Read Green Darkness by Anya Seton Online


This unforgettable story of undying love combines mysticism, suspense, mystery, and romance into a web of good and evil that stretches from 16th-century England to the present day. Richard Marsdon marries a young American woman named Celia, brings her to live at his English estate, and all seems to be going well. But now Richard has become withdrawn, and Celia is constantlThis unforgettable story of undying love combines mysticism, suspense, mystery, and romance into a web of good and evil that stretches from 16th-century England to the present day. Richard Marsdon marries a young American woman named Celia, brings her to live at his English estate, and all seems to be going well. But now Richard has become withdrawn, and Celia is constantly haunted by a vague dread. When she suffers a breakdown and wavers between life and death, a wise doctor realizes that only by forcing Celia to relive her past can he enable her to escape her illness. Celia travels back 400 years in time to her past life as a beautiful but doomed servant. Through her eyes, we see the England of the Tudors, torn by religious strife, and experience all the pageantry, lustiness, and cruelty of the age. As in other historical romance titles by this author, the past comes alive in this flamboyant classic novel....

Title : Green Darkness
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781556525766
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 591 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Green Darkness Reviews

  • mark monday
    2018-12-01 20:36

    1960s Great Britain back into mid-16th century England. reincarnation. undying loving. characters reborn but carrying the same damn baggage. all of that.for the most part this is an enjoyable novel about two lovers reborn who knows how many times, destined for tragic ends until they are able to sort out all of their issues. I loved the opening chapters: cosmopolitan aristocrats lounging around the pool, touring historical sites with rolled eyes, making loaded comments to each other during a dinner party... it was all so fun and chic. I should read more 'contemporary' novels written during that era featuring similar characters. what a droll life! i also enjoyed the remaining nine-tenths of the book set during the reigns of Edward VI, Lady Jane, Bloody Mary, and Elizabeth the Great. Seton clearly spent a lot of time researching the book, and it shows. the details are amazing but never overwhelm the story. and she does more than show off her extensive research - the novel is written by a person with such a strong feeling for the era that I eventually felt like I was living there as well. I love that kind of immersive experience, a world that feels real. all of the characters felt real as well - even major figures like Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth who appear only briefly.the moments when the characters experience what their future lives hold in store for them were great, but even better were the eerie moments when they glimpse their past lives. Seton doesn't explore those past lives, pre-16th century, so I can only imagine what they were like based on those very brief and haunting bits of imagery. tragedy on a Grecian isle? friend Richard criticizes the book for its gay character (reincarnated as well), but honestly I don't see a problem. I think Seton treated the 16th century version very fairly and sympathetically. his modern incarnation is dismissed as a "queer" by other characters, but that clearly is not Seton - it's her characters and the era itself.the villainess is brilliantly characterized. the petty, vindictive motivations. the weird rages during her many times of drunkenness. those dead black eyes.the big problem with the novel is in the characterization of its male lead. the protagonist Celia is very well done, three-dimensional and true to the era, frustrating and surprising, in general fairly passive but also often strong, or wayward, or defiant, or idiosyncratic. the sequence when she gives up on God was impressive. all in all, a richly developed character. her lover - not so much. well, he's well-developed but he's just such a pain in the ass. Stephen remains an obstinate, uptight, unappealing prude in each incarnation and is not only utterly unsympathetic but is genuinely a drag to have to read about. he's the only thing that brings this novel down. ugh.but all in a all, a good book and well worth reading for fans of historical melodramas.

  • Barbara
    2018-12-06 23:34

    I read this book when it was "new" and omg I LOVED it. It was complex and dark and romantic and my then 14 yr old self couldn't get enough.Someone commented that it's "dated". It wasn't then but it's a reason I've never tried to re-read it. I want to keep the feeling of how wonderful it was to younger less world-weary me.

