Why did I love this book?
I work on early modern history and the rest of my recommendations are from that era, but I couldn’t resist starting with a classic and the novel that got me hooked on biofictions. Published in 1954, this book will show its age to new readers, but Seton tells the story of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster (1350-1403) in a wonderfully engaging way. It gives a colourful account of life in medieval England. I first read this book as a young teenager and have returned to it over the years.
Katherine was born the daughter of a minor Flemish herald and became the mistress and later wife of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. While the historical record does not always support all aspects of Seton’s depiction of Katherine Swynford’s life, as a historical saga, the story takes over and sweeps the reader along.