TBTB (Throwback Thursday Books) – Anya Seton’s Katherine


Katherine by Anya Seton | LibraryThing I love posting pictures for #TBT (Throwback Thursday). My fondness of such inspired yet another feature – Throwback Thursday Books (TBTB). I’ll include an image of the old book in these posts when possible. Sometimes, I’ll even provide a link to my review.

So, for the inaugural Throwback Thursday Books post, I’m posting Anya Seton’s Katherine. I first read Katherine in Summer 2002. Then, I revisited this book for a historical fiction component in one of my library school courses. Both times, the edition I read looked like this. The inside cover features great genealogical charts of the Plantagenet, Swynford, and de Roet houses. Also, the red ink came off on my hands – haha! While I’m not too crazy about the most recent cover, I’m glad it does exist. I hope people both enjoy and appreciate Katherine, too.

 

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Top Ten Books I’d Like to See Made Into Movies | Top Ten Tuesday


 

Top Ten Tuesday | The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists! Each week we will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of our bloggers’ answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND fill out Mr. Linky  . I
If you can’t come up with ten, don’t worry about it—post as many as you can!

1. Katherine by Anya Seton – I think I mention this book in all my Top Ten Tuesday posts, which indicates how much I enjoyed it. This would make for a gorgeous period piece that would have everything – passion, love, war, history, intrigue. . . I could go on for days.

2. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein – Okay, I’m really curious as to who they’d cast for Valentine Michael Smith and Jubal Harshaw. Also, Heinlein needs to come to the silver screen.

3. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers – Another period piece so the costuming and the sets would be fantastic. On top of that, there’s a good story to be told. I imagine it would land on the Hallmark station but what the heck?  

4. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen – They’ve promised this oddball book whose author scoffed at being an Oprah Book Club selection would be made into a film. Viewers would be able to identify with these characters just as well as readers have.

5. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides – Rumor has it that this book will be made into an HBO miniseries. The screenplay seems to be there already and I can’t hardly wait.

6. The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld – This might have to be an animated feature due to all the quirky physiques described. Yet, I’ve been awaiting this for years.

7. The Luxe Series by Anna Godbersen – Have you noticed I’ve got a thing for period pieces? This would be cool; a guilded age version of Gossip Girl on the big screen. The key would be casting the perfect Diana Holland who lept off each and every page of the quartet.

8. Bright Young Things Series by Anna Godbersen – I loath to use the phrase “my aesthetic” (which makes viewing Project Runway somewhat painful) but I’m a fan of Art Deco. I didn’t enjoy the movie The Great Gatsby much but I loved the costumes and the setting. I should’ve muted it and enjoyed the film that way. BYT would be awesome, though.

9. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green – This enjoyable book had me laughing at least once a paragraph. I imagine it being akin to the Numbers.  

10. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – Even my least favorite Kingsolver book would make for a good film. The script is ready for it’s closeup.

Top Ten Favorite Love Stories In Books | Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday | The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of our bloggers’ answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND post a comment on our post with a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post to share with us and all those who are participating. If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. If you can’t come up with ten, don’t worry about it—post as many as you can!

NEXT WEEK THE TOPIC IS: Top Ten Book to Movie adaptations (for those movies that actually didn’t butcher the book!) See a list of future TTT here.

However, this week’s challenge is Top Ten Favorite Love Stories in Books. So, here goes . . .