  • Richard Derus
    2018-12-08 18:28

    Rating: 3 stars out of five, but only because I still love the memoryThe Publisher Says: This unforgettable story of undying love combines mysticism, suspense, mystery, and romance into a web of good and evil that stretches from 16th-century England to the present day. Richard Marsdon marries a young American woman named Celia, brings her to live at his English estate, and all seems to be going well. But now Richard has become withdrawn, and Celia is constantly haunted by a vague dread. When she suffers a breakdown and wavers between life and death, a wise doctor realizes that only by forcing Celia to relive her past can he enable her to escape her illness. Celia travels back 400 years in time to her past life as a beautiful but doomed servant. Through her eyes, we see the England of the Tudors, torn by religious strife, and experience all the pageantry, lustiness, and cruelty of the age. As in other historical romance titles by this author, the past comes alive in this flamboyant classic novel. My Review: My sister used to have a book store. She, our mother, and I all spent the summer of 1973, damn near 40 years ago now, reading this book. We'd been stealing it back and forth from each other until finally she gave Mama and me our own copies so she could read it in peace. We did a sort of group read on the book, and oh my heck how we liked it! I was a teenager then. I wasn't an inexperienced reader, but I was completely suckered in by anything to do with reincarnation. Mama was just getting the Jeebus infection that ate her sense of humor, compassion, and decency...all oddly enough while sexually abusing her teenaged son, funny how often religion masks corruption...and my sister was in one of the periodic hellish patches that have punctuated her road through life.We all resonated with the travails of the characters, trying to work out their manifold interconnections and karmic debts. The book's very Gothicness was deeply appealing to each of us for our own reasons, and gave us hours and hours of fun things to talk about. For that, a whole star in grateful memory.Rereading this at fifty-two was probably a mistake. The writing is very much what one would expect of an historical novelist whose career began in the 1940s. She was renowned in the day for her meticulous research, and yet says in her Preface (p. vi of the 1973 Houghton Mifflin hardcover I got from the liberry), “Source books make for tedious listing, but for the Tudor period {of Green Darkness} I have tried to consult all the pertinent ones.” Imagine someone, even a novelist, trying to get away with that now! There would be calumnious mutterings and sulphrous aspersions cast on the character and the ability of such an author. As if it matters in a work of fiction.The humid Gothic atmosphere of lust and love denied, the surrendered to, then disastrously brought to a close, was a little hard on my older self. I like romantic stories just fine, but the moralizing you can keep. And there is a deal of moralizing! Whee dawggie! The gay characters are within, so without, and Seton clearly has the attitude of her day towards gay men...the lusty lower-class wenches get their bastards and get turned out, the Catholic Church and its hypocrisy suffer agonies at the hands of the vile Protestant politicians...Seton was raised a Theosophist...good people turn hard and cold when given property to protect...the Exotic Hindu Doctor who understands Modern Medicine but Knows How to Be In Touch With the Spirits, oof!...oh, the lot!So not so much on the attitude. I get it, and in those days I absorbed it because it was the way my family thought, but how I wish I could go back to 1973 and smack this book out of my young hands! Along with Stranger in a Strange Land, its misogyny and homophobia leached right into my brain and lodged there. Never made me one whit less gay, just made me feel terrible about it, like the culture's messages continue to do to young and impressionable kids to this day.But the fact that the lady wrote this, her next-to-last book, when she was nearing seventy and had only just been divorced from her husband of nigh on forty years, and was beginning her long decline into ill health, makes Green Darkness a poignant re-read for me. Her life was unraveling, and mine was too (what little there was of it at that point); I think both my mother and my sister felt the same way. I suspect some resonance of that bound all of us to this book and spoke to each of us about its unhappy people in unhappy lives. There is, in the best romantic tradition, a happy ending. But I for one have never believed it.This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  • M
    2018-11-28 22:51

    I must be the only man who has ever read this novel. If you've been having difficulty getting to sleep, Green Darkness can help. I'm surprised some pharmaceutical company hasn't named a hypnotic after it. It's a long, dreary romance, rendered in prose that's the stylistic equivalent of dishwater, about a modern couple plagued by unresolved issues from a past life exasperating in all the wrong ways. The story idea seemed interesting, and I slogged through it one summer when I was in junior high school. Many years later, in a different chapter of my life, I came across a copy at a Goodwill store and, glancing at the dust jacket illustration, felt again an inexplicable attraction, whose source I determined to isolate. What was causing the projection? Was Green Darkness for me somehow a symbol of adolescence? I brought the book home only to find that the best things about it were the cover's eerie green forest scene and the vague, mistaken sense of potential that had lured me to read it the first time. My wife's appetite for novels is equalled only by mine for nachos and margaritas, so after a maddening attempt to reread it, I handed it to her, hoping I was wrong and completely off base. When she was about halfway through it, I asked, "Is it really as bad as I think it is?" She looked up, nodding slowly, and her annoyed expression said it all. I gave it two stars, one for the cover art and another for the spell the story casts until the reader gets to know the characters, feels the numbing effects of colorless narration more suited to bibliographical entries or dissertation abstracts, and starts wishing Seton had hired a starving journalism major to bang it out from a rough outline.

