Set in the vibrant 14th century of Chaucer and the Black Death, the classic romance Katherine features knights fighting in battle, serfs struggling in poverty, and the magnificent Plantagenets - Edward III, the Black Prince, and Richard II - who ruled despotically over a court rotten with intrigue.
Within this era of danger and romance, John of Gaunt, the king's son, falls passionately in love with the already married Katherine. Their well-documented affair and love persist through decades of war, adultery, murder, loneliness, and redemption. This epic novel of conflict, cruelty, and untamable love has become a classic since its first publication in 1954.
©1954, renewed 1982 Anya Seton Chase (P)2011 Tantor
"Seton breathes life into this little-documented historical fact… a glorious example of romance in its most classic literary sense." (The Austin Chronicle)
Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!
The Katherine of the title is Katherine Swynford (1350-1403), an important figure in English history as she is the ancestress of many royal figures, and also, incidentally, sister-in-law to Geoffrey Chaucer, who married her sister Philippa. There are few known facts about what kind of woman Katherine was, which gave Seton plenty of leeway to turn her into a beautiful, strong-willed woman. Married off at a young age to a knight she actively disliked, she nonetheless caught the eye of John of Gaunt, of the House of Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Lancaster, the third son of King Edward III. They were lovers over a great number of years and had 4 bastard children, named Beaufort, and eventually married in 1396, three years before the passing of the duke. While their relationship is at the heart of the novel, it is much more than a romance novel, as Seton did a wonderful job of bringing the 14th century vividly to life with rich detail, and putting the story firmly in the context of important historical events. Strongly recommended for fans of historical fiction and solid narration by Wanda McCaddon, aka Nadia May.
Ive read and reread this story since I was in high school back in the 60's....its a wonderful story albeit not entirely accurate....I dont think you will be disappointed...Anya Seton is a great author. I will be re-listening to this again and again, too....
I first read this book nearly 50 years ago and have just listened to it for the second time in the last year or so. It is neither a bodice ripper, nor an adventure story, nor is it fast paced.
It is, to me, a richly textured, deeply researched, historical novel which also happens to be one of the great romances of all time. It is a book which needs to be read quietly, with minimal distractions, in order to keep the complex interrelationships of both people and politics sorted out, and to appreciate and enjoy the cultural and literary subtexts which have made the book an enduring pleasure.
I'd really like to hear some more Anya Setons - I read most if not all of them many years ago, and would enjoy the opportunity to "read" them again.
The narrator does a very creditable job and I only wish that there were more like her.
I would listen again because the characters and story are so compelling, and the narrator was stupendous!
Yes - I could not stop listening!
If you like historical fiction, buy this book now!
I do enjoy novels about the middle ages and how an author can make the people, places and situations seem very much like modern times with the characters going about their daily activities. It helps to have some historical facts as background, and these characters were supposed to have been the start of the Tudors. The story was just nice, with a few twists and turns but nothing to get your teeth into. I stopped and started several times and never felt like I couldn't wait to find out what was happening next. The reader however, was excellent! She did so many voices, all different with much perfect French and varied English accents. Her own voice was quite a pleasant listen and probably one of the few reasons I finished the book.. All in all, not bad, but not great!
This is a charming historic fiction novel, clearly created to paint a very rosy picture of Katherine. I mean, really, no one is THAT perfect!
Well, naturally Katherine is my favorite, though the inclusion of Chaucer was quite charming. I also liked her performance of John of Gaunt.
If you are interested in British historical fiction, give this a listen. While not an accurate recitation of this time period, it is an excellent escape from the 'here and now' and filled with interesting tidbits about life in medieval England and France.
I have read Anya Seton's Green Darkness, at least 5 times. Her historical fiction is spot on, historically speaking. Her characters and places are so vivid, I feel like I know them and can see them in my mind's eye. Katherine is no different.
I knew that Katherine would be excellent. I was whisked away to the days of Geoffrey Chaucer's England. The story is not about Chaucer per se but the travails of his tragic sister-in-law, Katherine.
Katherine is an amazing heroine. If I understand correctly her character and much of the story line is based on the known history of the time. Many of the people and places I was able to look for and find in history.
Katherine is a love story, a tragedy and a wonderful example of historical fiction.
An excellent read if you enjoy historical fiction and that period in history. I highly recommend it!
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Great reader. The book kept my attention. However, thought I purchased a historical novel and romance not exactly my thing.
Great read for those who do want a romance.
Seton's portrayal of Katherine Swynford is of a strong and resourceful woman who made choices about her own life rather than waiting for someone else to make choices for her. The historical context is well done, and Seton's characters really come alive.
I loved the detail, the historical perspective, and the character development.
I have just started "listening" to books and this was very enjoyable.
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