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Anya Seaton’s Katherine is a great historical novel, well written with an interesting story. It is a brilliant start for anyone looking for The Other Boleyn Girl – similar books as good as this are hard to come by.
Katherine Swynford is fifteen years old when she arrives at the court of Edward III and is soon swept away by the lifestyle of the nobility. Her beauty catches the eye of the King’s son, John of Gaunt. He, however, is married, and she is a commoner.
Very quickly, she becomes his mistress, but is forced to watch from the sidelines as he gains power and influence, not least by marrying those with better connections.
And yet their love endured. Did she ever claim the man she loved for her own? Read the book and find out….!
There are many similarities to The Other Boleyn Girl – young girl falls for powerful man – but whereas Anne’s story is familiar to many people, that of Katherine is not.
Anya Seaton has taken someone about whom very little is known, but who was a critical figure in the history of England. From Katherine and John of Gaunt, a line emerged which would lead to Henry VII – their love affair would give rise to the War of the Roses.
For someone so central, she remains largely unknown to the vast majority of people. Seaton has given her a voice, and a place in history.
I defy you not to shed a tear as you reach the end of this book. If you know anything at all about Tudor history, then the fate of Lady Jane Grey will be known to you.
Alison Weir has done an outstanding job of taking the story of this young girl, and making it fresh.
This book uses a number of narrators, including Jane herself and her nursemaid, among others, to trace the story of the girl who was Queen of England for just nine days. It builds her story from her birth, and her parent’s disappointment that she is not a boy, through her childhood until her final fateful day.
Weir tells one of the most tragic stories from Tudor England, but does it in a way that hooks you in and keeps you gripped – even if you know the ending.
It isn’t possible to talk about historical fiction without a nod to one of the most prolific authors in the genre.
Jean Plaidy (a pen-name for Eleanor Hibbert) wrote books covering many periods of European History, including the Norman era, through the Tudors, the Stuarts, ranging afield to the Spanish Inquisition, all the way up to the reign of Queen Victoria.
Her Tudor novels begin with Uneasy Lies the Head, and are well worth a look. Easy to read, they offer a good way in to a fascinating period in English history.
If you like this period of history, then well-written factual accounts are every bit as gripping as the fictionalised versions.
Surprisingly little is known about Mary Boleyn, her role in court life, and her role, if any, in her sister’s downfall. Alison Weir has attempted to piece together what evidence there is to provide a coherent account of the life of the other Boleyn girl.
Where Philippa Gregory has invented a distinct role of Mary Boleyn, and shown her as someone ‘whiter than white’, Alison Weir looks at what we really know, and uncovers someone who was possibly a little less savoury!
Easy to read, this book will provide the fact behind the fiction. Anne Boleyn here is sympathetically portrayed. Denny sees her as a woman trapped in a web of deceit not of her making, and as pawn of the King desperate to alter his own situation in his quest for a son.
This is poles apart from Gregory’s view of her as a scheming temptress, manipulating all around her for her own gain.
Are you a long-time fan of historical fiction or is this a new venture for you?Do you prefer to know exactly what really happened or are you happy with a slightly invented account if it makes the story more interesting?
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