  • BirgitBottner
    2018-11-19 21:28

    That's my absolute favourite by Anya Seton. She combines present and past in this story of a crime in a medieval setting and how it's still affecting the present. She explains political and social issues in an easy to understand way. One of the books I keep re-reading

  • Lisa
    2018-11-21 23:32

    I was really looking forward to reading this book. Maybe that's why I was so disappointed with it. I truly liked the idea of the book (reincarnation and karma- two things I strongly believe in), which is the only thing that prevented me from rating it with one star. The characters were not real, I didn't felt as though I knew very much about how they were feeling and that some things were ridiculously elaborate (Julian is from Italy- we get it! I think that is mentioned at least 300 times. Yet his marriage gets one sentence when it happens and a paragraph later?? Would that not be slightly more important thank knowing that he's from Italy?)Worst of all, I felt like there was hardly much of a love story-- which is what the entire book is supposed to be based on (or that was my interpretation, at least.) It didn't seem to me that Celia and Stephen loved each other all that much (come on, she "forgot" about him SEVERAL times- you don't forget about the person you're truly in love with!) and Celia and Richard seemed to hate each other. They seemed to hardly know each other.Overall, very disappointing. If you want to read a real love story- go for Outlander by Diana Gabaldon instead.

  • Karen
    2018-11-10 16:47

    Try switching the genders in this story -- now it's a lonely (male) student developing a crush on a (female) teacher, who doesn't encourage the crush and tries to dissuade the student. Student carries a torch for the teacher for years, despite rarely seeing each other (except for a weird-almost-sexual-encounter during the middle of a home invasion??) and being married and widowed. Student sees teacher again, sexual advances ensue, teacher says "No" very clearly in several ways. Student then gives the teacher a medieval date rape drug and doesn't take no for an answer. Teacher moves away again, but student follows and continues badgering the teacher into running away together. Tragic young-lovers death follows.I would want the teacher to get away from this lunatic forever, not to get a chance to meet her again in another life and realize that he should have given in to a relationship earlier. She doesn't really understand the "love of her life" at all, and knows that she's doing wrong, and never once respects the guy's wishes. The only basis for their "love" seems to be that they're both good-looking and she's maniacally devoted; they certainly don't get to know each other in any meaningful way. Even in the modern story, they seem mis-matched with no real reason for being in love other than being chained into this recursive loop. Terrible, terrible story.

  • Tracy
    2018-11-25 18:35

    My mom gave me this book to read as a teen. It was amazing! It is set in two time periods so is a modern and historical mixed into one. You start with two people getting married in present day. Then due to circumstances they end up discovering they knew each other before in 1500s England. Obviously a very different time. Their love affair in the past was rather complicated as it wasn't "meant to be". The story explores past lives and reincarnation which was fascinating. The author clearly did her research well and brings to life the politics and way of life of the 1500s. It's a great love story as well. Highly recommended if you enjoy historical fiction....

  • MichelleCH
    2018-11-23 18:40

    I found this book sitting all by itself on a table at a library book sale. It was the last day of the sale and everything had been quite picked over except for this gem. Needless to say I grabbed it right away.Thank goodness for the Mt. TBR Challenge which prompted me to read those books which have been on my shelves the longest. This being one.The novel is divided into three parts and begins during what feels like the 1970's. Celia and Richard Marsdon are a wealthy young couple recently married and living in the Marsdon family home. One evening Celia falls into a trance-like state and we find out that she is revisiting her past life in the 1500's. Her past life involves a tragic love and ending which must be resolved in order for her present to be free. I loved this middle section and thought it was really well done. The reign of Edward the VI and his subsequent death felt really well researched and that shows in the writing. Seton explores the idea of reincarnation and atonement in an interesting way that is believable and not gimmicky. Another winner from Seton.

