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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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I first read this book some thirty odd years ago and really enjoyed it. It was also my first introduction to the author, who is a master storyteller and wonderful writer of historical fiction. Seeing this book on my shelf, I decided to read it again. Time has certainly not diminished the capacity of this well-written book to entertain the reader.

This is a tale of star-crossed lovers and reincarnation. It is a story of passion and love that transcends time and is really two stories. One takes place in the twentieth century and the other in sixteenth century Tudor England. Combining history, romance, and suspense, it will keep the reader turning the pages.

When, after a whirlwind courtship, titled Englishman, Richard Marsdon, marries Celia Taylor, a young American heiress, it seems to be a fairytale romance. It had simply been love at first sight. While living in his ancestral home with Celia, however, Richard seems to change, withdrawing from Celia emotionally. Celia finds the change almost incomprehensible, but she, too, is having her own issues with her strange sense of deja vu. All things came to a head when they throw a house party, and something happens that causes Celia to hover between life and death.

As luck would have it, present at the time is a medical doctor and master of mysticism, Dr. Akananda. He senses that Celia must relive her past in order to understand and survive her present. The book then segues into sixteenth century Tudor England, where Celia was a young and beautiful woman, working as a servant in a nobleman's home. It explores her life and the passion that was to dominate her, body and soul.

Of the two stories that emerge, the more interesting one takes place in the past, as the author vividly brings to life the religious tumult, political strife, and jockeying for position and power that characterized Tudor England. Moreover, many of the people that Celia knows in the present have their counterparts in the past, which adds another dimension to this tale of good and evil. Splendidly told, this story of star-crossed lovers will keep the reader turning the pages. Those who enjoy well-written historical fiction with a strong infusion of romance will very much like this book.
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on 27 February 2003
This is my all-time favourite book.
It is a compelling tale which beautifully links past and present with the ideas of reincarnation and unending love. It is based on archeological evidence and historical mysteries, and born in the atmosphere of ancient castles, monasteries and manor houses.
A truly original story that can be read over and over again, but can't ever be forgotton.
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on 11 December 2004
I first read Anya Seaton when I was 12 or 13 (about 30 years ago!) and was completely hooked. Miss Seaton's prose was good enough so that you were never brought back to earth with a jolt because of a cliché or an awkward phrase. Her characterisation was excellent and thoroughly believable. Of her many books of historical fiction, I would recommend both Katharine and Green Darkness as her best.
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on 22 March 2001
When I first read this book I did not finish it as it was a bit spooky when I was 18 years old. Recently I re-read it at the ripe old age of 46 and it still made my spine tingle with that ESP sensation of deja-vu! It is based on a true story after the discovery of bones during the renovation of Igtham Motte, which had been bought by an American. The Brown family did exist and the people named in the novel were uncannily like some people of my accquaintance. We are all supposed to have lived past lives but this book was extremely close to the bone!
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on 2 November 2000
Set mainly in the emotive, verdant countryside of Kent and Surrey in south-east England, this is a rich and intertwining piece of historical fiction.
The story is wrapped around the real life, ninteenth century discovery of the skeleton of a young girl who had been walled up in the country house of Ightam Mote in Kent.
The main asset of this book is the middle, and longest section, set during the reigns of Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. Here, we follow the fortunes of a benedictine monk, and the young and beautiful Celia Bohun, who are drawn irresistably towards their fateful end. In this section of the book the action is gripping, and is wound around real historical events and people, that give the book an added zest and poignancy. Furthermore, the characterisation is profound, and bestows on the protagonists the three dimensional life that should be the aim of all fiction.
One is slightly disappointed by the nemisis of the main characters towards the end, in the unfolding of the inspiration for the book. Without giving too much away, it is dealt with in a somewhat perfunctory manner, not with all the horror and tragedy that one would expect from the tense buildup. Celia's way of meeting her end, in particular, seems weak coming from a girl who has hitherto showed such spirit and defiance.
Unfortuantely, the historical section is sandwiched between two modern periods, where another set of corresponding characters are dealing with the chaos thrown up by the tragedy in their former lives. It is this section of the book that detracts from the whole, and is less convincing. Strangely, the characterisation is thin, and the modern day aristocrats seem weak, stilted and unconvincing.
Furthermore, throughout this section one is acutely aware of Seton's beliefs in reincarnation, which at times feel a little overstressed. That said, it is fun matching up the characters with their former selves, and one can read these theories as novel literary devices, which, certainly add a new layer of interest to the story.
However, this does not detract from the book's overall grip and effect, which is even stronger if you take a walk around the ruins of Cowdray Castle, or the National Trust property at Ightam, to see for yourself where the tragedy is supposed to have taken place. After all, the characters really existed, and there was a poor young girl walled up inside an alcove. With a little imagination, one can feel her spirit still...........
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on 11 July 2011
Green Darkness is my very favourite Seton, and got me into trouble on it's first reading (years ago) as I was actually also reading it at work - for I couldn't bear to be parted from the story for those long nine hours!

