Author: Nicole Evelina
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: 2nd book in the Guinevere's Tale trilogy
Source: HF Virtual Blog Tour
Publisher: Lawson Gartner Publishing
First Published: April 12, 2016
First Line: "The sigh of a reed pen across parchment, one jagged line of ink."
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Book Description from GoodReads: 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.
The author advises you read the first book, Daughter of Destiny, before reading this one so you don't miss character relationships and motivation as set up in the first book.
My Review: Camelot's Queen is the second book in the Guinevere's Tale trilogy which tells the story of Camelot through the eyes of Guinevere. The first book in the series, Daughter of Destiny, (which I strongly encourage you to read first) shows Guinevere's life as a young girl as she goes through priestess training on Avalon and later as a young woman who falls in love. This book picks up at Guinevere and King Arthur's wedding and includes well known characters such as Lancelot, Galahad, the Knights of the Round Table as well as Arthur's famous quest for the Holy Grail - all seen through the eyes of the new queen.
Once again this book has a strong sense of fantasy and mysticism which sets a different tone compared to other historical fiction books that I've read in the past. Camelot's Queen is filled with court intrigue, action, love, loss and the complex life of this young woman. Evelina's writing is strong and she quickly gets you into Guinevere's mindset. She keeps the pace high and had my attention riveted to the pages throughout. Even those of us who have a strong idea of what will happen will be drawn into the tale.
Guinevere is a strong young woman and queen who experiences a number of crushing blows to her personal life. Her relationship with Arthur becomes strained and she makes new enemies while old enemies are never far away. She's got a lot on her plate and the reader witnesses her struggles and I appreciated that we were also shown some of Guinevere's faults. She's not a perfect queen on a pedestal - she makes many mistakes, she's selfish but she's also lived through extreme loss and readers will see just how strong this queen truly is after they witness her living through absolute horror. And even though she's queen she still must fight against male oppression and those who deem her inferior just because she's a woman and not a Christian. Ultimately she's a wonderful female protagonist that is believable and one the reader can get behind.
The other characters in the book are quite compelling in their own right. There are a few that you will love to hate. And ohhh, did I hate a few! I'm looking at you Morgan, Maleagant and Marius! I enjoyed seeing these characters whom I had heard of come to life on the page. Admittedly, there were quite a few characters in this book but Evelina does a good job keeping them all straight for the reader and giving them each distinct personalities.
I found this to be a very compelling read that transported me back into fifth century Britain with its vivid descriptions and well developed characters. Evelina is quickly becoming one of my 'go-to' historical fiction authors when I feel the need to learn about an era and be totally captivated. Her writing is engaging, her characters believable and she brings new energy to an age old tale. I cannot wait for the final book in this series.
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Nicole Evelina and the Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tour for providing me with a complimentary ebook copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.