  • Joanne
    2018-11-28 17:32

    I read Green Darkness when it was first published, so I would have been a young teenager. It was the beginning of my love of dual time stories, and the forbidden love between Celia, the fair maiden, and the monk struck a chord with me. When I added it to GR, my nostalgic memory rated it 4 stars.If I was reading it now for the first time, I would be inclined to rate it 3 stars. The political and religious repercussions of the reigns of Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth made much more sense to me now and I enjoyed the historical details of setting, but the plot midway dragged terribly. I skimmed to the dramatic end of the 16th century tale which was the heart of the story. Looking forward to rereading Katherine, another Anya Seton that I think is the "jewel" in her body of work.

  • Lauren
    2018-12-04 16:49

    The storyline and narrative structure of Green Darkness are very different from other books I have read. Green Darkness starts out in 1968 with a house party. The hosts, Sir Richard and Lady Celia Marsdon are newlyweds but their relationship is anything but blissful, as Richard has turned cold towards his new wife in recent months. Several strange events lead Celia to enter into a catatonic state. One of the guests, an Indian doctor, realizes that Celia and Richard had known each other in a past life and the only way to rescue Celia is to revisit that past life so that she can resolve old conflicts. The novel then turns to Tudor times, beginning with the reign of Edward VI and ending with the early part of Elizabeth I's reign. It explores the forbidden relationship of the orphaned Celia de Bohun and the Monk, Brother Stephen Marsdon against a backdrop of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation as well as strict Tudor social mores. Romance readers might complain that the romantic moments between Celia and Stephen are few and far between. However, in the context of a forbidden relationship in the 16th century, I don't think the scarcity of romantic encounters is all that surprising. I think a lesser writer would have given them a torrid affair lasting years, but Seton created a relationship that bordered on obsession, with Celia's unwillingness to control her longing for Steven, the one man she really couldn't (or shouldn't) have. For much of the novel, the relationship is a backdrop and drives key events in Celia's life. Towards the end of the Tudor section, Celia's recklessness in pursuing her relationship with Stephen leads to tragedy and torment for both herself and Stephen, which causes the unhappiness of the modern Celia and Richard. After the tragic ending of the Tudor story (which is well-foreshadowed in the first part of the book), the novel returns to 1968 and the conflict between the modern Richard and Celia is neatly resolved.It took me a while to sink into the novel. I would give the first portion of the book only 2 or 2.5 stars. The Tudor section, however, is fantastic. I felt that in the Tudor part of the book, Seton found her comfort zone as a writer of historical fiction. The action moved swiftly, the historical settings were well created, the characters believable and human, each with real flaws. I would give that section (the bulk of the novel) 5 stars. The return to the present - the last 40 or so pages of the novel - felt like an after thought and in my mind, the story I cared about already ended with the section on the Tudor period. I think I would have liked the novel better without the element of reincarnation. At least for me, I couldn't really develop an attachment to the modern characters and I really didn't care what happened to them. On the other hand, Green Darkness would have been less unique and perhaps less memorable - perhaps like a Tudor version of The Thorn Birds. Perhaps the novel would have been more effective had the first 1968 section been shorter and the medical crisis situation cut out - maybe having Celia revisit her past through hypnotherapy? - with brief interludes cutting into the Tudor period to remind the readers about the modern cast of characters and reinforce the reincarnation element. Although Seton does cut into the Tudor element by giving Celia de Bohun visions into her future self 400 years later, those brief reminders don't really enhance the broader plot. All in all, Green Darkness as a whole might be my least favorite Anya Seton novel (I've also read Avalon, Katherine, and The Winthrop Woman). However, the Tudor portion of the novel was very good, and that section alone was nearly as enjoyable to me as Katherine.

  • Amy
    2018-11-17 21:33

    So. I am an Anya Seton addict. She is the most brilliant historical fiction writer ever. According to me, she makes Phillipa Gregory look like a red-headed step-child. That's a big deal.This novel is set in two times: England in 1968 and the same places in England at the time of the Reformation. Study of this period is kind of a hobby of mine, and Anya's research quenches my thirst for something more personal. Our protagonists, Richard Marsdon and his new bride, Celia, are the re-incarnated souls of an ancestor or Richard's, who happened to be a Catholic monk, and a young girl tied to his patron's family. Celia, in the present and past, is not my favorite female character (unlike Katherine), she's shallow and single-minded. Characters from 1968 England also are re-incarnated souls of people from the past. Terrible events lead up to Richard and Celia needing to revisit their past lives, their own hanging in the balance. Seton portrays England at the time of the Reformation, with all its uncertainties and constantly changing loyalties very well. You get Edward, Elizabeth, and Mary. It's nice to read a novel from the Catholic perspective at this time-most seem to focus on Anne Boleyn, Elzabeth I, etc. Sometimes, the novel can be a little dreary and Gothic. When Celia travels to Cumberland and lives with the Dacres, it is quite depressing. This novel is too good to give you much more than that. But after several times of reading it, I understand and catch the nuances from 1968 to the Reformation. Seton remains consistent hundreds of years apart and you must read it several times to catch the brilliance, but it's totally worth it.

