I've been casting around today for something to read on a forthcoming plane/train journey, and in a house full of books that's harder than it should be. Whatever I take has to be easily portable, so hardbacks are out (the very interesting Tellers of Tales, my current read, will have to go in hold baggage), and nothing on the Kindle seemed to suit, so I've been scanning the shelves and literally weighing likely candidates.
In the end I have plumped for Green Darkness by Anya Seton as the edition I have is compact enough for my purposes and came to mind the other day when I saw an Instagram post by Eva who was about to embark on the audiobook of Anya Seton's Katherine.
I remember finding my copy of Green Darkness in a box outside a second-hand books shop in Eton. I was about fifteen at the time and was with my aunt who had read the book, warmly recommended it, and spoke of her visit to Ightham Mote, one of the novel's settings. I read it then and loved it, but will I like it now, I wonder.
Kate Mosse says it's "seductive, atmospheric, intriguing, one of those classic novels you come back to time and again," so that's promising, as is the following from Books and Bookmen:
"Perhaps the greatest gifts Anya Seton brings to her historical novels are the zest of her narrative, the life she breathes into the most insignificant characters, and the atmosphere of the era she evokes around them."
Here's the blurb (albeit one with more than a glimpse of a ripped bodice): "The young Celia de Bohun has fallen helplessly in love with Stephen, the resident priest in the Catholic household of Sir Anthony Browne. Against his will, Stephen returns her love. Gripped by the sweetness of their forbidden passion, the young lovers become the victims of their savage times. Centuries later their tragedy threatens the life and happiness of another Celia. She can only be saved by piercing the green darkness of the past and revealing its mysterious truth."
Now, about that cover ...