Thursday, September 01, 2011

Katherine

Katherine. Anya Seton. 1954/2004. Chicago Review Press. 512 pages.

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

Katherine is the third Anya Seton novel I've read, and it is probably my favorite so far. It is the 'love story' of Katherine de Roet and John of Gaunt (Duke of Lancaster). It's definitely a 'love story' with complications!

The book opens with Katherine traveling with several nuns to visit her sister, Philippa, who is in the service of the Queen. Her arrival catches the attention of at least two guys. The most persistent being Hugh Swynford. Her sister just hopes that her sister has enough sense to know that these men are after one thing and only one thing. And Katherine does know that. But she can't protect herself from unseen dangers.

One day, Katherine takes a walk in the garden thinking that she is alone, that she is safe, only to discover that Hugh Swynford is there and he means to get his way. They struggle. And only fate in the form of John Gaunt, the Duke, saves her. He demands to know what is going on and Hugh stammers something about how he really truly means to marry the penniless girl. The Duke takes the poor woman home to his wife, Blanche, who takes pity on the girl and offers her friendship and kindness.

But within days Katherine learns her fate. She will be the wife of Hugh Swynford. For better or worse, she'll be stuck with him. But it's not like she has much of a say in her future. And a good match is a good match.

Katherine is a novel of medieval England. Readers get more than a quick and easy 'love story.' It's a novel about war and politics and social class. The novel follows the lives of Katherine and John through four decades. The 1360s through the 1390s.

There are plenty of characters to love and hate in this one. And it's a pleasant read. Not too dry, not too boring. But not completely romance either. There is history and politics and talk of war and riots, etc. If you're just looking for romance, this may not be the one for you. But if you want substance to your romance, then you should give it a try.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

4 comments:

Kailana 11:03 AM  

I am not sure if this is my type of read, but I am hoping to try it before the year is out...

Dane Swanson 12:55 PM  

I am glad to see that there is a book reviews area on the internet. Until a short time ago I was the book review editor on the Santa Monica Daily Press here in the city of Santa Monica. Their editor of the paper decided not to pursue the book review column in the paper so I am now offering a blog on subjects of books that I have read and am reading. www.drsbookplace.blogspot.com.
It is not a pure book review blog yet.As time goes on I plan to make it so.
Since most blogs are given up after a year I plan to keep mine going.
I am glad to see you are keeping the book review feature alive. The best to youy.

Sarah 5:04 AM  

Sounds like a good solid read. Something with substance.

Marg 8:57 PM  

This is a pretty influential book in terms of historical fiction! It was the first Seton I read, and yes, I think it is still my favourite!

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I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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