  • Terra Kelly
    2018-11-12 18:29

    The Green Darkness by Anya Seton is one of my favourite novels. I originally found my first copy of it in a laundry mat, I randomly picked it up for something to do while I was waiting and then I fell in love. I sadly stole that book from the laundry mat so I could finish reading it. In a twist of fate I have gotten and lost that book on three different occasions!The book is set in two different time periods with a Tudor setting and a more modern setting (well kind of more modern) of 1968. It is a beautiful and tragic tale of reincarnation, love, jealousy, envy and selfishness. Have you ever felt Deja Vu or looked at someone and felt you knew them? That theory is the basis for this book.Celia meets Richard on a luxurious cruise and it's love at first sight for the both of them. They have a whirlwind romance and quickly get married. Celia moves into Richards country estates in England and that's where things begin to change for them. It culminates in a weekend party where all the players in an ancient drama get together again causing Celia to return to the past to fight the evil that afflicts her love/life in the course of a couple of life times.To me the really interesting part is that the author is known for her historical writing and this book follows that genre as well. Obviously we don't know if the reincarnation is real but the base story from the Tudor Era actually is. There is evidence about a priest written in a family's chronicle book as well a woman who was walled alive in another manor house from the same time era. Most likely these two events have nothing to do with each other but I love how she blended the two of them together to make an amazing and beautiful story.So if you are looking for something new to read and you love historical or paranormal romance then I would most definitely suggest this novel! The language is lovely and you genuinely feel as if you get to know Celia and Richard throughout the novel and feel bad for them as things just never seem to go the way they would have liked.Hopefully you enjoy this book as much as I did!

  • Stacie
    2018-12-03 18:46

    I've had Green Darkness in my to-be-read pile for a long time now. I don't know exactly what was making me so reluctant to begin it. For one thing, the story takes place in two time periods: the late 1960's in an historic English manor home and in 1550's Tudor England during the reigns of King Edward VI and Mary I. I love stories about Tudor England, but this was my first one to also include the element of reincarnation. While I personally don't believe in reincarnation, it does make for a fascinating facet to a story. I love how everything in the present is tied into the past. While I didn't feel alot for the 1960's Robert and Celia, I was sucked into Seton's description and story of Stephen, the monk torn between his vows to serve God and the provocative Celia, and Celia's longing for the man she couldn't have. While the novel is short on romance, I could feel the tension between Stephen and Celia in a way that seemed tragic and kept me turning the pages of this novel. Although, we know what happens to Stephen and Celia, the horror of it when we finally reach the climax, leaves you with a haunted, uneasy feeling. The title "Green Darkness" sums up the mood of this novel. I've never read a book quite like this one, which is always a good thing in my opinion. I love a good novel where I'm left thinking about it for days after I've read it. While Green Darkness is certainly not for everyone, I would highly recommend it if you're looking for something out of the ordinary. I've now been pleased with two of Ms. Seton's books, I loved "Katherine" and "Green Darkness" for different reasons, and I'm looking forward to reading more books by this author!

  • Terri Lynn
    2018-12-11 18:49

    I first read this in 1973 when I was 14. I plucked it off the shelves of my parents' bookstore and quickly became absorbed and a little obsessed with it. I read it over and over. I ran across a copy in a used bookstore this week and sat down on a couch to spend an afternoon re-reading it. Apparently 40 years later just before my 54th birthday (in March), this book doesn't have quite the same appeal to me as it did when I was in my very early teens. That's a pity. The atmosphere and mood are still there and I am still fascinated by the battle between Catholicism and Protestantism that went on among Henry VIII and his successors (as an Atheist, I am very grateful to the founders of our own country that they specifically set this up as a secular nation with NO official religion)but I have lost that loving feeling for this book. Now Celia and Richard seem to annoy me and the hokey reincarnation theme which bugged me then is just unbearably idiotic now. There is also the issue of romance. There was a time when I was a lot younger when I devoured romantic suspense. I was a huge Velda Johnston, Phyllis Whitney, Phillippa Carr,etc fan and even read a bunch of the original Harlequin romances in the late 1960's/early 1970's but now I like more mystery and as little romance as we can get. However, for those who DO like historical romance and are interested in England during this historical period and don't mind the reincarnation bit, this might just be for you and you could do a lot worse.

