The Week in Books 2008, No. 27

Anya Seton’s Katherine is a well-researched, detailed, sweeping work of historical fiction about Katherine Swynford, whose children with John of Gaunt became the Tudor line in England. The book was published in 1954, and thus does not contain overtly lascivious scenes (a fact which is well pulled off considering the nature of the relationship between Katherine and John). Although some reviewers find the character of Katherine to be thin and saccharine, I thought Seton did a fairly good job of showing different sides of Katherine’s personality in an attempt to explain the actions of a historical figure in light of English culture in the 14th century. In regards to her historical research, Seton even went so far as to only mention servants, retainers, and serfs whose names were included in extant historical records.

Although this book has a more tame feel than many more recently published works, I would recommend it. I saw on Amazon that Alison Weir has also written a book about Katherine, so I may check that out to see how Weir treats her.

Unrelated Update: Jack has been quite ill this week which has kept me from posting, but today he does not have a fever and seems more himself, so we’re hopeful that he’s on the mend! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for him!

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2 thoughts on “The Week in Books 2008, No. 27

  1. Catherine,

    I’ve appreciated your reviews of books covering Tudor (and surrounding) history. If you had to recommend just one or two books to a British history novice, which would you choose. Our book club just read “The Last Wife of Henry VIII” by Caroline Erickson. It was well-written, but I understand that there were some big changes to the actual history for the sake of the novel.
    Glad to hear Jack is on the mend and Happy Mother’s Day!

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