Danielle's Reviews > Katherine

Katherine by Anya Seton
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Feb 01, 11

bookshelves: non-fiction-to-love, romance-with-a-sigh
Read from September 09, 2010 to February 01, 2011

I did it! And it only took me a week and a half! The hubby was even getting sick of seeing me reading the same book for so long. And because it was long, it gets a long review. This book was a daunting task and were it not for a sworn pledge from a fellow trusted reader, I'd have tossed the book aside by Chapter 3 and 'promised' myself I'd read it later when there wasn't anything else to do. But I pressed onward, even while hating the first quarter of the book and being miserable along with Katherine (of course I realize now this may have been Anya's intention). I cursed the injustice of life in the 1300's and moaned and whined my way through...all the while muttering complaints about my own poor lot in reading life at the moment.

While things picked up quickly thereafter and I fell in love along with Katherine I was still cursing the injustice. In fact the general undertone of feeling I had through out this book was a melancholic pity for her. Even while I was rooting for her and basking in the love that she shared with John, I was also tsking the ease with which she entered into a sinful life. I had to ask myself over and over, "If I lived back then and shared her circumstances, would I have done any better?" I shook my head when she wore what he wanted her to wear and stained her lips because he liked it that way and lived where he told her to. But that's what it was back then, you did what the royal people told you too and you did what the man you loved wanted you to. And really, don't I do the same thing? I wear that one green shirt 'cause I know it's the Mr.'s favorite and I brush on a fresh coat of lip gloss and pop in a piece of gum before he gets home from work. Not because I feel he'll love me any less if don't but because I want to do little things for someone I love.

As much as I bought into the love and romance and all that mushy splendor I still couldn't completely embrace them as a couple because of the infidelity bit. So, I was thrilled by her 'pilgrimage' and found such huge relief in the spiritual journey she took then. It was interesting to hear about the religious peculiarities of people back then (although I hear this hasn't completely changed for some). This part of the book was absolutely necessary to keep one from squirming with a happy ending brought on by sin. While I felt the romance and love story blossom with beauty, there was always those couple rotten petals that kept the love from being beautifully perfect for me. While I cringed at it at times, I put my trust in author Anya Seton to not leave me feeling tainted at the end and to make sure that everything turns out alright. The pilgrimage and everything that followed was the perfect redemption. She's a trustworthy authoress and you'll be perfectly safe in her hands.

Here's the bottom-line. This book is based on a true story and written in the 1950's when little evidence was available about the people in it. Saying that it was well researched and well executed is like saying "Oh my, I feel a draft," while a hurricane rips the roof off your house and brings a tree crashing into your living room. I'm telling you this book was meticulously well written and researched. If I had something bad to say about it I'd keep my little mouth shut because obviously, you wouldn't say VanGough was too heavy on the brushstrokes or that Shakespeare was too wordy. Neither would you claim the Mona Lisa was slightly understated or that Michelangelo was on overachiever. So it's a good thing I don't have anything bad to say about Anya Seton.

The appearance of Geoffrey Chaucer and faint hinting to the tale of Robin Hood was a delight. This book is certainly the best historical-fiction love story I've ever read! Okay fine it's the only one I've read but I'm pretty sure I've set myself up for disappointment from here on out with Historical-Fiction love stories. The bar has been set in the sky from the get-go. Truly this book is worthy of the title 'Epic Love Story' in a way most stories are claimed to be but fall short. It's not a read for the 'casual reader' and only certain types will find beauty in the details and perfection in the flaws of these characters.
Three cheers for Ms. Seton!

Danielle'-Humbled Reader
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Becky Saying this was a great review would be like saying "Jeepers, it's getting a little warm in here." While being tossed into a fire and watching your skin melt off your bones.

Ha ha ha.... I love you Danielle'. And I am so glad you read this book. It's worth the effort, isn't it. :)

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