  • Zoë Marriott
    2018-11-18 18:22

    3 and 1/2 stars for this one. Meticulously researched, beautifully written and cleverly constructed, but the experience of reading it wasn't totally enjoyable because it's permeated with an almost suffocating atmosphere of sadness and impending doom. You know right from the start that unspeakable things are going to happen to the characters, and the deepening tension in watching as those events inch inexorably closer forced me to actually stop and take breaks now and again because it was all getting too much for me. Phew! Even the resolution of the story and the neat 'everyone gets what they deserve' ending doesn't really lessen the sense of melancholy. Frankly, this book has left me needing a hug.But having looked at some reviews of Seton's other books (and reassured myself that this is probably the darkest one) I'd be interested to check them out.Content Warning: Some dodgy racial and QUILTBAG stereotypes and a spurt of infuriating rape-apology/victim-blaming (the book was written in the 1960's, so this was not entirely unexpected).

  • Mimi
    2018-11-26 20:31

    My mom always comments that you need to keep in mind not only the timeframe that a book is set within, but the timeframe it was written. This advice could not be more applicable than with this book - here is the late 60s in all its glory - reincarnation, rape as a romantic act (and as part of accepted marital behavior), and mysticism. I can see it being captivating to a young teenager (and reminded me of some of the impactful Victoria Holts I read from that time) but reading with 21st century adult eyes it was pretty bad.

  • Misfit
    2018-12-04 19:45

    I enjoyed the book, especially the middle part (the majority of the story) about the first Celia and Stephen the monk. They had a truly sad ending, my heart especially broke for the fate of Stephen. Maybe it is just me, but the last part of the book just didn't flow well for me, but I can't put my finger on why. All in all an enjoyable read, but it definitely isn't Katherine, which all lovers of historical fiction should read -- that one deserves 10 stars at least.

  • Elizabeth(The Book Whisperer)
    2018-11-10 18:22

    I love this book! What a beautiful story. It is a time traveling story that begins in 1968 then goes to Tudar times. I love Tudar times. It is a tale of past lives and how they come back to haunt you. I highly reccomend it.

  •  ☆Ruth☆
    2018-11-18 22:21

    A disappointing read from Anya Seton. I have thoroughly enjoyed some of her books but find that her story-telling ability is not consistent. In this novel the characters don't come across as real people - they are all over-dramatized and rather foolish - I felt no empathy with any of them. Also the concept of reincarnation is a difficult one to handle and unfortunately this attempt was less than convincing.I hovered between 2 and 3 stars but gave it 3 because some of the historical detail of the Tudor period was interesting.

  • Margaret
    2018-11-17 18:38

    Katherine has long been one of my favorite historical novels, so I thought that it was past time to try one of her other books. I happened upon a copy of Green Darkness in my local used book store and figured that it would do as well as any to start out with. Sadly, I don't think it lives up to Katherine.Partly, it's the narrative structure that didn't work for me. Green Darkness starts in the 1960's, with recently married Richard and Celia Marsdon. When Celia starts having visions and then lapses into catatonia after a fight with Richard, the narrative shifts back to Tudor England, where Celia is reliving her past life (and Richard's). There's enough information in the first part about Celia's past life that much of the suspense is gone, and so much time is spent in the past that once we return to the present, it's hard to care about characters we haven't seen in hundreds of pages. Also, I didn't find the characters as compelling or richly drawn as in Katherine. On the plus side, the historical details are convincingly done; Seton obviously did her research. I'd probably read Green Darkness again at some point, but I hope to find that others of her books are closer to being as good as Katherine.

