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Green Darkness

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  4,690 Ratings  ·  392 Reviews

This unforgettable story of undying love combines mysticism, suspense, mystery, and romance into a web of good and evil that stretches from 16th-century England to the present day. Richard Marsdon marries a young American woman named Celia, brings her to live at his English estate, and all seems to be going well. But now Richard has become withdrawn, and Celia is constantl

Hardcover, First Edition, 591 pages
Published January 1st 1973 by Houghton Mifflin (first published 1972)
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(showing 1-30)
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mark monday
1960s Great Britain back into mid-16th century England. reincarnation. undying loving. characters reborn but carrying the same damn baggage. all of that.

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for the most part this is an enjoyable novel about two lovers reborn who knows how many times, destined for tragic ends until they are able to sort out all of their issues. I loved the opening chapters: cosmopolitan aristocrats lounging around the pool, touring historical sites with rolled eyes, making loaded comments to each other during a din
Mar 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when it was "new" and omg I LOVED it. It was complex and dark and romantic and my then 14 yr old self couldn't get enough.

Someone commented that it's "dated". It wasn't then but it's a reason I've never tried to re-read it. I want to keep the feeling of how wonderful it was to younger less world-weary me.
Richard Derus
May 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Rating: 3 stars out of five, but only because I still love the memory

The Publisher Says: This unforgettable story of undying love combines mysticism, suspense, mystery, and romance into a web of good and evil that stretches from 16th-century England to the present day. Richard Marsdon marries a young American woman named Celia, brings her to live at his English estate, and all seems to be going well. But now Richard has become withdrawn, and Celia is constantly haunted by a vague dread. When she
Jul 29, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I must be the only man who has ever read this novel. If you've been having difficulty getting to sleep, Green Darkness can help. I'm surprised some pharmaceutical company hasn't named a hypnotic after it. It's a long, dreary romance, rendered in prose that's the stylistic equivalent of dishwater, about a modern couple plagued by unresolved issues from a past life exasperating in all the wrong ways. The story idea seemed interesting, and I slogged through it one summer when I was in junior high s ...more
Birgit  Bottner
May 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
That's my absolute favourite by Anya Seton. She combines present and past in this story of a crime in a medieval setting and how it's still affecting the present. She explains political and social issues in an easy to understand way. One of the books I keep re-reading
Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
I was really looking forward to reading this book. Maybe that's why I was so disappointed with it. I truly liked the idea of the book (reincarnation and karma- two things I strongly believe in), which is the only thing that prevented me from rating it with one star.

The characters were not real, I didn't felt as though I knew very much about how they were feeling and that some things were ridiculously elaborate (Julian is from Italy- we get it! I think that is mentioned at least 300 times. Yet h
Nov 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
My mom gave me this book to read as a teen. It was amazing! It is set in two time periods so is a modern and historical mixed into one.

You start with two people getting married in present day. Then due to circumstances they end up discovering they knew each other before in 1500s England. Obviously a very different time. Their love affair in the past was rather complicated as it wasn't "meant to be". The story explores past lives and reincarnation which was fascinating.

The author clearly did he
Dec 22, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-not-good
Try switching the genders in this story -- now it's a lonely (male) student developing a crush on a (female) teacher, who doesn't encourage the crush and tries to dissuade the student. Student carries a torch for the teacher for years, despite rarely seeing each other (except for a weird-almost-sexual-encounter during the middle of a home invasion??) and being married and widowed. Student sees teacher again, sexual advances ensue, teacher says "No" very clearly in several ways. Student then give ...more
I found this book sitting all by itself on a table at a library book sale. It was the last day of the sale and everything had been quite picked over except for this gem. Needless to say I grabbed it right away.

Thank goodness for the Mt. TBR Challenge which prompted me to read those books which have been on my shelves the longest. This being one.

