Happy Birthday to Ms. Sharon Kay Penman, my favourite author of historical fiction, who was born on August 13. Ms. Penman has brought the Young King vividly to life in her Devil's Brood and I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to meet her Hal- as the Young King is called in the novel- and Ms. Penman herself, the experience that made me return to the long-forgotten Angevin domains. I developed an interest in Eleanor, Henry and their tempestuous family in my late teens- then I also met their eldest surviving son- but later somehow left their realm for eleven years! Ms. Penman's novel Time and Chance, which I came across purely by chance, was a driving force behind my return. I felt deeply honoured and extremely excited when she started to reply to my comments on her brilliant blog and this hasn't changed, for every single word, every e-mail written to me makes me feel like a child receiving a long-awaited Christmas gift. There would never be enough "Thank you!" to express my gratitude. Happy Birthday!
Henry the Young King has had a special brithday charter issued for Ms. Penman on the occasion. Let me quote:
Henry, by the grace of God, king of England, Duke of Normandy and Count of Anjou (aka Hal), to my fair Lady Sharon, greeting. Know that I have conceded and granted, and by my present charter confirmed that on the occasion of your brithday you receive one of my Salisbury mews and one of my gyrfalcons for mentioning "one lock allowed to curl fashionably" on to my forehead, my "vivid blue eyes" and "the stylish pointed cup with a turned-up brim embroidered in gold thread" (Devil's Brood, Chapter Two, p.19, UK edition).
Ms. Penman's youngest fan, Helenka (aged one)
Note: Here are two wonderful reviews of Devil's Brood by Ms Cristina Beans Picón and by Mr John Hinson. Highly recommendable.