  • Evgenia
    2018-12-11 23:35

    Celia of 1968 falls into a terminal coma that she is able to defeat only by re-experiencing her past life on the periphery of the nobility in Tudor England. Promoted by its dusk jacket as a historical romance driven by supernatural forces, Green Darkness is more like 500 pages of history bookended with only token pages of romance and spirituality. That isn’t an indictment; the portrait of life during the English Reformation is an easy read even though it skips the goings on of the lascivious King Henry VIII. But I found myself wishing that the spiritual element—the interplay between past and present through the reincarnated souls of the characters—was more integrated into the main narrative. Anya Seton’s only brief snapshot of justice, karma, and spiritual memory is a well written contemplation on cosmic order that could have received better billing than as a mere framing device.As for the romance, it’s an underdeveloped McGuffin between two insipid and uninspired characters. My attempts to cast Brother Stephen as Jon Snow in my head could not save that.

  • Gretchen
    2018-12-05 15:42

    I think I would have liked this book more if I would have had time to read it faster. It was one of those books that called for devouring hours at a time. Instead I was lucky if I could sneak in 30-40 pages in a half hour. It was better than Devil Water but Katherine is still Seton's standard.

  • Marla Hayes
    2018-12-04 16:40 I loved this book so much that my writing partner and I optioned the screenplay rights and have written a feature script that we are marketing to potential producers. Check out our blog about the adaptation/marketing process at: http://greendarknessmovie.blogspot.caHelp us bring this classic to the big screen!

  • Chris
    2018-12-04 15:35

    I read this book when it first came out, when I was a young (VERY young) married woman who knew no one in her new town and haunted the local library. I remember LOVING it. And since it's been almost 40 (!!!) years since I read it, the time is coming to read it again, and I wonder....will I still love it? (And what if I don't?)

  • Laura
    2018-12-02 18:31

    This wasn't as good as the other Seton novels I've read. Despite an interesting idea, the characters weren't very real to me, and I didn't care very much what happened to any of them. Specifically, I thought the main character's husband was a huge jerk, even if he WAS wrestling with demons.

  • ~☆~Autumn♥♥
    2018-11-23 15:23

    Exceptional book but it did give me one of the worst nightmares of my life. The date I read it is a guess.

  • Ana T.
    2018-12-05 17:46

    After a steady diet of mysteries and romantic suspense novels I thought I needed something totally different.I've had this book in my TBR pile for more than a year. I had picked it up because I loved Katherine and I wanted to read more books by Seton. Also this book has a theme that fascinates me - reincarnation, karma, good and evil... - even if I'm not sure if I believe it or not. Maybe it was my feelings toward it that kept me from picking it up for so long but now I'm really happy that I did.The book starts in the sixties of the XX century. Celia Marsdon, a young american girl, married Richard a british gentleman and his fascinated by british history. They are having some problems as Richard's behaviour becomes strange. During a weekend house party Celia plans a visit to a nearby estate and feels strangely disturbed especially after hearing mention of a young woman being walled up alive 400 years previously. It's soon obvious that unknown forces are affecting both Celia and Richard who both display uncharacteristic behaviour who will lead them to a brutal scene that leaves Celia in a coma and Richard with a death wish.A interested and active participant in all this is Dr Akananda, a hindu medical doctor, friend of Celia's mother, who believes in reincarnation and how past lifes may affect your present one. He starts an unconventional healing treatment trying to save Celia by making her relieve her past.So a big part of this book, I should actually say the bigger part, is set in Tudor times during the reign of Henry VIII's children. As the drama unfolds we soon identify most of the present day characters in the historical ones.I think one of Seton's strong points is how well she makes characters come to life both by good characterisation and vivid settings' descriptions. After we jump to the past I was totally immersed in the reading and didn't want to have to interrupt it when real life called. I have only one thing to mention regarding the story in the past, I think we had a lot of build up and then the actuall tragic event happened too quickly and with little detail, I also realise though that to deal with it differently would probably evoke too much anguish in the reader so maybe that was a good thing. After the action returns to the XX century Celia is already recovering and it's ultimately her who takes Richard through the final steps of the healing process.Although we could consider this book an historical romance because there is a love story that takes centre stage, this is much more complex than just the love story. According to the Author's note in the beginning: The theme of this book is reincarnation, an attempt to show the interplay - the law of cause and effect, good and evil - for certain individual souls in two english periods.Also fascinating to me is to know that most characters and places truly existed.My book is a 1974 edition and I was unable to find the cover online. However the one shown here seems almost as old and that's why I chose it. An A read!

