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.


Mame Burkett said...

This is my all time favorite romance novel. Ms. Seton has so wonderfully mixed truth with fiction I thought it was all real when I first read it over 30 years ago. I recommend her "Green Darkness" also. Given when it was written 1972 it givens a lot of modern paranormal romances a run for their money!
Have a great weekend

Anonymous said...

Hi - just discovered your blog.; am also a voracious reader of 14th-17th century English historical novels. Love Phillipa Gregory - just dicovering Seton...This one is very vivid: you can "smell" the plague!