Fourteenth-century England is the setting for Anya Seton's classic historical romance, "Katherine: A Novel." What better place to find intrigue, war, adultery and even murder than in the courts of the Plantagenets?
"Katherine: A Novel" is a marvelously detailed, well researched novel that tells the story of Katherine Swynford, the mistress and eventual wife of John of Gaunt, and their children.
It is this family, begun on "the wrong side of the sheets," who were the direct ancestors of the Tudors, the Stuarts and the modern British royal family.
First published in 1954, Seton's novel captures the rich tapestry of 14th-century life, including the very high and the very low: knight and vassal, King and serf, legitimate wife and passionate mistress.
Katherine Swynford was the daughter of a lower-ranking knight who married another knight, with whom she had children. After her husband's death, she ends up becoming the mistress of John of Gaunt, the son of King Edward III and his wife, Philippa. They fall passionately in love and produce four children out of wedlock. This is only the beginning of their story, one which finds them finally united in marriage after decades of war, interactions with the Church and court scandal.
It is well after their children are grown that they finally marry.
"Katherine: A Novel" traces Katherine's life, set against the pageant of medieval England, which includes rich descriptions of life at court during the time of Chaucer who, incidentally, was Katherine's brother-in-law.
Anya Seton was born Ann Seton Chase in 1904 and died in 1990. She was a highly respected American writer of historical romances. She is known for her accurate portrayal of historical facts and intensive research into the historical background against which she sets her novels.
Set in the vibrant fourteenth century of Chaucer and the Black Death, the classic romance Katherine features knights fighting in battle, serfs struggling in poverty, and the magnificent Plantagenets—Edward III, the Black Prince, and Richard II—who ruled despotically over a court rotten with intrigue. Within this era of danger and romance, John of Gaunt, the king’s son, falls passionately in love with the already married Katherine. Their well-documented affair and love persist through decades of war, adultery, murder, loneliness, and redemption.
This epic novel of conflict, cruelty, and untamable love has become a classic since its first publication in 1954. Download and start listening now!