Daughter of Destiny (Guinevere’s Tale) – Book Review

 

Source: I purchased a print copy from the author at Penned Con 2016.
Genre: Fantasy, Arthurian
Format: eBook, Print
Publication Date: January 1, 2016

Back Cover:

Before queenship and Camelot, Guinevere was a priestess of Avalon. She loved another before Arthur, a warrior who would one day betray her.

In the war-torn world of late fifth century Britain, young Guinevere faces a choice: stay with her family to defend her home at Northgallis from the Irish, or go to Avalon to seek help for the horrific visions that haunt her. The Sight calls her to Avalon, where she meets Morgan, a woman of questionable parentage who is destined to become her rival. As Guinevere matures to womanhood, she gains the powers of a priestess, and falls in love with a man who will be both her deepest love and her greatest mistake.

Just when Guinevere is able to envision a future in Avalon, tragedy forces her back home, into a world she barely recognizes, one in which her pagan faith, outspokenness, and proficiency in the magical and military arts are liabilities. When a chance reunion with her lover leads to disaster, she is cast out of Northgallis and into an uncertain future. As a new High King comes to power, Guinevere must navigate a world of political intrigue where unmarried women are valuable commodities and seemingly innocent actions can have life-altering consequences.

You may think you know the story of Guinevere, but you’ve never heard it like this: in her own words. Listen and you will hear the true story of Camelot and its queen.

 

Review

The tale follows Guinevere as she is initiated in Avalon where she learns how to control her visions, becomes rivals with a strange girl named Morgan, attains her powers as a Priestess, falls in love, and returns home after her mother’s death to find that her father has cast aside the traditions that his late wife revered to embrace Christianity.

Guinevere finds herself at odds with her father as he discourages her from weapons training, encourages her to be less outspoken, and has forbidden her from seeing the man she fell in love with during her time in Avalon. Guinevere rebels, but to no avail; her father sends her away to learn “womanly arts” so that she may find a husband, despite her “impurity.”

Guinevere soon finds herself embroiled in political intrigue in her new home, and discovers that she is considered a rare commodity to be traded for wealth and power.

I’ve read Arthurian books in the past and the majority of them had sinister, judgmental, undertones when discussing Merlin, Guinevere, and Morgan le Fay. I struggled to finish them because I was disgusted by how these legends were portrayed. When I met Evelina at a convention, she told me that she wrote about strong female protagonists and I was a bit curious to read her interpretation of the legends.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting to read the whole book in one night. It was that good!

The sinister and judgmental interpretations of Guinevere’s tale are left by the wayside as Evelina creates a vibrant and realistic portrait of Guinevere, an intelligent, strong and caring girl who goes to Avalon to control her visions; only to return home to find that the traditions and practices that she grew up with are considered taboo. Guinevere’s co-characters are equally well-developed and engaging as each one adds a unique voice and perspective to Guinevere’s tale.

I was impressed with Evelina’s knowledge of Arthurian legend. There are so many different interpretations; however, she managed to put her own spin on those interpretations while adhering to what many literary experts consider to be authentic. I was also captivated by Evelina’s writing style, it flows beautifully and her ability to use terms that are older but still comprehensible to the average reader is amazing. I didn’t have to use my knowledge of etymology in order to understand what she wrote and, when she did use older terms, they were spelled correctly and were relevant!

Daughter of Destiny is a wonderful Arthurian fantasy that combines the authentic aspects of the legend with the author’s unique perspective. I am more than happy to recommend this to women and men who, like me, enjoy Arthurian legends in theory but find themselves tired of the Judeo-Christian slant that is inherent in many of the interpretations.

You can find Daughter of Destiny by Nicole Evelina here.

 

 

 

Guest review contributed by On My Kindle. Seeking a clean and clear format, On My Kindle goes for a mobile friendly view of its book reviews.

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