Books

What is Your All-Time Favourite Read? “Katherine” by Anya Seton

I have a collection on Google called “Young Adult Books You Can Read More Than Once”, and while writing a post for that the other day I remembered in one of my all-time favourite books, Katherine by Anya Seton, a book I’ve mentioned in interviews and  FAQs quite a few times before, and I thought everyone must have one or more, probably many more. So what is your (or one of your) favourite all-time reads?

Katherine by Anya Seton is a book I read – and wait for this – forty years ago. Yes, I am that old. I was in my teens when I first read this. I loved reading and couldn’t get my hands on enough books at the time. I particularly liked meaty sagas. You know the kind I mean, the book of substance, the book that had an important message to tell, of an event we should never forget, or a book that was based on a true story, or my favourite type – historical fiction. The longer the meaty saga, the more I loved to bury myself in it. A book of a thousand pages would not be daunting to me back then, but would excite me. And yes, I didn’t have many friends. I lived on a farm that was not within walking distance of my school, so it was hard to have anyone come over. I was too young to drive the family car, and my family had only one car at the time with three children older than me. Being shy and awkward didn’t help my social life either. Books were my constant companions. Books were my friends. The school library was one of my favourite places in the world.

I can’t recall how many times I read the true story of Katherine Swynford (Roet) and John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, written by Anya Seton, but it was a substantial number. It had everything I loved, especially a to-die-for romance. You know the kind, the dangerous clandestine, cloak-and-dagger affair of a prince with the daughter of an obscure Picard herald who spent five years  in a nunnery and came to Medieval court at fifteen. There were castles and gallantry, knights, lords and ladies, kings and queens, battles and plagues. And though Anya Seton penned “Katherine” more than 60 years ago, other than a change in writing styles from then to nowadays, this novel hasn’t dated and likely never will.

Goodreads says it well: “This classic romance novel tells the true story of the love affair that changed history—that of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the ancestors of most of the British royal family. Set in the vibrant 14th century of Chaucer and the Black Death, the story features knights fighting in battle, serfs struggling in poverty, and the magnificent Plantagenets—Edward III, the Black Prince, and Richard II—who ruled despotically over a court rotten with intrigue.

“Within this era of danger and romance, John of Gaunt, the king’s son, falls passionately in love with the already married Katherine. Their well-documented affair and love persist through decades of war, adultery, murder, loneliness, and redemption. This epic novel of conflict, cruelty, and untamable love has become a classic since its first publication in 1954.”

katherine-by-anya-seton

Do you have an All-Time Favourite read?  Or have you read “Katherine” by Anya Seton? Love to hear your thoughts.

 

Comment on an Old Favourite

Old Magic UK Hardcover & OZ Paperback

First Edition Cover of Old Magic

On Goodreads this morning I found this comment left by Letti from Longreach, California.
“I first read Old Magic when I was in 7th grade back in 2000. I remember borrowing the copy from a friend who raved about it. And we literally passed the same copy around through a huge group of friends. We were all in love with Jarrod. I have great memories of this book not only because of the story itself but because of the love for reading that this book sparked.”
Thank you, Letti, for making Old Magic, that was already special to me as my first published book, even more special.
Old Magic Covers Four

Four Covers of Old Magic

Countdown to FEARLESS Release in 5 weeks and 4 days

Invitation to FEARLESS Launch

Invitation to FEARLESS Launch

Dymocks and Bloomsbury Publishing are holding a launch to celebrate the release of FEARLESS. So if you are in Sydney in July, on the 18th at 11 am, I will be at Dymocks, 424 George Street, and I would love to meet you and sign your books.

This is going to be a great event as I will be sharing the launch with Bloomsbury’s amazing Young Adult Manager, Sonia Palmisano, who will be giving an exclusive preview of Bloomsbury’s upcoming Young Adult books.

Bloggers and Young Adult fans, this is an event not to be missed. Come and have a great time. Details are on the Invitation posted above.

I am especially looking forward to this event as I was born in Sydney in the outer suburb of Windsor on the Hawkesbury River. I went to Marayong Primary School and Rooty Hill High, worked in Pitt Street as a Stenographer while commuting from Plumpton, and subsequently from my first home in St Clair.

FEARLESS will be my seventh published book, the final in the Avena Series, and I could not be more thrilled to celebrate the release with a launch in my home state.

I look forward to seeing you there.

RSVP to eventscoordinator@dymocks.com.au

GIVEAWAY

Win a Signed Copy of Broken

Win a Signed Copy of Broken

What Inspired The Avena Series

Q. What inspired you to write your new series about angels?

The Avena Series, with the titles Hidden, Broken and Fearless, began as a thought in my head many years ago and developed over a series of events that happened to me during 2004 and 2005.

In 2004 I had just finished writing The Key, the third book of The Guardians of Time Trilogy. The Key was at the copy edit stage and almost ready to send to the printer for publishing. I had started to think ahead to what I would write next and one thing I knew was that it would be about an angel. Then I became ill. I was feeling run down and becoming short of breath. But I was a mother of three teenagers and didn’t think much of this until I found it difficult to climb the stairs at the front of my house.

It wasn’t long after seeing my doctor that I was diagnosed with aggressive Myeliofibrosis (bone marrow cancer). My body was not making blood anymore and what blood I had in my system was turning into scar tissue and enlarging my liver and spleen. I found out later that I had only a few weeks to live, but a stem-cell bone marrow transplant using my sister’s cells saved my life.

I spent twenty weeks in hospital in an isolation ward where I endured some very dark and seemingly endless days and nights. A few weeks into my recovery from the transplant I suffered a setback in the form of a fall, and because the chemotherapy had weakened my bone structure, I fractured five vertebrae in my low back and over the course of the next few months, my spine (and my height) crushed down by seven inches. I had a lot to deal with and my pain medication had the side effect of making me drowsy.

But when I returned home I felt that I had been given a second chance at life, and my experience in the hospital had me thinking about the wonderful people, the doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, pain specialists, and all my family and friends, my fans who wrote to me, and people I had never met wishing me well, and everyone who had been praying for me. They seemed like angels, and indeed to me they were.

My illness was the catalyst for writing The Avena Series. I took my thought of a story about an angel, gave it the theme of second chances, and developed my plan for three books. It took time to write due to the adjustments I had to make, the follow-up treatments, and my determination to build up my concentration levels again.

I am proud of my new series, and grateful to Bloomsbury Publishing for their wonderful support and belief in me. The Avena Series tells the story of an angel named Ebrielle who was abducted at birth, stripped of her name, hidden in a secluded valley on Earth, and raised to believe she is an average girl. But in her heart she knows she is different. How different puts her on a course of discovery, catapulted into action when she meets a troubled boy named Jordan. Their bond alerts the heavens, specifically her eternal soul-mate Nathaneal, a prince in the world of angels who has never given up searching for her, and unfortunately also the dark angel Lucien, whose obsession for Ebrielle brings the young loves and all the worlds of Earth to the brink of devastation.

Fearless Book 3 of The Avena Series

Fearless Book 3 of The Avena Series

Hidden, Book 1 of The Avena Series   Broken, Book 2 of The Avena Series