Katherine comes to the court of Edward III at the age of 15. The naïve convent-educated orphan of a penniless knight is dazzled by the jousts and the entertainments of court. Nevertheless, Katherine is beautiful, and she turns the head of the King's favourite son John of Gaunt. But he is married, and she is soon to be betrothed. A few years later their paths cross again and this time their passion for each other cannot be denied or suppressed. Katherine becomes the prince's mistress, and discovers an extraordinary world of power, pleasure and passion.
©1954 Anya Seton (P)2009 ISIS Publishing Ltd
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"Please give us more Anya Seton!"
I was delighted to find 'Katherine' by Anya Seton on Audible after it being recommended to me so often by my mum, for whom Anya Seton is one of her favourite authors. I promptly downloaded it as my trial membership, the 24+ hours of listening would keep me occupied for a month or so, I thought. How wrong I was! I listened long into the night when I should have been sleeping and consequently got through the book in just over a week. That's how enjoyable I found the book!
It is beautifully read by Diana Bishop, who does a wonderful job with characters and accents, and little smatterings of French and Spanish here and there. It isn't until you hear a truly terrible narrator that you can really appreciate just how well some narrators do. I appreciated Diana Bishop all the more after listening to some samples in preparing my 'wish list' for when my full Audible membership commenced.
The tale itself is based on the real Katherine Swynford and the Duke of Lancaster, the ancestors of our Royal Family, and the love story between them. Anya Seton researchers the time well for historical accuracy and it really was a pleasure to listen to, so much so that I can see myself listening to it repeatedly, but at a slower pace next time in order that I can savour it!
If you enjoy Historical Fiction/Historical Romance, and the works of Jean Plaidy et al, then I think you will enjoy this book and I heartily recommend it.
I would love to see more unabridged works of Anya Seton on here please Audible, hopefully read by Diana Bishop again or another equally talented British voice!
"An enduring classic"
It was with great pleasure that I spotted "Katherine" in New Releases. I first read this book as a teenager and have re-read it many times since - I even took a copy of it with me on my honeymoon. If you like Sharon Penman and Philipa Gregory you will love this. The narrator is excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting yet another old friend courtesy of Audible.
....brilliant. I have read this book several times since I first bought it some forty years ago. That alone says how good it is !! I have never read any other book more than once, It was only recently that I realised that it was available to download, and having listened, can honestly say that despite knowing the story well, I still found it amazingly addictive. Probably not for the historical purist but still an informative and very well written novel. It was also very well narrated. I highly recommend this book.
"Passionate history, but don't be put off!"
I recently read Alison Weir's Katherine Swynford in which she refers to this novel as being, on the whole, historically accurate and, having never read it, was delighted to find it Audible.
I loved it; the characters are beautifully described and believable, even the minor ones, and Diana Bishop's reading brings them fantastically to life. It tells the story of the young Katherine from her arrival in London to the legacy of her children. The characters have such depth, none of the good man / bad man nonsense that I've found in other historical novels. They become as real as your friends and family, and the reality of poor living conditions and harsh treatment isn't skipped over in favour of romance.
It is passionate and romantic but it also tells the story of a turbulent time that drew me in so that I found it hard to switch off, and I felt I was there in a plague-stricken castle or at the burning of the Savoy.
John and Katherine's love is the spinal cord of the story but you will also find the fingerprints of heralds and pages and the voices of maids and lords and minstrels in this book.
"A totally absorbing blast from the past"
This was a joy to experience again! A favourite old book, beautifully read. I started to ration my listening time to prolong the pleasure. More Anya Seton NOW, please, from the same reader. The Winthrop Woman would be my choice!
"A new favourite..."
I'd never heard of Anya Seton and didn't really know what to expect of this audiobook, but all the positive reviews are well-deserved; the writing is strong, much more so than expected, much better than most the historical fiction these days, and the narrator did a lovely job. As another reviewer has said, more Anya Seton, please! I'd also add, please use this narrator again as well!
I'd highly recommend this audiobook to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, men and women alike - although the main character is a woman and there is a strong romantic thread to the story, the characters, settings, and politics of the time period are more the focus and are fascinating.
"Passionate, interesting and captivating"
One of my favourites. A real page turner (if that's possible in the audiobook world). A gripping novel that really makes you want to listen to more.
Beautifully narrated. Diana Bishop captured the feeling of the characters perfectly and performs it brilliantly.
Yes, although it was very long, so that wasn't possible. I would often listen to it as I drove home and would sit in my garage for ages after arriving, just so I could listen to a bit more.
I had heard Alison Weir talk about her passion for this book, so was curious. As I hadn't heard a great deal of Katherine Swynford, I was a bit unsure at first (especially because its so long), but I was pleasantly surprised.
John of Gaunt's enduring relationship with his mistress, and later wife, Katherine Swynford is a passionate and sometimes turbulent medieval love story that Anya Seton brings to life in this book. Set during a number of historical events such as the the Peasants' Revolt, it is well written and researched and gives a good background to these lovers who are the ancestors of the British Royal Family. There are some historical inaccuracies (poetic license) but they can be forgiven because the story will sweep you along.
This book captures you from the start. The writer and narrator makes the characters believable and brings the era they lived in to life. A truly wonderful book. I am so glad I found it.
"Well narrated and entertaining"
A lengthy and enjoyable story. It obviously has it's basics in fact but the writer has brought the characters and places to life, she has spent time on them and it appeals to your visual imagination. Very well narrated by Diana Bishop.
"gripping fictionalised history."
loved this book from start to finish.
Katherine's lifetime brought to life by anya seton's writing and Diana bishop's performance. the story moves along at a pace with no needless description to slow it down. uou feel you are there witnessing all the events as they happen.
this is one of the best historical fiction books I have listened to.
"Superb rendering of a much-loved historical novel"
Katherine is a moving and powerful evocation of the turbulent 14th century in England. Hearing it spoken by an accomplished reader made it all live vividly in my mind and I realised afresh what an engaging writer Seton was.
Katherine herself. A recent biography has indicated how little is really known about her. Seton did a brilliant job of bringing her vulnerability and charm to life, as well as highlighting her moral conflict, making of her a thoroughly sympathetic character.
This was an intelligent, measured reading that let the drama unfold without being obtrusive, plus subtle shifts in her voice to indicate the different characters.
The sections that deal with the devastation of the Black Death are fraught with tragedy but it is the personal sorrows that gripped me most: Katherine's loss of her daughter Blanchette; her troubled relationship with Hugh, her social isolation, her eventual rehabilitation are all movingly depicted.
John of Gaunt, as sympathetically delineated here, is easily one of the most attractive heroes ever!
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