Mistress of the Monarchy: The Life of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster

Mistress of the Monarchy: The Life of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster

by Alison Weir
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Overview

Mistress of the Monarchy: The Life of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster by Alison Weir

BONUS: This edition contains a reader's guide and excerpts from Allison Weir's The Lady in the Tower and Mary Boleyn.

Acclaimed author Alison Weir brings to life the extraordinary tale of Katherine Swynford, a royal mistress who became one of the most crucial figures in the history of Great Britain. Born in the mid-fourteenth century, Katherine de Roët was only twelve when she married Hugh Swynford, an impoverished knight. But her story had truly begun two years earlier, when she was appointed governess to the household of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and fourth son of King Edward III. Widowed at twenty-one, Katherine became John's mistress and then, after many twists of fortune, his bride in a scandalous marriage. Mistress of the Monarchy reveals a woman ahead of her time—making her own choices, flouting convention, and taking control of her own destiny. Indeed, without Katherine Swynford, the course of English history, perhaps even the world, would have been very different.

NOTE: This edition does not contain illustrations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345512918
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/27/2009
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 79,480
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Alison Weir is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Innocent Traitor and The Lady Elizabeth, and several historical biographies, including Queen Isabella, Henry VIII, Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Life of Elizabeth I, and The Six Wives of Henry VIII. She lives in Surrey, England with her husband and two children.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Mistress of the Monarchy: The Life of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As Weir mentioned, I would sigh when I'd run across my ancient, dog-eared copy of Seton's Katherine - a much loved book that I've kept with me through six or seven moves over the years. When I saw this book - besides being a fan of Weir's (I think I've read most of her other bios of the same period), I couldn't wait to order it. Not a huge book, but it is well written, enjoyable, however, the one striking thing is that if the reader isn't somewhat versed in medieval history, it can be a little rough, just keeping the names and people straight. I had studied history at one point in college, and always kept on on late medieval/Tudor history (little weird - pleasure reading for me), and I could see how it could be a little difficult to remember who everyone was, how they were connected. Overall, I enjoyed it immensely; Weir gave Katherine Swynford a living, breathing form, a woman who seemed to almost live on her own terms in a time when women didn't. Of course, there isn't much information on Katherine, but Weir really did her research, which given some of the sources she needed to look at and delve into, was difficult. Overall, an enjoyable, stimulating book that I will have next to Seton's Katherine on my bookshelf.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As the author stated somewhere in the introduction or thereabouts, she has always wanted to write about John of Gaunt, but someone suggested she write about Katherine, and this book, although the title leads you to believe she is writing the book about Katherine, is truly about John. Yes Katherine figures into the story, but little more than other people who surrounded John throughout his life. Also, much of what was written about Katherine was speculation and assumptions. Although the book is interesting reading,I was disappointed that the author misled people into reading the book by indicating that Katherine was the main subject, when in reality the book is the story of John of Gaunt. I enjoyed reading it, but it wasn't at all what I expected. That said, if you would like to find out a great deal about John of Gaunt, and a little about Katherine, this would be a good book to do so.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like so many others, I became obsessed with Katherine and John of Gaunt after reading Anya Seton's "Katherine.". This book is history, not a novel. While it gives as full a picture of Katherine as possible, given the lack of official sources, it doesn't really flesh out the human being, and is therefore a little disappointing.
GeeWhizz More than 1 year ago
Great book, lots of historical research done! It is much more historical research than a novel. Story of Katherine is very unique, i really enjoyed getting to know it. I also loved that the book wasn't focaused on Katherine alone, it also gave lots of perspective on the history of England of the time. Very educational and at the same time exciting book, highly recommend!
lovehistory More than 1 year ago
I have read every biography by AW. This one is just as well researched and written as all the others. It reads more like a biography of John of Gaunt than of Katherine Swynford. He was a fascinating historically significant man, but my original interest was with Swynford. Contemporary evidence of Katherine Swynford's life just doesn't seem to exist.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great woman she must have been. I loved Alison Weir's extensive research. She brought Katherine and John of Gaunt to life for me. It's basically a history book, but written in such a way that anyone would find interesting. I highly recommend.
Herbie14 More than 1 year ago
Katherine Swynford, her second husband John of Gaunt, and their children are some of the most interesting people to live in the mid- to late 1300's, into the early 1400's. Her connection with Geoffrey Chaucer and the Plantagenet and Lancastrian kings makes her all the more interesting. The book was obviously well researched, with gaps in the surviving records well thought through, with various pathways presented to bridge those gaps. Ms. Weir's homage to Anya Seton's "Katherine" is refreshing, given the remarkable accuracy of that novel, and the following it has enjoyed over the years. The love story that obviously exists between Katherine and John has come through very well in this book. The impact Katherine had on England during her lifetime, and to this day through her descendents, cannot be understated. Ms. Weir provides her normal excellent portrayal of this important historical figure. This is a must-read for all history buffs.
JASharkey More than 1 year ago
I found it interesting. I love Alison Weir's intergrity as an historian. Always giving multipul explinations for why Katherine's presence was not noted. (Weir does not say I KNOW SHE WAS THERE, Weir says should could have been there or there or was here, but not noted. I like Weir's honesty on her doubt.)
Melissa_W More than 1 year ago
Alison Weir continues to have the magic touch, creating a silk purse from the sow's ear of the written historical record. While Weir acknowledges that Anya Seton's novel brought Katherine Swynford out of the woodwork of history, Weir tries to remove the romantic film from Katherine's life; her time period in history was violent and unpredictable and Katherine was reviled in her lifetime because of her status as a royal mistress. Through births, marriages, and political upheaval in England, Katherine Swynford helped found three royal houses and influenced a fourth; she also was granted the management of her own lands during her lifetime, an amazing feat. As with Weir's other books about great ladies, particularly that of Eleanor of Acquitaine, she works primarily by establishing first what is concretely known then building outward using household registers, grants, and knowledge of the movements of other more well-documented players. The reader gets not only a biography about Katherine Swynford but also one on John of Gaunt and a good working knowledge of the political climate in England in the late 14th-century, sort of like a three-for-one deal.
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Not what I expected the book to be. I found some parts to be tedious bbut better than taking a sleeping pill to put you to sleep.
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onetruebrit More than 1 year ago
Growing up in the UK I was aware of Katherine as my favorite historical personage has always been John of Groats, The Duke of Lancaster I can't tell you why, a teenage personal reaction? But when I started getting into the character of Katherine Swynford even he came more to life than before. My favourite book of all time is Katherine by Anya Seaton and this book is not a continuation of that but gives an enlighting portrait into the why's, wherefores and the how of her life and why she chose to stay with this man. She was a very powerful influence on a very powerful man. This is a good read and a wonderful book for discussion