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Green Darkness

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  5,224 ratings  ·  446 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 But now Richard has become withdrawn, and Celia is constantl ...more
Paperback, 591 pages
Published April 1st 2005 by Chicago Review Press (first published 1972)
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3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,224 ratings  ·  446 reviews


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mark monday
Feb 26, 2015 rated it liked it
1960s Great Britain back into mid-16th century England. reincarnation. undying loving. characters reborn but carrying the same damn baggage. all of that.

 photo deja vu_zpsnjvnxval.gif

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
...more
Barbara
Mar 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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 But now Richard has become withdrawn, and Celia is constantly haunted by a vague dread.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
...more
M
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
Lisa
Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Karen
Dec 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Tracy
Nov 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Joanne
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
...more
Carla Remy
Such a great title this book has, but I just can not read it. Actually I tried once, several years ago, didn't get as far, and was cheesed out by the reincarnation stuff. This time I thought I could deal with it, read over a hundred pages, and just... The reincarnation plot is dumb and it also felt slightly racist with the wise Hindu man and all that. She didn't mean to be racist, I'm sure, and the book is from 1972. But I just didn't like it, and it is extraordinarily long.
MichelleCH
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
...more
Lauren
Mar 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Gretchen
Jul 01, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
Misfit
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Sara
Twas the moment deep
When we are conscious of the secret dawn
Amid the darkness that we feel is green…

Thy face remembered is from other worlds,
It has been died for, though I know not when,
It has been sung of, though I know not where…


Anya Seton has written here a dual-time tale of a girl, Celia Bohun, living in 1550’s Tudor England, and her reincarnated counterpart, Celia Marsdon, living in 1968. The Tudor story is three quarters of the novel and the modern day story only one quarter, which suite
...more
Amy
Aug 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stacie
Sep 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Zoë Marriott
Nov 13, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Bookish Ally
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I started and stopped reading this book before. Hated how it began. Hated all the reincarnation stuff, then I came back to it and Anya Seton wove her spell

First of all, this book takes place during the time during the short reign of Henry VIII’s son Edward, his death and the shorter reign of Jane Grey, and Mary Tudor, Gothic in tone and so well written. I will say however - the best part of the book is once you get past the very start of the book which focuses on a group of people in the late 19
...more
Terra Kelly
Nov 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Terri Lynn
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
...more
Mimi
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
Chris
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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?)
Laura
Aug 03, 2007 rated it it was ok
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.
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.
Terry Tyler
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5*

'Whatsover has been in the past or is now, will repeat itself in the future, but the names and surfaces of things so altered that he who has not a quick eye will not recognise them, or know how to guide himself accordingly.'

Green Darkness opens in the late 1960s, when Celia, the new wife of baronet Richard Marsdon, is unhappy in her marriage. This part is set during one of the country weekends enjoyed amongst the aristocracy; it seemed oddly dated; you know how some books 'travel' well, and
...more
Christine
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, re-reading
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
...more
 ☆Ruth☆
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
...more
Margaret
Katherine has long been one of my favorite historical novels, so I thought that it was past time to try one of her other books. I happened upon a copy of Green Darkness in my local used book store and figured that it would do as well as any to start out with. Sadly, I don't think it lives up to Katherine.

Partly, it's the narrative structure that didn't work for me. Green Darkness starts in the 1960's, with recently married Richard and Celia Marsdon. When Celia starts having visions and then laps
...more
Evgenia
Aug 30, 2016 rated it liked 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
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My all time favorite book 15 90 Oct 17, 2014 10:37AM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED: Past-lives romance where woman is bricked-up inside a wall [s] 3 42 Jan 27, 2014 08:07AM  

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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-
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“Truth is naturally universal...and shines into many different windows, though many are clouded.” 41 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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