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Date Posted: 05:25:52 10/10/03 Fri
Author: Syl
Subject: Katherine by Anya Seton

TITLE: Katherine

AUTHOR: Anya Seton

GENRE: Historical fiction, based on fact


This book was written in 1954. While one day visiting with Shadow she gave it to me to read, she thought I would like it. I didn’t like it….I loved it!

Katherine is a fictional account of the true story of John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster and his mistress Katherine Swynford. It takes place in the many castles, palaces and estates in medieval 1300’s England. Katherine, orphaned by her parents, leaves the convent where she was raised to see her sister who is employed by the queen and this move pretty much decides her future. Katherine; beautiful, smart and a bit ahead of her time, does much better than expected. It is here in London she falls in love, marries and has children - not necessarily in that order.

It covers Katherine’s lifetime intermmediately from about the age of 16 to her death. As in many historical fiction novels, “Katherine” takes a certain freedom with the characters and dialog, but stays very true to the facts that are known of this couple. The story from a historical aspect is fascinating, when you consider this couple were responsible for the future British royal lineage; going from the Plantaganets to the Tudors, Stuarts, and onwards. If you are a fan of medieval literature or just like to read about English royalty and how wacked they are, you will enjoy this book. If you are a fan of Geoffrey Chauncer you will find a bit of him in the storyline also.

I was so captured by this story, I immediately went on a internet search to find all the information on Katherine I could. Much is written about John of Gaunt’s place in history, but like most women of that time, not nearly as much about Katherine. During my search I collected sites and pictures and created a web site to store them and for others to have a “one stop shopping” for this truly fascinating couple.

Katherine

In my search I also came across a Katherine discussion forum.
.
Living History

This site hosts many scholars that have devoted hours upon hours to researching this small fascinating bit of history. In hopes of not losing contact with these kind Katherine fans I started a yahoo group. It’s here that a gentleman that moderates the group with me posts his beautiful pictures of Katherine and John of Gaunt sites. He even put flowers on her tomb in all of our names the last anniversary of her death.

So you can tell by reading all of this what an effect this book had on me. Shadow, that one day a couple of years ago, had no idea what seed she had planted. I know I haven’t given much information regarding plot and characters but I wouldn’t want to ruin one page of this wonderful book for you.

Forwarned it is a hard to find book. It was recommended reading in many high schools during its day. I’ve bought all my copies off of Ebay for a very reasonable price. It’s one of those books you read and have to have in hardcover.

Enjoy.

M&M

NOTE FROM SYL: It's true, this book can be hard to find, but having said that, if you go to amazon or ebay, there are copies available. Also look in your local UBS. The wallpaper is the latest cover, which makes me think the book has either been reissued or it's a reprint. Just a thought!

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Replies:

[> Thanks, Michelle! -- Syl, 05:27:11 10/10/03 Fri


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[> [> Just found this book used (with a cover!) and in good condition for $5.00 at Green Ginger, a local used book shop! It's a 1954 Book Club edition and I bought it because I loved Here Be Dragons and 'Katherine' has gotten such positive reviews from so many people around here. I've stretched Kushiel's Dart out for months now, and now I have something new to read! So, it pays to browse those used book stores! -- Lemora, 18:37:19 11/15/03 Sat


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[> KATHERINE LINK IS HERE -- M&M, 06:52:11 10/10/03 Fri


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[> [> Sorry Syl, I lost all my pages on my bogiebuddy site and had to open a new one hence why your link didn't work. :-( -- M&M, 06:58:36 10/10/03 Fri


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[> [> [> Katherine fans in the UK! It has been rereleased in paperback there just this summer I believe. Those Im sure will be popping up on Ebay soon. I love giving this book as a gift. I also run a yahoo group on Katherine and John with a gentleman from England. This couple is his passion and he is quite the photographer and has made it his quest to take pictures of all the sites. click here to join that group -- M&M..if the link doesnt work just email me and I will send an invite :-), 07:01:19 10/10/03 Fri


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[> [> [> [> There ...I think Im done! :-) -- M&M, 07:01:54 10/10/03 Fri