The novel is divided into three parts and begins during what feels like the 1970's. Celia and Richard Marsdon are a wealthy young couple recently married
I read Green Darkness when it was first published, so I would have been a young teenager. It was the beginning of my love of dual time stories, and the forbidden love between Celia, the fair maiden, and the monk struck a chord with me. When I added it to GR, my nostalgic memory rated it 4 stars.

If I was reading it now for the first time, I would be inclined to rate it 3 stars. The political and religious repercussions of the reigns of Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth made much more sense to me now an
Mar 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The storyline and narrative structure of Green Darkness are very different from other books I have read. Green Darkness starts out in 1968 with a house party. The hosts, Sir Richard and Lady Celia Marsdon are newlyweds but their relationship is anything but blissful, as Richard has turned cold towards his new wife in recent months. Several strange events lead Celia to enter into a catatonic state. One of the guests, an Indian doctor, realizes that Celia and Richard had known each other in a past ...more
Aug 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A disappointing read from Anya Seton. I have thoroughly enjoyed some of her books but find that her story-telling ability is not consistent.
In this novel the characters don't come across as real people - they are all over-dramatized and rather foolish - I felt no empathy with any of them. Also the concept of reincarnation is a difficult one to handle and unfortunately this attempt was less than convincing.
I hovered between 2 and 3 stars but gave it 3 because some of the historical detail of the
Terra Kelly
Nov 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Terra by: found randomly at a laundrymat
The Green Darkness by Anya Seton is one of my favourite novels. I originally found my first copy of it in a laundry mat, I randomly picked it up for something to do while I was waiting and then I fell in love. I sadly stole that book from the laundry mat so I could finish reading it. In a twist of fate I have gotten and lost that book on three different occasions!

The book is set in two different time periods with a Tudor setting and a more modern setting (well kind of more modern) of 1968. It is
Sep 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've had Green Darkness in my to-be-read pile for a long time now. I don't know exactly what was making me so reluctant to begin it. For one thing, the story takes place in two time periods: the late 1960's in an historic English manor home and in 1550's Tudor England during the reigns of King Edward VI and Mary I. I love stories about Tudor England, but this was my first one to also include the element of reincarnation. While I personally don't believe in reincarnation, it does make for a fasci ...more
Terri Lynn
Jul 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
I first read this in 1973 when I was 14. I plucked it off the shelves of my parents' bookstore and quickly became absorbed and a little obsessed with it. I read it over and over.

I ran across a copy in a used bookstore this week and sat down on a couch to spend an afternoon re-reading it. Apparently 40 years later just before my 54th birthday (in March), this book doesn't have quite the same appeal to me as it did when I was in my very early teens. That's a pity.

The atmosphere and mood are stil
Zoë Marriott
3 and 1/2 stars for this one. Meticulously researched, beautifully written and cleverly constructed, but the experience of reading it wasn't totally enjoyable because it's permeated with an almost suffocating atmosphere of sadness and impending doom. You know right from the start that unspeakable things are going to happen to the characters, and the deepening tension in watching as those events inch inexorably closer forced me to actually stop and take breaks now and again because it was all get ...more
I enjoyed the book, especially the middle part (the majority of the story) about the first Celia and Stephen the monk. They had a truly sad ending, my heart especially broke for the fate of Stephen. Maybe it is just me, but the last part of the book just didn't flow well for me, but I can't put my finger on why. All in all an enjoyable read, but it definitely isn't Katherine, which all lovers of historical fiction should read -- that one deserves 10 stars at least.
Elizabeth(The Book Whisperer)
I love this book! What a beautiful story. It is a time traveling story that begins in 1968 then goes to Tudar times. I love Tudar times. It is a tale of past lives and how they come back to haunt you. I highly reccomend it.
Celia of 1968 falls into a terminal coma that she is able to defeat only by re-experiencing her past life on the periphery of the nobility in Tudor England. Promoted by its dusk jacket as a historical romance driven by supernatural forces, Green Darkness is more like 500 pages of history bookended with only token pages of romance and spirituality. That isn’t an indictment; the portrait of life during the English Reformation is an easy read even though it skips the goings on of the lascivious Kin ...more
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
My mom always comments that you need to keep in mind not only the timeframe that a book is set within, but the timeframe it was written. This advice could not be more applicable than with this book - here is the late 60s in all its glory - reincarnation, rape as a romantic act (and as part of accepted marital behavior), and mysticism. I can see it being captivating to a young teenager (and reminded me of some of the impactful Victoria Holts I read from that time) but reading with 21st century ad ...more
I think I would have liked this book more if I would have had time to read it faster. It was one of those books that called for devouring hours at a time. Instead I was lucky if I could sneak in 30-40 pages in a half hour. It was better than Devil Water but Katherine is still Seton's standard.
Marla Hayes
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I loved this book so much that my writing partner and I optioned the screenplay rights and have written a feature script that we are marketing to potential producers.

