Katherine Swynford: The Story of John of Gaunt and His Scandalous Duchess

Katherine Swynford: The Story of John of Gaunt and His Scandalous Duchess

Hardback

By (author) Alison Weir

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Paperback $13.76
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 384 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 236mm x 38mm | 662g
  • Publication date: 23 October 2007
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0224063219
  • ISBN 13: 9780224063210
  • Illustrations note: 16 pp b/w illustrations
  • Sales rank: 135,198

Product description

In her remarkable new book, Alison Weir recounts one of the greatest and most remarkable love stories of medieval England. It is the extraordinary tale of an exceptional woman, Katherine Swynford, who became first the mistress, and later the wife, of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Katherine Swynford's charismatic lover was one of the most powerful princes of the fourteenth century. Their relationship was passionate and ultimately poignant. Katherine was renowned for her beauty; she was enigmatic and intriguing; and some of her contemporaries regarded her as dangerous. Her colourful existence was played out against a vivid backdrop of court life at the height of the age of chivalry, and she knew most of the great figures of the time - among them, her brother-in-law, the poet Geoffrey Chaucer. She lived through the Hundred Years War, the Black Death and the Peasants' Revolt, she knew loss, adversity and heartbreak, and she survived them all triumphantly. Although Katherine's story provides unique insights into the life of a medieval woman she was far from typical in that chauvinistic age. She was an important person in her own right, a woman who had remarkable opportunities, made her own choices, flouted convention and took control of her own destiny - even of her own public image. She was clearly intelligent, with immense ability, and fortunate enough to move in circles where these qualities were valued and encouraged in women. Although she was to suffer a moral backlash she coped brilliantly with the sweeping, and sometimes devastating, changes of fortune that befell her. Above all, perhaps, Katherine Swynford must be retrieved from the footnotes - and set to live and breathe again - because of her key dynastic position within the English monarchy. She was the mother of the Beauforts, and through them the ancestress of the Yorkist Kings, the Tudors, the Stuarts and every other sovereign since - a prodigious legacy which has shaped the history of Britain.

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Author information

Alison Weir lives and works in Surrey. She is one of Britain's foremost popular historians. Her books include Britain's Royal Families, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Children of England, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry VIII: King and Court, Mary, Queen of Scots, Isabella: She-Wolf of France, Queen of England and most recently the novel Innocent Traitor.

Review quote

"Alison Weir has perfected the art of bringing history to life. There is a breadth of vision to her research and writing that provides a sense of time and place as well as consequence." -- "Chicago Tribune" "Alison Weir is one of our greatest popular historians." -- "The Daily Mail" "Weir provides immense satisfaction. She writes in a pacy, vivid style, engaging the heart as it does the mind." -- "The Independent" "Alison Weir's hugely popular history books are as gripping as novels." -- "The Times of London"