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[> I read this book years ago and loved, and re-read it recently at M&M's urging. *G* Still loved it! And as far as how much a book can affect your life.......well, where have we heard that before? :-) Great review Michelle! -- Maria, 10:07:11 10/10/03 Fri


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[> I found an old hardcover copy of "Katherine" at a used book sale at the school where I worked. Got it for a dollar and loved it. Nice review M&M! -- Rachel, 12:15:44 10/10/03 Fri


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[> I discovered Anya Seton while I was in high school. I reread my first copy of Katherine so many times that it finally disintigrated. My other favorite titles by her are Green Darkness and The Winthrop Woman. GD is set in the 1960s and about reincarnated star-crossed lovers from the middle ages (complete with ghosts and everything!), and TWW is another 'fictionalized true history' about a woman who was born in England and came to America with the early colonists. -- Shadow, 14:34:26 10/10/03 Fri


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[> [> Ditto,Shads... I urge anyone to seek out ANY titles by Anya Seton (there are many and they are FAT books) -- Londubh, 17:20:31 10/24/03 Fri


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[> This book sounds right up my alley! Love the website! Thanks, Syl! -- Lemora, 20:22:11 10/10/03 Fri


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[> I first read Katherine when I was 12 and have read it numerous times since. It was always my favorite book and shaped my taste in books ever after. I never found one I liked as much until I picked up Outlander, not expecting much. Thank you for this wonderful post. -- Allaine (who has been mostly lurking for the past 2 yrs due to writing her own historical), 22:42:27 10/11/03 Sat


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[> I just recently read a book about this time and John of Gaunt was one of the main characters. Katherine showed up as well. And when I mentioned that I need to read more about her, Michelle kindly offered to bring me one of her collected books to Surrey. What a doll she is!!! -- Andrea-germany, 09:10:07 10/12/03 Sun


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[> I borrowed this book from the library when I was living in Wales, because of the title (although I am a Kathryn). I loved it too, a wonderful book with wonderful characters. -- astrokath, 22:29:45 10/12/03 Sun


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[> Ok, for us history morons ..... if I get this book from the library, say, am I going to be able to follow the damn thing? :D How's the story outside of the historical detail? I swear I had to skip a bunch of stuff in DIA cause it just meant nothing to me and bores me to zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. :D HELP! :D -- Judie, 23:04:18 10/12/03 Sun


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[> [> Its more a love story than anything else Judie. Very easy to follow. -- M&M, 11:28:28 10/13/03 Mon


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[> This book has been voted in the Big Read Top 100 Favourite books. Those of you in the UK will know what I'm on about. -- Lady Penelope B, 14:14:04 10/13/03 Mon


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[> This book has been voted in the Big Read Top 100 Favourite books. Those of you in the UK will know what I'm on about. -- Lady Penelope B, 14:14:47 10/13/03 Mon


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[> I read this book many years ago and loved it. I used to work in bookshop where an elderly lady used to keep coming in to see if the book was was back in print as she had lost her copy. She came in often and always asked about this book. When I eventually got the opportunily to read it myself I grabbed the chance. I saw a pile of them in Waterstones in Chester a few weeks ago and was delighted to see it available again -- albion, 12:56:53 10/15/03 Wed


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[> This sounds wonderful! I'm putting it on my TBR list. Thanks! -- BrownEyedGirl, 12:25:07 10/17/03 Fri


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[> I had just finished The Sunne in Splendor when I saw this review and since I had been reading in that neck of the woods (give or take a few hundred years) I thought I would check it out. Well, I was lucky enough to find a 1st edition copy on Ebay for $10.50 and I should receive it in the next few days. I can't wait to get it and share my thoughts once I've read it. -- Krisabaliz, 22:59:21 10/17/03 Fri


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[> [> Great idea, Kris! Reading Katherine after SKP makes sense, they're quite similar. Seton doesn't have SKP's fire, and wit, but she's a wonderful storyteller. I'm about halfway in K, lovin it. I've read several books set during the war of the Roses, and am enjoying seeing how the whole thing got started. It was Sunne that finally made the struggle between the two houses clear to me. Also good is Georgette Heyer's My Lord John, an unfinished work that's excellent, it was Heyer's favorite project. -- Brookita, 14:33:45 10/28/03 Tue


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