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History Writing at its Best. Very Readable.
on 14 June 2016
One of my favourite sayings is: 'truth is stranger than fiction.' Although Anya Seton composed a very readable, wonderful tale out of the life and times of Katherine Swynford (nee Roet), I have to say that that I find Alison Weir's carefully researched and compiled historical account of Katherine's life and times even more fascinatingly interesting. Ms Weir is a great communicator with a readily assimilated writing style. She keeps to the point and never waffles, which is more than can be said for some novel writers.
The work consists of author's notes, introduction, a prologue and ten chapters: 1: Panetto's Daughter. 2: The Magnificent Lord. 3: The Trap of Wedding. 4: Mistress of the Duke. 5: Blinded by Desire. 6: The Unspeakable Concubine. 7: Turning Away the Wrath of God. 8: The Lady of Kettlethorpe. 9: My Dearest Lady Katherine. 10: The King's Mother. There's an Appendix dealing with Anya Seton's 'Katherine', genealogical tables, bibliography, notes, references and index plus two sections of coloured pictures.
Our present Queen and Royal Family are directly descended from Katherine Swynford through her illegitimate, later legitimised, children by John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, who were surnamed 'Beaufort.' It was Katherine's great grand daughter, Margaret Beaufort, who married Henry Tudor who became King of England as Henry VII after the death of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
The book takes us enthrallingly, step by step, through the life of times during which this remarkable woman Katherine lived and was loved by one of greatest characters in English history. Ms Weir has done a wonderful job in carefully researching and bringing together the known facts about her. This is history writing at its best and thoroughly recommended. By the way, Katherine's sister Philippa was the wife of Geoffrey Chaucer.