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Katherine: A Novel | [Anya Seton]

Katherine: A Novel

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.
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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

4.3 (443 )
5 star
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4.3 (374 )
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4.4 (372 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Patricia 06-01-11
    Patricia 06-01-11
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    "Wonderful the 2nd time around, forty years later!"

    "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.

    26 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caroline Hollywood, SC, United States 05-09-11
    Caroline Hollywood, SC, United States 05-09-11 Member Since 2007
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    "Left me wanting more Anya Seton"

    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.

    21 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Holly Mo 03-23-11
    Holly Mo 03-23-11
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    "Nice balance of storyline with historical detail"

    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.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angelyn Lynn Haven, FL, United States 04-22-11
    Angelyn Lynn Haven, FL, United States 04-22-11 Member Since 2008
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    "One of Seton's Best"

    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.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gwynne Alexandria, VA, United States 04-22-12
    Gwynne Alexandria, VA, United States 04-22-12 Member Since 2006
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    "If you like Philippa Gregory's novels, try this!"

    "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.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wendilee United States 12-21-12
    wendilee United States 12-21-12
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    "Researched Historic Epic"
    What made the experience of listening to Katherine the most enjoyable?

    A true tale told with life and knowledge.


    What did you like best about this story?

    well researched of a tumultous time in history


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

    McCaddon's nuanced reading brought each of the many complex characters to life.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Real lives of influence in influential times than shaped history and good love story to boot


    Any additional comments?

    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.)

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Romi Los Angeles, CA USA 09-11-12
    Romi Los Angeles, CA USA 09-11-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Love after all..."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked how Katherine accepted what her circumstances were in life and learned to live with them no matter how difficult.


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

    I liked Katherine and John. The story was about them so it wasn't hard to pick a favorite.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jillian Mays Landing, NJ, United States 07-30-12
    Jillian Mays Landing, NJ, United States 07-30-12 Member Since 2012
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    "BUY IT NOW!!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I was so thrilled to find Katherine on Audible as it is one of my all-time favorite books. The love story between John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford is told beautifully and Wanda McCaddon reads it with the emotion and depth it deserves. Overall, I'd highly recommend this to anyone who wants to read a fictionalized account of a real-life love story.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. parkinson 07-11-11 Member Since 2015

    Hello

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beautiful!"

    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.

    12 of 13 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 3 people found this review helpful

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