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)
"Katherine" was the first work of historical fiction that I ever read - when I was about 13 and I discovered it in my high school library. I absolutely adored it, and borrowed it so frequently that I don't think anyone else had a chance to read it! It was the beginning of a life long love affair with historical fiction, especially fiction set in the English royal courts and tinged with romance (though I'm not a " mass market historical romance" fan) .
A few years ago, I found the same hard cover version from my old library in a used book store and bought it, rereading it many times. And the older I get (I'm now 52), the more I appreciate this wonderful story of a love that survives the years.
So, I was delighted to find that "Katherine" is now available as an audio book. And it's terrific. Wanda does the story justice with a lovely reading. Immerse yourself in it, and be whisked back to 14th century England and a great story of politics, family, intrigue, and love. I know you'll enjoy it as much as I did.
I almost didn't get this book because it was written in the 1950s and I was afraid it might be stuffy and dated, but I took a chance and was well rewarded. Excellent historical fiction; just right if you want some romance and a good story with your fiction but not the cheesy bad writing and predictability of a bodice-ripper. My only complaint is that there are no other Anya Seton books available on Audible. I would love to be able to listen to all of them.
If a reader is looking for a love story that is also a solid, interesting piece of history, I recommend this book. I found myself considering the tedious research that obviously went into writing this story, because the details are impressive. Four stars, only because (at times) the details were lengthy, but certainly not to the point of distraction. I really enjoyed listening to this book.
This was one of the most interesting biographies I've read in a long time. Anya Setons is an excellent writer. What make this such a wonderful book is the in-depth research Mrs. Seton did in writing it.
I loved learning that Kathrine Swynford and John of Gauld's love affair and the birth of their illegitimate children were the beginning of the great Tudor dynasty.
"Katherine," the story of Katherine Swynford, the mistress and eventual wife of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, is a glorious example of historical fiction. Intrinsically romantic, but firmly based on known history, "Katherine" throws light on a great love story that took place during the fascinating period in English history spanning the reigns of Edward III and Richard II. Ms. Seton is a wonderful writer and provides enough detail to allow you to feel a part of the Middle Ages, including the warmth of the nobles' ermine and glitter of the knights' gold-inlaid armor, as well as the reek of the pigyard just outside the castle keep. Moreover, she does not force her protagonists to voice overtly modern sentiments, which is such a common fault in historical novels written today. I'm willing to bet that some of our greatest new authors, like Philippa Gregory, have a treasured copy of "Katherine" in their bookshelves.
A true tale told with life and knowledge.
well researched of a tumultous time in history
McCaddon's nuanced reading brought each of the many complex characters to life.
Real lives of influence in influential times than shaped history and good love story to boot
I visited Katherine's grave in Lincoln and atop the marble effigy was the note, "This is the Katherine of Anya Seton's book Katherine." Seton researched the lives and times so well if you are studying British History this book will give you a wonderful context for understanding the tones and textures of Chaucer's England. (Chaucer was the brother in law of Katherine by the bye.)
I would highly recommend this audiobook. Wanda McCaddon did an excellent job giving a voice to each character in the book. I started the story all over again when it ended. I have never done that with an audiobook before. I didnt want to leave that world.
I liked how Katherine accepted what her circumstances were in life and learned to live with them no matter how difficult.
I liked Katherine and John. The story was about them so it wasn't hard to pick a favorite.
It was not a book I wanted to listen to in one sitting. The material was very heavy at times and I wanted to drag it out so it wouldn't end too soon. I don't think this is something you listen to for light reading.
This is a lovely work of historical fiction, well read and worth listening to. I highly recommend this audiobook for anyone who enjoys history and romance joined together.
Tell me a story
This is my favorite book of all-time! I will listen again and again. If you like historical fiction, download this right now! You won't regret it.
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!
I do enjoy historical fiction, but this one was very heavy on the details of the history of the period. I found my mind wandering and simply had trouble staying interested in all the details. I was more interested in Katherine and the other people in the story, but much of the book focused on the political and historical aspects of the time period. I am more interested in the personal side of the story.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
I have not listened to any other books narrated by Wanda McCaddon. She was wonderful! I will definitely look for her as a narrator in the future.
The narration was terrific and it was well researched. It also made me interested in learning more about the lives of Katherine and the other main characters in the story.
While I didn't love this book, it was well written, well researched and well narrated. For lovers of historical fiction who like the emphasis to be on the history and not on the personal, this one is a winner!
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