Thursday, September 01, 2011


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


Kailana said...

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 said...

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.
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 said...

Sounds like a good solid read. Something with substance.

Marg said...

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!