Sunday, February 22, 2009

Katherine by Anya Seton

Katherine by Anya Seton
Historical Fiction

This book is listed as #95 on the BBC Top 100, which is why I read it. I had never heard of Anya Seton before but I'm very glad that the BBC list has exposed me to her.

Katherine tells the story of Katherine Roet, whose father was a knight but was killed in war and whose sister is a lady in waiting for the Queen in 1366. Katherine spends the first part of her life dedicated to church but her sister pulls her from religious life to court and Katherine's life is changed forever. She marries the knight Hugh Swynford who she is revolted by, but he accepts her with no dowry, which puts her in good standing. Her heart is with John of Gaunt, King Edward III's younger son. Their paths cross throughout her life and things become quite complicated as they try to share their love through wars, other marriages, children, riots, and disease.

This is an epic novel where Seton imagines what the characters said and felt in this true story. Even though the book is well over 500 pages, it kept me interested the entire time and I really enjoyed seeing Katherine evolve over her life. She was such a timid teenage and then really blossomed into an intelligent, gentle woman.

You can also tell that it was written a good time ago. If this same story were to be written in present day, it would be more risque and rude I think. This was exceptionally done and incredibly well researched. I will recommend this book to others and am looking to find some more Seton books to read!

First Line: "In the tender green time of April, Katherine set forth at last upon her journey with the two nuns and the royal messenger."



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