This book was published in 1989 but I never heard of it until Oprah had it as a book club selection this past year. Then my friend Aisling lent it to me this summer along with a bunch of other books, and she told me both she and her husband really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to reading it.
At 1076 pages, it is a very thick book and a great one to keep at the side of your bed and read a bit in every night. The advantage to it being so thick is that, even if you get swept up in the story and want to keep reading late into the night, you know there is no possible way you can reach the end so you give up quicker and leave it for the next night and get more sleep! At least that's how it was for me.
And I did get swept up in the story, but at the same time I was able to take my time (a real feat for me) and savor it. At times it has the feel of a trashy romance novel, especially in the numerous rape scenes, but aside from that, it is an epic historical novel, following priests, builders, townspeople, earls, knights and the politics of a town in medieval England that is building a cathedral. I especially enjoyed the connection to real English history with the ups and downs of the crown and how it affected the local people. A great read!