GREENWICH, CONN. -- Anya Seton, 86, whose best-selling novels "Dragonwyck" and "Foxfire" were made into Hollywood movies, died Nov. 8 at her home in Greenwich after a heart attack.
Miss Seton's first book, "My Theodosia," was a fictional biography of Aaron Burr's daughter, a legendary beauty who died under mysterious circumstances. The book was published in 1941.
"Dragonwyck," her second novel, was a Gothic tale set along the Hudson River in the 1840s. It was published in 1944 and was translated into nine languages, gaining her international recognition.
It was made into a 1946 movie starring Vincent Price as a feudal overlord who tyrannizes his tenants, kills his wife and has a romance with a distant relative. The relative was played by Gene Tierney.
In 1946, Miss Seton turned to the American southwest of the 1890s, publishing the novel "The Turquoise." "Foxfire," published in 1950, which was set in an Arizona ghost town, was made into a 1955 film starring Jane Russell and Jeff Chandler.
She said her favorite works were her biographical novels. In addition to "My Theodosia," these included "Katherine," the 1954 story of the mistress of England's John of Gaunt, and the 1958 book "The Winthrop Woman," based on the life of a relative of John Winthrop, the Massachusetts governor. Her other novels included "The Hearth and the Eagle" (1948), "Devil Water" (1963), "Avalon" (1965) and "Green Darkness" (1973).
Her works were praised for their research and the ability to bring historical settings and people to life.
She was born into a prominent writing family in New York City and raised in Cos Cob, Conn. Her father was the celebrated English author, artist and naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton. Her mother was Grace Gallatin, an American author of travel books.
Miss Seton was twice married and twice divorced. Survivors inlcude two daughters; five grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.