Back then, the topic of reincarnation wasn't so popular, and this is a fantastic way to become more familiar, plus also the message of "reaping what we sow" as we pass through our various lives is strong. Even for someone knowledgeable on the subject, the story itself is a gripping "read".

Be prepared to leave the mundane everyday jobs to pile up - as you're drawn into this fanastic story!
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on 31 October 2015
Lovely to have the Kindle version of this book which in its paperback form I read when it was first published and could not put down. A love story with a twist and repercussions from the past during Tudor times where religion dominated people's lives and changes of monarchs brought turmoil to the country as a whole and to the people who sought to survive in those troubled times. A story that links present to that past and back again. Two characters dominate the story: a Celia and Richard in the present, Celia and Stephen in the past. The present lives intertwining with the past and with people who appear in their present life and sometimes in the past Actions and their consequences. Hatred which is allowed to go unpunished in the past, is changed in the present and punished for the past misdemeanour.
Set in places I know in London and in Kent, it was written with help from the owners of Ightham Mote where some of the most important actions take place. Still enjoyable to read even though its present is set in the 1970's.
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on 8 September 2011
A parallel of past lives and time...
The story begins in present day (at time of writing) in the lives of Celia and Richard Marsdon, a couple wildly in love but having problems in their fledgling marriage. After an incident on a visit to nearby Ightham Mote manor house followed by her husband's bizarre behaviour, Celia falls terribly ill and unconscious, drifts back into a past life where she is Celia De Bohun in the time of the boy King Edward Tudor, in a family of staunch Catholics. We follow her life and those around her from her early teenage years, where she falls for Brother Stephen Marsdon, a Benedictine monk teaching her Latin and religion, to the tragic circumstances of her death years later, where Stephen, too, is still a part of her destiny and fate, tied together by an unbreakable thread.
It is only through the aid of another, taking the journey back with her at a little distance and there by her bedside in the present day, that Celia can have a chance to break the cycle of tragedy and hurt that has followed this pair of fated, desperate lovers through time.

An absorbing, brilliant book from start to finish. Wonderfully written and evocative, and cleverly linked past and present. If you like anything historical, you will surely love this.
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on 16 April 2015
Love this book . . Came across it years ago and found it hard to put down. At the time I had got into the book, my Mother wrote and said she was going to visit a place called Ightam Mote with her cousin, a couple of days or so later, on the evening news was a report on the then American owner was giving Igtham Mote to the National Trust . . I know reincarnation is the true exsistance of the soul, different life times for different growth, so when Ightam Mote came up three times in a week I felt it was some sort of sign to go and visit. Sadly I've never got there due to circumstances but I will soon . . The description of events in Green Darkness keeps you enthralled, Anya Seaton~your a star . .
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on 1 December 2011
I do believe in reincarnation or transmigration of souls, and love good historical novels, so I was happy to come across a copy of this. It begins in 1968, in England, where Celia Marsdon is greatly troubles by angst that cannot be understood, and her husband Richard is becoming extremely abusive. Celia's mother has a friend, a Hindu doctor, Akananda, with a deep understanding of the laws of karma and past lives, who helps her get release from the troubles of a past life.
We are then taken to England of the Tudor period beginning in the reign of the sickly Edward VI and through Bloody Mary to the canny Queen Elizabeth I.
Celia de Bohun is a innocent but coquettish young beauty who unknowingly becomes caught up in the intrigues of the court and church. she is married off in a loveless marriage and is passionately drawn to the young priest Stephen who is torn between his love of Celia and his vows to the church. The saga ends in tragedy through the machinations of two jealous and malicious villains, but the journey to the past enables the 20th century Celia to find resolution in her current life.
A very fleshy passionate, vivid and well written work.
A Gothic cross between parapsychology and historic romance.
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