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'The Best of Anya'

Debra
Newbie
Location: Northwest snowy Ohio

Seton

Postby Debra » Tue January 27th, 2009, 12:06 am

I agree with pretty much all of you regarding her books. I loved Kathrine and was thrilled to find Green Darkness at a library sale a couple years ago. My Theodosia haunted me in high school-not used to that kind of ending!

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Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Postby Margaret » Mon April 6th, 2009, 4:13 pm

Katherine is a wonderful novel. Moseyer just reviewed it for www.HistoricalNovels.info. She's read it more recently than I have, and I didn't envy her the task of summing up what makes it so wonderful in 330 words or less, but I think the review does a great job of introducing the novel to readers. Katherine Swynford lived at an amazing time in English history, and Katherine is both an impressive reflection of that time in history and a very personal story of a woman's life.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings and over 650 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

Chatterbox
Bibliophile
Location: New York

Postby Chatterbox » Fri April 24th, 2009, 9:25 pm

For me, it's Katherine, My Theodosia, the Winthrop Woman and Devil Water, in that order. Followed by one that has not been mentioned yet, the Hearth and the Eagle.

Katherine was the first I read, and I loved the story, the time frame, etc. (And I later found out that I'm probably descended from a Beaufort!) My Theodosia, because it shed light on a time in US history that I knew nothing about, with great characters. The Winthrop Woman is a great book about some of America's earliest settlers, and the perennial tension between religious idealism and diversity. Devil Water remains a favorite because I'm fascinated with the Jacobite rebellions and the scattering of Scottish/Irish populations that follow. The Hearth and the Eagle came about in response to Seton's own genealogical quest, which I find intriguing. (I'm planning to write something about how/why Americans become so obsessed with genealogy). It's a great story about an inn in Marblehead, Massachussets, with a generational element. But the bulk of it is solidly set in the lead-up to the Civil War.

Avalon, I read early, but didn't love as much. Dragonwyck, I enjoyed a lot as teenager, but it hasn't lasted as well for me. It feels more like a better-written Gothic novel, a la Victoria Holt, than Seton at her best. Though I learned a lot about the Dutch "patroons" of the Hudson River.

Interesting; just looking at this list makes me realize that while most people think of Seton primarily because of Katherine -- a book about England -- while so much of her historical fiction is really about American, from Colonial days to the 19th/20th century. Even in Devil Water, the heroine ends up in the colonies.

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LCW
Compulsive Reader
Location: Southern California

Postby LCW » Fri June 12th, 2009, 8:40 pm

Last night I finally finished Devil Water. I loved it!! But I'm even more pissed than ever at Phillipa Gregory's describing the relationship between Jenny and Charles as incestuous. I didn't get that feel at all, even in the prison scenes where she pretends to be his lover in order to see him. Yes, she was the love of his life but I clearly saw it as a father/daughter love.

That woman must have one perverted mind to come up with such baloney!

BTW, how bad is it that I found myself comparing time periods to Jaime and Claire? I found myself thinking, "by this time Jamie and Claire weren't even in the New World yet", etc. Ugh, it's a sickness, I tell you, a sickness! :D
Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. --Arnold Lobel

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Fri June 12th, 2009, 9:16 pm

"LCW" wrote:Last night I finally finished Devil Water. I loved it!! But I'm even more pissed than ever at Phillipa Gregory's describing the relationship between Jenny and Charles as incestuous. I didn't get that feel at all, even in the prison scenes where she pretends to be his lover in order to see him. Yes, she was the love of his life but I clearly saw it as a father/daughter love.


OK, it's not me then. PG totally hacked me off when she did that forward and insinuated that the relationship was incestuous. Grrrrr.... :mad: :mad:
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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ellenjane
Reader

Postby ellenjane » Sun July 5th, 2009, 7:25 pm

I just finished Devil Water, and I liked about 80% of it. The final pregnancy storyline did not sit well with me, though. (Trying to be circumspect for those who haven't read it.)

I don't have the new version of the book, so I don't know exactly what PG said about the Jenny-Charles relationship. I thought there were some shades of an inappropriate father-daughter relationship when Jenny was in France with Charles' family, but I wouldn't classify the entire relationship as incestuous. After reading some of PG's early novels, I think that topic is just unusually present in her mind!

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love_uk
Reader
Location: Milwaukee & Northumberland

Joan's faves

Postby love_uk » Sat August 8th, 2009, 3:57 am

As I have had to buy multiple copies of Katherine & Green Darkness over the years (because I've worn them out), I would have to say they are my favorites.

Katherine has led me to romp my way through multiple Plantagenet castle ruins over the years & I have a sad Green Darkness tale to tell:

In 1974, enthralled by AS's descriptions & a chapter with photos in Great Houses of Great Britain, I attempted to visit Ightham Mote by public transportation. I made it as far as Ivy Hatch but couldn't find a taxi to take me the rest of the way. Had to give up & return to London. Alas, I was too young & scared to drive in the UK in those days. I read something last year about changes they have made there in recent years & no longer have the urge to see it. Anyone been there????

Other favorites are The Winthrop Woman, Devil Water & Avalon.
Joan

My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter. ~Thomas Helm

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Postby Margaret » Sat August 8th, 2009, 4:08 am

How frustrating! I've had similar experiences - it can be especially difficult cobbling together transportation in places where one doesn't speak the language very well. I did, however, succeed in getting to a research site in Britain where they have recreated some houses similar to those in which Celtic people lived in pre-Roman times. Alas, I have never been to Ightham Mote.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings and over 650 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Michy
Bibliophile
Location: California

Postby Michy » Mon May 24th, 2010, 6:08 am

This past year I read (in some cases re-read) every one of Anya Seton's books. Here's how they stack up for me:

Top tier: The Turquoise, Dragonwyck and Devil Water
Second tier: Katherine and The Winthrop Woman
Middle tier: Avalon, The Mistletoe and the Sword, My Theodosia, Foxfire
Bottom tier: The Hearth and Eagle, Green Darkness
Very bottom: Smouldering Fires (this was Seton's last work and it was very poorly done)

As for those of you who commented on Philippa Gregory's forwards/afterwards -- I totally agree. It seemed to me that she barely had anything good to say about Seton's work, and in some cases she seemed to be saying, "if I had written this book I would have done a better job." I wondered why Chicago Review Press even included her comments.
Last edited by Michy on Mon May 24th, 2010, 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Mon May 24th, 2010, 12:40 pm

Very bottom: Smouldering Fires (this was Seton's last work and it was very poorly done)


I couldn't even finish this it was so dated. What was it a teacher or something going off alone with one of his students?
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be


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