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264 of 269 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning!! This should get 10 stars!!
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...
Published on December 29, 2000 by Maudeen Wachsmith

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I remembered it to be
Green Darkness was one of my all time favorite books having read it about 30 years ago. This year I chose to do a re-read, something I rarely ever do; now I know why it's not a good idea to mess with memories.

According to my copy, an original 1972 copy, this is a story of a great love that spans from 16th century to the present day and a brilliant...
Published on July 5, 2009 by Ladyslott


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264 of 269 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning!! This should get 10 stars!!, December 29, 2000
This review is from: Green Darkness (Hardcover)
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.
The book is intricately detailed with history of the period and characters meet and have conversations with Edward and then Mary and other historical figures of the time as the political and religious structure of the country has gone from Catholic to protestant and then back to Catholic again.
It is interesting to discover who the counterparts of the dinner guests of Celia and Richard Marston in 1968 are in the 16th C. It is clear early on that Ursula is Lily (Celia's mother) and Julian, the Italian physician, is Dr. Akananda. Some of the other characters aren't as apparent until later and it would be seen as a spoiler to reveal them here.
A small warning, don't do as I did and put names of some of the secondary characters into an internet search engine. Doing this with one character revealed a major spoiler nearly 100 years before the book told of it. It was also very interesting to discover that two of the secondary characters were ancestors of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. So, for those who want to know more about the historical figures - major and minor - of the 16 C., I urge you to do so but wait until the book is completed.
Even though some of the details were a mystery, the eventual outcome of Stephen and Celia was pretty much known from the beginning. That said, the next to the last portion of the book where their 16th C. destinies are played out is some of the most dramatic of the entire book.
I'm not much into re-reading books - but this one is certainly going on my keeper shelf.
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64 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Green Darkness, March 4, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Green Darkness (Hardcover)
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.
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91 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tragic, Enthralling Romance, September 15, 2002
By 
Kelly (Fantasy Literature) (Columbia, MO United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Green Darkness (Hardcover)
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. I didn't like the treatment of the overweight girl, Mabel. This story is supposed to be taking place in a time when "pleasingly plump" was a compliment and not a euphemism. Had Mabel really lived, I doubt she would have been thought of so derisively. However, this gripe is sort of offset by the kudos I must give to Seton for having a sympathetic gay character in her novel--especially considering the date of publication. Even current romance writers (who should know better) still tend to assign homosexuality to the most depraved of villains. So, I grumble about Seton's treatment of the overweight, but I'm impressed with her treatment of the gay man in the story.
Overall: An enthralling story. Starts slow, but by the time you get to the halfway point, you won;t be able to put it down.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Book! I couldn't it put down, April 15, 2001
By 
Meg (Greenwich, CT USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Green Darkness (Hardcover)
'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!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My personal tradition, April 9, 2006
By 
V. Orcutt (Massachusetts) - See all my reviews
Just like some people go to the same vacation spot each year, reading "Green Darkness" has become my own personal little tradition from the time it first came out in print, sometime in the late 70s.

In fact, I've read my way through three incarnations of this book - wearing each one out to the point where I had to discard a badly tattered copy and then purchase another.

When I need a mental break, I immerse myself in the world of Celia de Bohun and Brother Stephen..."reliving" the misery and splendor of the 16th Century again and again, hoping each time that their story will not end in heartbreak, yet knowing that, in another life, they'll meet again.

A wonderful story, and even more thrilling to me when I discovered that many of the characters, like Anthony Browne, Geraldine, Maggie, and a few others really did exist.

One of my all time favorites.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible -- beautiful and tragic historical/paranormal!, April 27, 2006
Having read Katherine, I wanted to get my hands on another Anya Seton novel. Her words are beautiful and her accurate historical references in the Medieval and Renaissance eras are breathtaking. People recommended Green Darkness because of its timeless romance, historical feel and paranormal aspects centered on past lives and reincarnation. So I gave Green Darkness a whirl. This enormous book (a big trade paperback with over six-hundred pages) enthralled me from beginning to end and I wish it had been longer, that the magic hadn't ended. Despite its rather large size and intricate story, the novel ended too soon for me. (I like big books, but you have to make sure that you will enjoy the whole thing when getting a large volume.) I finished this gem in three sittings. The novel's setting begins in the late 1960s (around the year this was first published). Richard Mardson takes his beloved wife, the American heiress Celia Taylor, to his estate in Sussex, England. There he shows her around the ancient castle that had belonged to his noble family for centuries and introduces her to his friends and peers, all respectable noblemen and women like Richard. But something strange begins to happen between them. Celia is experiencing deja vu, as though she'd been there before. This happens the second she enters the castle. At the same time, Richard becomes restless and moody. Celia is bewildered by his abrupt change from the once loving man to someone who isolates himself and avoids her. Their lives and their marriage could be in shambles, and Celia has to go back to her previous life during Tudor England to figure out what had gone wrong in order to salvage their happiness at present time. Her past life is a woman named Celia Bohun who falls for a handsome monk named Stephen (Richard) Mardson. Their forbidden love is timeless and the things they go through are staggering. There are many twists throughout the novel.

