Saturday, March 10, 2007

Now a Green Darkness

While reading Anya Seton's Green Darkness as part of the Chunkster Challenge, I picked up White Darkness, which I've just reviewed. What's next, Heart of Darkness?
In any case, I've finished at long last Green Darkness, a loooong historical novel partly to do with reincarnation and karma. The working out of one's fate over lifetimes is suggested by the framing narrative; Richard and Celia are married in this lifetime, sometime in the 60's. Their marriage begins to fray dramatically, and it is all because they were Celia and Brother Stephen in 16th century England, and had a doomed love affair. As I read in another review, the framing narrative is a bit dated and cheesy. It is very 60's, with requisite gay fashion designer friend. This set-up was necessary for the reincarnation issues, but the meat of the book is the life of young Celia Bohun during a time of political upheaval in England. The love story, mainly Celia's obsession with the house priest Stephen, is believable and understandably tragic. The political atmosphere, that of Catholics and Protestants warring during the instability following Henry VIII's death and the struggle for the throne between his children Edward, Mary and Elizabeth is exhaustively detailed, yet is never tiring. The depth which she goes in to about the supporting characters' lives does makes the story a bit long and wandery at times. However, the writing itself is earthy and descriptive, lots of historical detail, with small, telling features highlighted in her characters.
All the way through I was still getting that whiff of the 70's. (It was published in 1972.) But, if you're a historical novel fan, this may be one you'd like. I've heard that if you're an Anya Seton fan, you'll either champion this novel or her other big historical, Katherine. I'll have to try that one too, and see on which side I fall.


  1. Aside from the whiff of the 70's you mention, the story does appeal. Onto the TBR Mountain it goes.

  2. Heather - should I say sorry?? My TBR mountain is growing by leaps and bounds as well...

  3. I bought this book a year or so ago. Glad to hear you enjoyed reading it. I think it's interesting how our reading sometimes centers around a certain word like 'darkness'. I remember reading 3 books with 'bee' in their titles and 3 other books with 'nectar' in the titles. Maybe when I get around to reading Green Darkness I'll look for White Darkness.

  4. Booklogged - I find that commonality happens again and again. Perhaps because we're subconsciously noticing a certain word? By any chance, was one of the 'nectar' books you read Kathy Hepinstall's The Absence of Nectar?

  5. I haven't read this one (although I may have to, now that you have brought it to my attention), but I loved "Katherine" when I was younger. Perhaps I will revisit it too!


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