Check out our blog about the adaptation/marketing process at:

Help us bring this classic to the big screen!
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when it first came out, when I was a young (VERY young) married woman who knew no one in her new town and haunted the local library. I remember LOVING it. And since it's been almost 40 (!!!) years since I read it, the time is coming to read it again, and I wonder....will I still love it? (And what if I don't?)
This wasn't as good as the other Seton novels I've read. Despite an interesting idea, the characters weren't very real to me, and I didn't care very much what happened to any of them. Specifically, I thought the main character's husband was a huge jerk, even if he WAS wrestling with demons.
Exceptional book but it did give me one of the worst nightmares of my life. The date I read it is a guess.
Ana T.
Dec 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After a steady diet of mysteries and romantic suspense novels I thought I needed something totally different.

I've had this book in my TBR pile for more than a year. I had picked it up because I loved Katherine and I wanted to read more books by Seton. Also this book has a theme that fascinates me - reincarnation, karma, good and evil... - even if I'm not sure if I believe it or not. Maybe it was my feelings toward it that kept me from picking it up for so long but now I'm really happy that I did
Jan 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a vivid portrayal of Tudor England with all its drama, intrigue, and grisliness presented at the fore of the tumultuous story of passion doomed from the start, and reincarnated for redemption. Ms Seton has quite expertly maneuvered the love-hate relationship between the seemingly staid monk, Stephen, and the in-so-many-ways-as-yet naive and seductively beautiful, young Celia amidst the raging political and religious conflict following the death of Henry VIII.

England finds itself in dangerous va
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reading, kindle
It's over 40 years since I first read this book and was prompted to re-read it because of a visit to Igtham Mote in Kent, a crucial site in the story, and it is because of the story that I've always wanted to go there. It is a beautiful medieval moated house, blissful gardens and a stunning house now in the care of the National Trust.

It has been a joy to re-read the book. The historical research is impeccable, the characters believable and 'real' in many ways, although I found the historical (an
Katharine Edgar
Very mixed feelings about this book. I couldn't not finish it but I've never been so relieved to be done with a book.
I can see why historical novelists love Seton (I read this because I heard that Alison Weir rates her). The research and the level of historical detail are outstanding. The storytelling is excellent (hence the 'couldn't not finish it' thing). But I had two big problems with this book. One was the stereotyping - you get the mincing, catty gay characters, the mysterious Hindu doctor
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Anya Seton (January 23, 1904 (although the year is often misstated to be 1906 or 1916) - November 8, 1990) was the pen name of the American author of historical romances, Ann Seton.

Ann Seton was born in New York, New York, and died in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. She was the daughter of English-born naturalist and pioneer of the Boy Scouts of America, Ernest Thompson Seton and Grace Gallatin Seton-
More about Anya Seton...

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“Truth is naturally universal...and shines into many different windows, though many are clouded.” 38 likes
“Mistress Allen was only an ordinary provincial manor lady, bent on nothing more sinister than retrieving money of which she felt defrauded, and in the process either quarreling with or using people.” 1 likes
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