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)
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
Katherine is not just a love story set in a historical setting, the love affair between Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt lasted decades and changed the course of European history. The two became the ancestors of the Tudor line of England and the forebears of many other significant European rulers and historical figures. Seton meticulously researched this book and pieced together a biography of Katherine Swynford that not only accurately documents a fascinating period of time - the end of the Plantagenet rule in England - but sucks the reader into a love affair that changed history.
I have loved this book for so long so perhaps no narrator could quite measure up to my expectations of what it deserves on audio. However, I was a bit disappointed in Wanda McCaddon. This book is very focused on Katherine's long love affair with John of Gaunt, but it is a serious piece of historical fiction and I didn't think that McCaddon's rather melodramatic delivery quite did it justice. However, McCaddon is easy to understand and this is a great book so overall, the narration was acceptable.
One of the greatest love stories of all time - highly recommended!
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.
I read Katherine in the 70's, but I think audio in general is better than the print. Biased a bit here.
The historical relevance of Katherine's life to the monarchy. This is faithful historical fiction, and detail was paramount to believably.
When John kissed Katherine after her wedding, and thought, "Oh,my!"
Probably Katherine herself. She and I have a lot in common, so our dialogue would be relaxed.
This was my first Anya Seton book. I got it on a lark, and I'm so very glad I did. What a great writer. I really enjoyed the love story of Katherine and Robert. It was well told.
Say something about yourself!
Not possible; her complex journey from child to death is riveting
Vivid counterpoint plots of Chaucer, Katherine, John of Gaunt, Tyler's rebellion
Katherine; however her rendition of peasants to nobility is flawless
No; to be savored a couple of chapters at a time
Author and narrator offer the reader a 5 star experience; you'll reread often
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.
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