So ask any historical fiction afficianado to give you a list of the best historical fiction novels ever written and dollars to doughnuts, Anya Seton's Katherine will make the top ten.
Originally published in 1954, Katherine is now considered a classic of the genre. It's a love story, really, about the 14th century Duke of Lancaster and his mistress (whom he later married), Katherine Swynford.
And can we let you in on a big, fat secret?
A Reader's Respite couldn't stand it.
Oh, the writing is beautiful. Technically speaking, there's absolutely nothing wrong with this novel. It's just that Katherine is presented as the most goody-goody Pollyanna we've ever met on paper. And it drove us nuts.
Here's a woman who cheats on her husband, has children out of wedlock, waits for her lover's wife to kick the bucket so she can marry him and legitimatize her children and yet, as Seton writes her, she can do no wrong.
We kept waiting for bluebirds to fly out of her butt.
And the point of all this ranting? Just because we didn't like it doesn't mean that budding historical fiction fanatics shouldn't read it. In fact, we think it's an unwritten rule somewhere that you must read this novel if you want to be admitted into the secret club.
So aren't you lucky that we happen to have an extra copy here in our hot little hands? If you'd like your own copy of this classic, leave us a comment saying so and on November 25th, check back here to see if you are our randomly chosen winner.
Easy peasy, right?