pages. Penman clearly knows her stuff! That said, there were times where information was just sort of dumped in short paragraphs to cover jumps in time that read a bit heavy. Although admittedly I can't imagine any way anyone could have gotten around that when trying to cover such a long span of time and going into such detail. So it probably couldn't be helped. Be prepared for a huge cast of characters in this book that cover generations and that then share names and titles. It can get confusing.

I have to say this book damn near broke my heart at times. I suppose thats a sign of a good book though, right? I literally lost sleep over certain parts (and maybe missed some work as well), most notably during the last 100 pages. I love historical fiction, but I often read as a form of escapism so don't typically like things too heavy. And perhaps that has made me soft and not as able to appreciate a realistic relationship between two people because I felt that Llewelyn and Joanna fought too much. I felt that Penman wrote about their quarrels so much more frequently than the good times that I couldn't feel the love between them as much. Or maybe I'm just not very good as appreciating a more subtle romance and prefer to have so much romance shoved down my throat that I practically choke on it :) Whatever the case may be, it wasn't until the very very end that I truly appreciated their love for each other.

I knew beforehand about the "scandal" that occurs in the last 100 pages of the book and was worried about how Penman would handle that because I thought the character she had created and the actions of the actual person wouldn't feel logical, but I thought she pulled it off really well. Penman created believable characters that coincide with the accounts that we have of them. John was a really interesting character to read about given that my main source of information on him came from Robin Hood. So it was interesting to see this different, and probably more realistic, depiction of him.

I loved learning about Wales. I know so little, feel like it is so overlooked, but so interesting. And now I just want to know more!

This book is very good, but exhaustive. I just finished reading it and feel like I need to take a break before I pick up my next book!