  • maricar
    2018-11-22 19:47

    a vivid portrayal of Tudor England with all its drama, intrigue, and grisliness presented at the fore of the tumultuous story of passion doomed from the start, and reincarnated for redemption. Ms Seton has quite expertly maneuvered the love-hate relationship between the seemingly staid monk, Stephen, and the in-so-many-ways-as-yet naive and seductively beautiful, young Celia amidst the raging political and religious conflict following the death of Henry VIII. England finds itself in dangerous vacillation as the throne passes from the temperamental, protestant Edward, to the zealously catholic Mary, and then again to another protestant in the form of the wily Elizabeth--the people at turns changing their religion to suit the one reigning at court to save themselves from prosecution, and oftentimes, death.In the center of the story is Celia, the "past self" of another Celia introduced in the beginning of the novel, set in the 1960s. The tale unfolds with the chilling narration to a group of modern-day aristocrats of an unidentified woman mercilessly walled-up alive in one of England's oldest dwellings. What follows then is the account of a dangerously alluring girl named Celia whose life in 16th century England is paved foremost with unbridled lust for a Benedictine monk, combined with hardships, despair, terror, and even witchcraft in the furor that is the Tudor dynasty. Her blind and fervent desire for Stephen has landed her often in dire straits as she becomes "fair game" for men drunk in lust at the site of her beauty, that which ultimately brings forth her demise. I applaud Ms Seton as she brings closer to home the various political struggles that the court of England went through, the effects of which trickled down to the masses, in due course defining their way of life. Yet, she managed to stray away from lengthy (and what, to some, may become boring) descriptions of far-reaching political cause and effects, whilst heaping her prose with lively, often subtly menacing, sometimes edge-of-your-seat scenes. Her characters have depth and realistic emotional conflicts they themselves have had to go through--even so far as giving the English monarchs a different dimension precluded from the history books--without overshadowing the real premise of the story, and without veering away from the main character of Celia. I dont think she could have made her novel work if it was any shorter or longer--it had the perfect take off point to set down the events that led to the violent death of the young woman. Even her approach on reincarnation was believable, and was, in fact, instrumental in adding vibrancy to the deep-seated turmoil some of the characters felt and had to overcome.on par with philipa gregory, anya seton is definitely a master storyteller. Green Darkness is a wonderful historical fiction with a deft mix of drama, love, and suspense. a satisfying read...

  • Christine
    2018-11-10 21:35

    It's over 40 years since I first read this book and was prompted to re-read it because of a visit to Igtham Mote in Kent, a crucial site in the story, and it is because of the story that I've always wanted to go there. It is a beautiful medieval moated house, blissful gardens and a stunning house now in the care of the National Trust.It has been a joy to re-read the book. The historical research is impeccable, the characters believable and 'real' in many ways, although I found the historical (and main) part of the book more so than the action set in the 1960s. Seton is one of the first authors that I read who played with two times in history to explore our relationship with ancestors, the other main one being Barbara Erskine. While Erskine is good, for me Seton has the edge. She writes plausibly and with a warmth and passion for her trade that I find admirable.The story focuses on a modern day (1960s) marriage between Celia and Sir Ricard Marsden, recently married after a whirlwind romance. They go to live in his baronial manor in Sussex. Over the first few months it becomes apparent that the marriage is foundering, Richard becoming more unkind and distant, sleeping separately from Celia, and finding her mother, who is staying with them, increasingly irritating. Things come to a head one weekend when there is a house party of disparate guests, and Celia collapses in a catatonic state while Richard apparently has a paranoid delusional episode and locks himself in the former nursery. Celia is admitted to a private London clinic, where she's expected to die, while Richard becomes increasingly disturbed and refuses to see anyone.One of the house guests is Dr Akanandan, a medically and psychiatrically trained doctor, who is also deeply knowledgeable about Eastern religions and their healing traditions, including the concept of reincarnation. He accompanies Celia to the clinic, where he persuades the medical director, fortunately someone he trained with, to allow him to hole up with Celia while he presumably regresses her to an earlier life, where she meets and falls in love with a catholic priest, Stephen Marsden. Both are previous incarnations of the current Celia and Richard, and their unfolding 16c tragedy contains many of the house guests that appear in the 20c and it is possible to discern the various personality traits that have survived the centuries and various incarnations. To say more would be to spoil the pleasures of finding out what happens for oneself. However, for this reader, the joy of rediscovering the book, especially knowing many of the places in which the action takes place, has been immense and I will really miss my daily sojourn with Celia, Stephen/Richard and the many other rich and intriguing characters who live their lives out in the pages of the book.