It was several decades ago that Alison Weir first became interested in Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster and like Alison Weir, I too read many historical romances by Anya Seton, Jean Plaidy (pen name of Eleanor Hibbert) and Norah Lofts and especially Anya's Seton's Katherine. Ms. Weir's interest in the Duchess hasn't wavered and she finally put pen to paper and wrote an interesting biography, Mistress of the Monarchy.
From the cover:
Born in the mid-fourteenth century, Katherine de Roet was only twelve when she married Hugh Swynford, an impoverished knight. But her story had already begun when, at just ten years old, she was appointed to the household of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and fourth son of Edward III, to help look after the Duke's children.
Their years together played out against a backdrop of court life at the height of the age of chivalry. Katherine experienced the Hundred Years War, the Black Death and the Peasants' Revolt. She survived heartbreak and adversity, and crossed paths with many eminent figures of the day, among them her brother-in-law, the poet Geoffrey Chaucer.
Her affair with John of Gaunt and eventual marriage produced children who would become direct forebears of the Royal Houses of York, Tudor and Stuart and every British sovereign since 1461, as well as six U.S. Presidents.
Alison Weir has written many historical books which would make great book club reads.