Thursday, February 21, 2008
19. "Katherine" - Anya Seton
The issue with historical novels is where does history exit stage right and fiction enter? I'm sure this curiosity will cause me to indulge in some Wikipedia searches and nonfiction urges (cheesy rhyme... my apologies).
In Katherine, the author explores 14th century England and the love affair between Katherine Swynford and John of Gault, Duke of Lancaster. With the backdrop of the plague, mobs, and the great peasants' revolt of 1381, there is as much attention to historical details as to the life of the court, which becomes a bit repetitive after two or three novels.
I've read that Katherine, published in 1954, is the mother of all modern historical romances. Perhaps, but it was the play between the character's role as commoner and royalty that fascinated me. Brilliantly researched.
4.5 out of 5.0 Wassail.