  1. Tristan by Gottfried von Strassburg: The honorable Cornish knight Tristan follows orders of his uncle, King Mark, to escort his uncle’s comely bride, the Princess Isolde. Isolde possesses a magic love potion which she and her betrothed are to share. However, Isolde and Tristan have the drink.
  2. Katherine by Anya Seton: This historical fiction novel features the story of the remarkable Katherine Swynford. This real person caught the attention of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. While they didn’t marry until close to the end of their lives, this story resonates to this days.
  3. Othello by William Shakespeare: I made myself only select one Shakespeare play. Othello the Moor marries the fair Desdemona. Desdemona chooses Othello over the foppish men of Venetian childhood and loves Othello eternally. However, the evil Iago turns Othello into the green-eyed monster.
  4. “Sonnets from the Portuguese” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: the sickly and hermetic Elizabeth believes herself to be dying. However, her fortune takes a turn for the better with the young, dashing Robert Browning.
  5. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough: It’s a little seamy but still deserves mention. Meggie falls in love with Ralph de Briccasart, the Roman Catholic priest.
  6. The Divine Comedy by Dante: Forget Francesca and Paola, I’m talking about Dante the Pilgrim and his ladylove, Beatrice. He admired her so much that in his writing, Beatrice guides him through Heaven.
  7. Atonement by Ian McEwan: Dilettante Cecilia Tallis and overachieving Robbie Turner unite in a pivotal way, changing the two permanently. When Robbie loses favor, Cecelia remains at his side.
  8. Beauty and the Beast by  Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve:  This story strikes similar chords to that of King Lear. The youngest daughter, Belle, is the truest beauty. She stays at the Beast’s Castle to make up for what her father did. When she sees this brute suffering, she cries over him.
  9. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand: Even though I absolutely abhor the sexual violence (rape even) and Rand’s masogyny, this is a remarkable story of love.  Roark and Dominique bring out the best in one another and have a happier end than most.
  10. The Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich: This is probably my favorite love triangle in literature. Stephanie Plum’s attention is coveted by Joe Moretti and Ranger. These days, I root for Ranger.

A Turn of the Wheels; Katherine by Anya Seton


Goodreads | Katherine by Anya Seton

Seton, A., & Gregory, P. (2004). Katherine a novel. Chicago, Ill:Chicago Review Press. 9781556525322

Katherine tells the story of actual Katherine Swynford (neé de Roet), a pivotal player in the history of English royalty. In the Fourteenth Century, lady in-waiting to Queen Philippa, Philippa de Roet sends for her younger sister, Katherine. Katherine de Roet has been living at a small, country convent. With the prioress, Katherine makes the journey to London. Innocent Katherine takes the London court by storm with her beauty. She comes to the attention of rough knight, Hugh Swynford, and John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster and fourth son of the king and Blanche, the Duchess of Lancaster. Katherine more than reluctantly marries Swynford but the Lancasters do not forget Katherine. In a few years, while John of Gaunt and Swynford are dealing with the 100 Years War, a plague claims many victims including Blanche of Lancaster. However, Katherine eases Blanche’s suffering and finds a priest to administer the Duchess’s last rites. In grief, John of Gaunt takes notice of the lovely Katherine and gives her her own coat of arms, bearing three wheels which signify St. Catherine and Katherine’s maiden name, de Roet. From there, the relationship escalates into an affair which has stunning and long lasting effects on not only their contemporaries but their descendants as it precipitates the Wars of the Roses.

This particular work of historical fiction is remarkable in the amount of research done on an era long past in order to make the novel seem authentic. Having published this in the 1950s, Anya Seton had to research. While most of the narrative takes place in England, Katherine and other characters are Flemish and speak French. Seton’s characters sometimes converse in an older form of French. In a note preceding the novel, Seton explained that she used the names of people she saw in registers. Also, most of the characters are real: Katherine, John of Gaunt, Katherine’s brother in-law Geoffrey Chaucer, John Wycliffe, etc. Seton provides much detail of Medieval English life. With this, the reader experiences the difficulty of survival, particularly of women such as Katherine.

My mom remembered reading this book as a teenager and this spurred her interest in both English history and literature. When I read it, I was fascinated by the book and some of the people who made cameos. The mention of John Wycliffe has spurred quite a bit of amateur research on my part. In reading the 2004 version, I was able to read a foreword by Philippa Gregory (writer, The Other Boleyn Sister). Like Gregory, I think Seton set the tone for the historical novel. Seton did her homework and her creation was a labor of love. Gregory also points out how Seton subscribed to Freudian concepts and had a 1950s mindset. Although I agree with this as well, I think Katherine is an excellent work.

I would recommend Katherine to the female historical fiction audience. It is a bit romantic. Also, this would be a great introduction to some nonfiction work on English history. The world’s interest in Katherine Swynford has led to many websites dedicated to her. Readers may catch the craze. Also, the reader must not be opposed to long novels; Katherine is over 500 pages.

Four out of Five Pearls