After many, many recommendations, this was the first Anya Seton book I read. This story of reincarnation has been in my possession for many years so I don't know why I had procrastinated for so long. I had even picked up a hardback edition when I visited the bookstore capital of the world, Hay-on-Wye in Wales last year. Somehow, I knew once I read it that it was going to become a keeper. At any rate, I am sorry I didn't read it earlier, because I certainly savored every page.The first portion of the book is set in 1968. American heiress Celia Taylor has married Richard Marsdon after meeting the young British nobleman on a cruise. They are blissfully happy and living on his Sussex estate when, during a visit to nearby ruins of a cathedral, she experiences some rather bizarre visions and her husband begins to be rather distant. Then, after a visit and tour of Ightham Mote, a manor house in the next county, she rather mysteriously faints. Her friend Dr. Akananda is worried. And he, but only he, knows what is going on. When Celia lapses into a catatonic state after hosting a dinner party, her future is very much at risk. It appears she needs to relive the events of her prior life before she can find happiness in the present.At this point, the next 400+ pages of the book is set in the 1550s beginning with a visit of the young King Edward VI to the estate where Celia, now 15-year-old Celia Bohun, is living with her aunt Ursula. There she meets Stephen Marsdon, the young monk who has become the house priest for the estate, albeit covertly in the now protestant country, as decreed by Edward's father, Henry VIII. Celia is immediately smitten.Read more ›
I've read this book two or three times in the last few years and have forced all of my friends to read it also. The book incorporates all of the elements of romance and intrigue. It deals with such topics as forbidden romance and the kind of love that is so intense and powerful that it is only temporarily hindered by death before it transcends into the next life. The character Celia is the perfect mixture of innocence and seductiveness. The story line follows her as she grows into womanhood and you fall witness to her falling in love for the first time with the one man whom she can never have. The novel is set in England during the 1500s whose own tale of royalty, deceit and religious turmoil makes for a fascinating story unto itself. The novel is a little lengthy but well worth the effort. You'll never be able to put it down once you begin to read and it will leave you with a story that will haunt your dreams and that you will never forget.
In the 1960's, young Celia Marsdon travels to England to visit the ancestral lands of her husband, Richard Marsdon. Once they get there, things get strange--Richard begins acting like an utter jerk, while Celia begins to have strange fits and visions. Celia's mother has befriended a Hindu guru, Dr. Akananda, and it is he who figures out what's wrong with the young couple. The troubles of the present time can only be solved by revisiting a tragedy from the past.And so the older story begins, in the reign of Edward VI, as lovely young Celia de Bohun and her loving aunt take up residence with a grand family as "poor relations". Celia is a fascinating and "real" character, full of contradictions and human failings. She is headstrong and impulsive; dreaming of true love but entranced by male flattery; innocent but coquettish. She creates a scandal when she falls in love with the family chaplain, Stephen--who in turn desires Celia but does not want to break his vow of chastity. They part--but never forget each other. Time passes; Edward's persecution of Catholics gives way to Mary's persecution of Protestants; the family fortunes rise and fall; sympathetic characters harden into detestable ones (I weep for you, Magdalen!). Anya Seton draws us deeply into her world, filled with schemes, ambition, and lies; and with ghosts, madwomen, superstitions, and a particular, notorious Celtic witch. And when Celia and Stephen finally meet again, nothing can stop the power between them. It ends tragically, and we cry; we've been so sucked into the Tudor story that we forget we're headed back to the 1960's to resolve it all. One gripe: It always gets on my nerves when authors of historical fiction insert modern beauty standards into their novels.Read more ›
'Green Darkness' was recommended to me by a friend and I loved it. This is the first Anya Seton book I have read, and I enjoyed it so much that I hope to read all of her books. 'Green Darkness' portrays the life of a young girl in the mid 1500s. Ms. Seton captures the time so well that, while reading it, the reader will feel that he or she is actually there at Cowdray Castle, agonizing over whether to become Protestant, or to remain Catholic.'Green Darkness' starts out in 1968, in London, England, with an American girl, Celia, and her fiancé, Richard, driving through the countryside, stopping occasionally to look at old castle ruins. While in a particular castle, Celia gets a strange feeling that she had been there before, though she had never even been to England, much less to a castle ruin. Richard tells her to disregard the feeling (typical!) and go on with life. Celia tries, until Seton magically transports her back to the sixteenth century living the life of a beautiful, young, medieval, orphan girl living with her Duchess aunt.If you love historical fiction you will most definitely enjoy reading this book. By Anya Seton's mystical story telling, you will be transported along with Celia, and find yourself as out of your time as is she. I enthusiastically recommend 'Green Darkness' to you, as a friend, especially if you need to get away from it all!