Series: Guinevere’s Tale
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
History remembers Guinevere’s sin, but it was Arthur who transgressed first.
Forced into a marriage she neither anticipated nor desired, Guinevere finds herself High Queen, ruling and fighting alongside Arthur as they try to subdue the Saxons, Irish and Picts who threaten Britain from every direction. Though her heart still longs for her lost love, Guinevere slowly grows to care for her husband as they join together to defeat their enemies.
Meanwhile, within the walls of Camelot their closest allies plot against them. One schemes to make Guinevere his own, another seeks revenge for past transgressions, while a third fixes her eyes on the throne. When the unthinkable happens and Guinevere is feared dead, Arthur installs a new woman in her place, one who will poison his affections toward her, threatening Guinevere’s fragile sanity and eventually driving her into the arms of her champion.
Amid this tension a new challenge arises for the king and queen of Camelot: finding the Holy Grail, a sacred relic that promises lasting unity. But peace, as they will soon learn, can be just as dangerous as war. As the court begins to turn on itself, it becomes clear that the quest that was to be Arthur’s lasting legacy may end in the burning fires of condemnation.
This highly anticipated sequel to Daughter of Destiny proves there is much more to Guinevere’s story than her marriage and an affair. See the legend you think you know through her eyes and live the adventure of Camelot’s golden days yourself – but prepared to suffer its downfall as well.
MY TAKE: It is quite unusual for me to like a second or third book in a series more than the first. Nicole Evelina has changed that for me with this riveting new book in her Guinevere’s Tale series. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved the first book: Daughter of Destiny. You can read my gushing review HERE. But in this continuation of the story, the excitement has steadily built while the dangers and intrigue have also increased. I was completely engrossed in the book and managed to steal away for half a day so I could read it uninterrupted by my daily life.
I love how the author has taken on a legend that so many of us have grown up dreaming about and pondering on and given us a truly new perspective. I have always considered myself a bit of a student of Arthurian history. I read anything I can get my hands on that pertains to it, whether it be true historical fact/fiction or speculative fiction. The fact that this series is told from Guinevere’s perspective makes it all the more interesting. We’re so used to hearing the tales in Arthur’s or Merlin’s voices that this innovative approach really grabs your attention and keeps it. Ms. Evelina’s twist and retelling of what could have transpired between these historical and legendary figures is fresh and intriguing. Her exhaustive research shines through in the intricate details while entertaining and entrancing the reader. This particular reader is completely hooked.
The twisted relationships between Guinevere, Morgan, Arthur and Lancelot (among others) are explored in-depth in this second book. It is fascinating to me how some of the barbaric customs that were actually practiced in that time period are completely ignored in some of the “light” versions of the Camelot tales. This series delves into the actual people and what made them tick – how they might have ended up where they did. The pressures of being royalty and being a woman of that time period are brought into the spotlight. There isn’t a lot of glossing over of the realities as we deal with murder, rape, kidnapping and abuse. Unfortunately, these things were rampant during those times.
In Camelot’s Queen the author also explores the religious aspects of the time a little further. The depths that both sides will go to in order to have their way and to ensure their plans’ completion is amazing and frightening. We learn about the quest for the Holy Grail and the feuding that surrounds it. Not just from the actual “Combrogi” who searched, but from the religious leaders – both the Christians and the followers of Avalon. I especially like the way the Grail appears differently to the various participants. (We have a great guest post from Nicole Evelina on Avalon and Religion in The Daughter of Destiny).
I can truly say that I was intrigued and entertained immensely. As usual with Nicole Evelina’s books, I didn’t want it to end!! I truly recommend this book and this series to anyone who enjoys a good tale, loves the Arthurian legends or likes stories of strong women. I am counting the days until the third book comes out either later this year or early 2017. I can’t wait!
Nicole Evelina is a St. Louis historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view, has been short-listed for the Chaucer Award in Early Historical Fiction. Camelot’s Queen is its sequel.
Later this year, she will release Been Searching for You (May 10), a romantic comedy that won the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests, and Madame Presidentess (July 25), a historical novel about Victoria Woodhull, America’s first female Presidential candidate, which has been short-listed for the Goethe Award in Late Historical Fiction.
She hopes to have the final book in Guinevere’s Tale available in late 2016 or early 2017.
Nicole is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. Nicole has traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.
Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for the The Historical Novel Society, and Sirens (a group supporting female fantasy authors), as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Broad Universe (promoting women in fantasy, science fiction and horror), Alliance of Independent Authors and the Independent Book Publishers Association.
She spent 15 years researching Arthurian legend, Celtic Britain and the various peoples, cultures and religious practices that shaped the country after the withdrawal of Rome. Other historical interests include the Middle Ages and women who made their mark on history. She’s also a frequent visitor to Chicago, where Been Searching for You takes place.
~~~~~ Disclaimer: All opinions expressed on this blog are 100% my own. I do not receive monetary compensation for my reviews but do utilize affiliate links. I may receive books in order to facilitate a review, but this does not guarantee a good review – only a completely honest one. Each review post denotes how I obtained the book.