I have read few novels that had made me go through as many emotions as this one had done. Celia and Stephen's love for one another was something truly beautiful and tragic at the same time. This novel brought me to tears by the time I finished. The building of tension between the protagonists is almost palpable. Celia is a very complex heroine. She is proud and innocent, but also could be quite the vixen when she sets her mind to it, especially when Stephen is involved. Stephen is a tall, dark and gorgeous hero who has taken a vow of chastity for his religion, but his attraction to Celia is undeniable and it is something that torments him. This part of his personality makes him a tortured soul and he is very appealing as a result. The part in which Celia looks after him when he falls ill is one of the sexiest scenes in the novel. It has a mixture of eroticism and innocence, for it is the first time Celia sees Stephen's nude body. The romance is indeed wonderful, but the historical references make this novel all the richer and more palatable. We experience all of the things that occurred during Tudor England, from Henry VIII's reign passing on to Queen Mary and onto Queen Elizabeth I. I have been reading quite a lot of historical/biographical novels and finding this book was like finding hidden treasure. You feel the time period and the events that took place in those times. The most insightful things for me were those centered on Queen Mary's persecution of Protestants and all the historical things that occur while time passes after the scandal centered on Celia's love for Stephen. The ending is one of the best endings I have read. Green Darkness is a true treasure that all historical enthusiasts should own. The story is quite intricate, not an easy read by a long shot (I find that most novels that center on reincarnation are very complex), but the overall development of the story is extremely well woven and beautifully executed. There are numerous characters in this novel, but I never felt like I had to keep up with them in order to remember them. Each character serves his or her purpose and I loved them (or hated them if they were villains). The one thing that puzzled me was the emphasis on Mabel's weight. I thought plump women were considered prettier in those times. And Celia (the twentieth century one) sounds a little too British for an American who'd set foot in England for the first time. Other than those negligible details, Green Darkness is perfect. Anya Seton was a great author, one of the best in her time. I think I like this novel more than Katherine. I wonder if Anya Seton and this novel inspired Jude Deveraux to write Remembrance (which I read at the same time as this one), which is another romance centered on soul mates and past lives partly set in the sixteenth century. Anyway, Green Darkness is one of the best historical/paranormal novels out there and I cannot recommend this memorable gem enough!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book you will read again and again., March 25, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Green Darkness (Hardcover)
As other reviewers have mentioned, this is a book I came back to read after a number of years had passed, and will, I'm certain, reread again sometime in the future. Seton's treatment of the workings of reincarnation are excellent, yet smoothly folded within the story of the principal couple whose forbidden love and its consequences throw them together in a contemporary lifetime. And not just them. Many others around them have returned this lifetime and play a part in resolving the injury previously suffered. One, who is our guide, a soul whose connections to two characters and need to resolve a failure to aid them from an even earlier time. Anyone who wondered about some of the tenets of theosophy will find this book a great primer. (Seton explains in a foreword that she learned many of the ideas the plot moves on through her mother her was a theosophist.) When I first read this book, I was young and completely immersed in the love story. Today, older, I still enjoyed that story but I truly appreciated the wonderful details that gave a feel for what it was like to live through this tumultous period of English History. There are many books on the experience of living during the reigns of Henry and Elizabeth--here is a chance to get a view of what it was to be a lord, lady, or commoner when Edward and Mary each went to extremes to enforce their view of what religion should be in England!! Think of this book as an investment--if you love historical novels with a bit of the fantastic, you will be reading this book many times and urging family and friends to do the same! (It is among a few of my books I WON'T lend out.)
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've lost track of how many times I've read Green Darkness., May 2, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Green Darkness (Hardcover)
I've read most of Anya Seton's books, but this is the one I turn to again and again over the years.
It is beautifully written, and the story and characters are memorable. You don't have to be a sentimental softie to be moved by Celia and Stephen's story. It grabs you almost from the start and doesn't let you go. It's easy to understand why Ms. Seton chose to tell it.
I was in my early teens when I first read it (close to 30 years ago), and I love it as much today as I did back then. You might not know it by reading a lot of today's fiction, but plot, dialogue and characters still matter to a lot of readers. This book has them all.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Old Favorite, January 3, 1999
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Green Darkness (Hardcover)
I picked up Green Darkness at the library many years ago and loved it. Frankly, I'd forgotten how delightful the story was until one of my friends recommended it. She said it was one of her favorite books ever. Knowing that it was an old favorite from my teenage years, I bought a hardcover copy from Amazon and reread it. Many books simply don't stand the test of time - but this one sure does! One of the best "time travel" books ever. It begins in the late 1960's with contemporary characters, but magically transports the characters into a former incarnation in the mid 1400's. The historical research is impeccable. I really felt like I was back in the time of King Edward/Queen Mary. The plot moves at a page-turning pace - and I was so absorbed in the characters that I even dreamed about them. I truly hated for the book to end.
If you like historical fiction, sprinkled with adventure, mystery, and mysticism (especially reincarnation) then you won't want to miss this book. You'll need a hardcover so it doesn't get battered when you share it with your friends. Just be sure you get it back, because even more pleasure comes from re-reading. It's a keeper.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb historical novel!, September 10, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Green Darkness (Hardcover)
I had read Green Darkness a long time ago (almost everybody here read the book a while back!). Anyways, since then I have read hundreds of other novels, but for some reason I have never been able to forget this novel.
I still distinctly remember the main protagonists, and Ms Seton's style of writing had such a marvellous quality of taking you back to the Tudor Era, making you feel that you were a part of that period. I have read many historical romances since then, but rarely do I feel transported back to the time about which I am reading.
Anyways, this is a wonderful book, and if you ever get your hands on it, read it and KEEP it. I am sorry I didn't!
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Green Darkness
Green Darkness by Anya Seton (Hardcover - June 1985)
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