Thursday, January 24, 2008

Author's Choice: Sandra Worth presents Katherine by Anya Seton

This is something that I have been thinking about for quite some time. What if we started a series of weekly posts in which some of the most popular and respected authors of today share their favorite book or a great new book? Well, here we go. I have asked some of the bestselling authors in many genres as well as some of the great authors who have become friends of this site over the last few months to share with us. I suspect that we'll have a few more books to add to our reading piles.

Our first Author's Choice is being presented today by Sandra Worth, a wonderful historical fiction author whose new book, The Lady of the Roses, will be a feature giveaway to be accompanied by an author interview. Sandra has proven to be a very approachable and
dedicated author who I am proud to have begin this Loaded Question tradition.

Sandra Worth presents Katherine by Anya Seton

As a young child, I escaped into fairy tales the moment I could read. When I ran out of new ones, I wrote my own and illustrated them. The prince always came for his princess, and the stories always ended happily. I finished my little book of fairy tales at the age of eleven, and then I discovered a whole new world of real princes and princesses through a novel I was given.

There I learned a different truth. In the real world, the lives of princes and princesses was very complicated and often didn’t end well. But I couldn’t leave the medieval world, because I had fallen in love with chivalrous knights in shining armor, and history, and the extraordinary men and women who once lived.

That novel someone gave me was KATHERINE by Anya Seton. It was 800 pages long, and I was only eleven, but I stepped into the medieval world it unveiled, and never really left. I read the book four more times until I lost it at the age of fourteen. It went out of print, and all I could do was bemoan my loss, and tell everyone what a great story it had been. Decades later, KATHERINE was reprinted. I bought a dozen copies so I'd never be without one, and I remember that I smiled to myself as I opened up my brand new KATHERINE and settled down to read. I even remember my thought as I did so. I was wondering what had caught my childish imagination all those many years ago. I fully expected to find a thin, simplistically written novel that read like an entrancing young adult story.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I found myself captivated and mesmerized once more by the complex world I had stepped into and I fell in love with John of Gaunt all over again. He symbolized for me chivalry, commitment, honor and nobility, but he and Katherine lived only in the pages of Anya Seton's book, and I couldn't let them go. One night my husband and I lay reading in bed when I finished the book. As was my wont, I turned right back to the beginning to start over. I can still see the shocked expression on my husband's face as he turned to me and said "How many times are you going to read that thing?"

I had read "that thing" eight times by then, and "that thing" changed my life. Because I knew what to look for, I had found and married my own John of Gaunt, and here I am today, writing historical novels. The greatest compliment anyone can pay me is to tell me I write like ANYA SETON.

Now what, you may ask, is the fascination of this book?
And I will say with a smile, Read it, and you'll know.

Sandra Worth is the award-winning author of : The Rose of York: Fall From Grace, The Rose of York: Love and War,The Rose of York: Crown of Destiny, and the upcoming The Lady of Roses.


Marg said...

This is definitely as close as it gets to a classic in HF terms! Thanks Sandra for writing about it!

Marg said...

I've tagged you for a book meme. Details here

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