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Katherine Audiobook
Katherine
Written by: 
Anya Seton
Narrated by: 
Wanda McCaddon
 >   > 
Katherine Audiobook

Katherine: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"Seton breathes life into this little-documented historical fact… a glorious example of romance in its most classic literary sense." (The Austin Chronicle)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (535 )
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  •  
    Ilana Montreal, Quebec, Canada 07-06-12
    Ilana Montreal, Quebec, Canada 07-06-12 Member Since 2016

    Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!

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    "Historical Fiction at it's Best"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tango Texas 01-26-15
    Tango Texas 01-26-15

    Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.

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    "A Love Story that Changed History"

    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!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. L. Lederman 07-18-16 Member Since 2016

    leahiniowa

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    "What was Old is New Again."

    Sometimes I avoid old classics due to fear that I will be disappointed when I finally do read or listen to them. This rarely happens. In the case of this novel, I had the impression that it was written for young people. It wasn't until I read a review of a modern historical novel about Katherine Swynford in which the reviewer stated that Seton's Katherine was still the definitive novel written about Swynford.

    I had always thought of Katherine Swynford as the Duchess of Lancaster, mother to kings. I imagined her as having high status in the court of Edward III. I was completely wrong. (Well, almost completely.)

    In fact, the Duke of Lancaster (John of Gaunt), though the son of Edward III, attained the title due to his first wife - Blanche of Lancaster. Katherine was married to another knight, Hugh Swynford. Katherine and the Duke apparently began to fall in love while both of them were married to their first spouses. When Blanche died, the two of them acknowledged their feelings but held back until Hugh died. At this point the Duke had three children (?) and Katherine had two, the first, a daughter, named Blanche after the Duchess.

    The two became lovers despite the fact that the Duke planned to marry Princess Constanza of Castile. Over several years, the two had four children, who were given the surname Beaufort. When Katherine and all their children were at the Savoy Palace, Richard was called away to battle overseas. The plan was for Katherine and the children to follow him to Orleans.

    Unfortunately, Katherine and her oldest daughter were unable to leave with the rest of the family. During this time, a peasants' revolt, called the rising, ended with the deaths of many of the nobility and the utter destruction of the Savoy. Catherine and her daughter became separated.

    These events drove Katherine into religious fanatacism. Eventually she found peace and returned to the Swynford manor home, where she lived with her children. Various events kept John and Katherine separate, until they finally married and their children legitimized, By this time her children and his were grown. One of her daughters, named Joan, married Ralph Neville, a nobleman who couldn't marry her before due to her bastard status.. Her daughter, Cecily Neville, married Richard Plantagenet, the Duke of York.

    Of John of Gaunt's three wives, were born three different royal dynasties: Blanche's son Henry, became Henry IV. Constanza's daughter, Catalina, married the Prince of Castile, and Katherine's descendants not only included Edward IV (York) but Henry Tudor (Lancaster - through Margaret Beaufort). Those representatives of the Red and White Roses were combined through marriage into the Tudor dynasty.

    Even though this is a lot of information, I am only skimming the surface of this comprehesive, engrossing work.

    I very, very highly recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Hebberd Walsh CO 06-16-16
    Michelle Hebberd Walsh CO 06-16-16 Member Since 2012

    Michelle

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    "Historical fiction as it should be done!"
    If you could sum up Katherine in three words, what would they be?

    Accurate, insightful, fascinating


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Katherine is my favorite character because she is real. She has faults, but she is tenacious, strong, and usually does the right thing. She was a real person in history who is fascinating.


    Which character – as performed by Wanda McCaddon – was your favorite?

    Katharine


    Who was the most memorable character of Katherine and why?

    Katharine and John of Gaunt


    Any additional comments?

    Anya Seton is historical fiction right. Her books are meticulously researched and historically accurate, and she brings the characters to life. Her books are mesmerizing. I've read her books numerous times and am now listening to what I can find on audio books. I would love to find My Theodosia and The Turquoise on audio book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Mulvenna 02-09-16

    barbara

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    "Historical Romance"

    Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt were pivotal to the future of dynastic reign in England. This is a good story and if well researched, still a little too much romance for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lance Moore AL 09-18-15
    Lance Moore AL 09-18-15 Member Since 2016
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    "I felt I knew the characters and liked them!"
    If you could sum up Katherine in three words, what would they be?

    escape, indulge, enjoy


    What did you like best about this story?

    The meticulous details without being boring. Felt Like I knew the characters and was familiar with the place and time.


    Have you listened to any of Wanda McCaddon’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, and I found her pleasant and was part of the story


    If you could take any character from Katherine out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Katherine, I admire her strength and honesty


    Any additional comments?

    I was sad when I finished the book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Morgan Hill, US, Canada 09-01-15
    Amazon Customer Morgan Hill, US, Canada 09-01-15
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    "Enthralling retelling of English royal history "

    The focus of the story is John of Gaunt and his relationship with Katherine. Many episodes of wars, uprisings, treachery, blame and forgiveness pepper the tale of their love and many separations, with stories based on historical events but amplified by the author's skill in storytelling. A worthwhile read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L L 06-12-15
    L L 06-12-15 Member Since 2014

    private shopper

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    "Great story"

    Life and times of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster's Lady Love, Catherine. Enjoyed the story, you will too!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 02-26-15
    Nancy ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 02-26-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Rich and Satisfying"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Katherine to be better than the print version?

    I read Katherine in the 70's, but I think audio in general is better than the print. Biased a bit here.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The historical relevance of Katherine's life to the monarchy. This is faithful historical fiction, and detail was paramount to believably.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When John kissed Katherine after her wedding, and thought, "Oh,my!"


    If you could take any character from Katherine out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Probably Katherine herself. She and I have a lot in common, so our dialogue would be relaxed.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Evelyn Starr 02-16-15 Member Since 2012
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    "What a great story"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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