Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Daughter of Destiny

Author: Nicole Evelina
Genre: Historical Fiction, Supernatural
Type: e-book
Series: #1 in the Guinevere's Tale trilogy
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tour
Publisher: Lawson Gartner
First Published: January 1, 2016
First Line: "I am Guinevere."

Book Description from GoodReadsBefore 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.

Fans of Arthurian legend and The Mists of Avalon will love Daughter of Destiny, the first book in a historical fantasy trilogy that gives Guinevere back her voice and traces her life from an uncertain eleven year old girl to a wise queen in her fifth decade of life.

This book has been short-listed for the 2015 Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction.

My Review: We've all heard of Avalon, King Arthur, Guinevere and the legend that surrounds them.  It's an old story that has been told and retold so I was curious to see what Nicole Evelina would bring to the story.

Fifteen years of research have paid off for Evelina.  This was a wonderful book that had me riveted throughout, only lasted me two days and had me asking my literary contact for the chance to review the next book in this trilogy.  Ya, I liked it a lot.

"I am Guinevere.  I was once a queen, a lover, a wife, a mother, a priestess, 
and a friend. But all those roles are lost to me now; to history, I am simply 
a seductress, a misbegotten woman set astray by the evils of lust."

Going into this book I admit that I knew very little about Guinevere and Camelot.  I had read The Mists of Avalon years and years ago and remember that I struggled to finish it.  From that book, and various movies, I knew about Arthur, Merlin, Guinevere, the sword in the stone etc but only the gist of the legend and most of what I remembered didn't have much to do with Guinevere herself.  

Daughter of Destiny takes the reader back to the beginning when young, eleven year old Guinevere moves to Avalon and learns about what it will take to become one of its Priestesses.  There's some good rivalry between Guinevere and her nemesis, Morgan as they try out outwit each other and prove who is the better priestess. The pacing during this part of the book was a tad slower that the rest of the book but once Guinevere leaves the safety of Avalon things start to pick up as she tries to figure out where she belongs in her father's world of politics, his religion and currying favour among British nobles.

Evelina has brought a lot of heart to her characters and I found it quite easy to sympathize with Guinevere.  She's a sweet girl who has an inner strength that blossoms as various situations are forced upon her. She begins to use the strength and her powers that she learned on Avalon to stand up for herself, especially as it pertains to her faith which her mother and then Avalon instilled in her.  She's an intelligent young woman who has compassion for others and just wants to find a place to fit in and be loved and accepted. 

The reason why I love historical fiction is because I get to learn a bit about history while enjoying a great story and the author's view of certain historical characters.  Evelina introduces her readers to famous characters such as King Arthur, Morgan and Viviane from Avalon as well as Isolde, the feisty heir to the Irish throne who had her own influence on Guinevere.  I'm glad that Evelina always kept Guinevere in the spotlight especially after King Arthur is introduced.  He is relegated to a smaller story line giving Guinevere the chance to shine and the reader an opportunity to see her side of things.

Guinevere is a strong-willed girl who will become a strong, intelligent woman.  Since I cannot remember how things end in this legend I'm more than eager to pick up the second book in the series, Camelot's Queen which is set to be released April 12, 2016.  

It is evident that Evelina did a lot of research on this era as well as the druid faith and culture, politics of the time and British history.  Her writing is solid, it was nicely paced and kept my interest throughout.  Recommended.

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Disclaimer:  My sincere thanks to author Nicole Evelina and the Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tour for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Nicole Evelina said...

I'm so glad you liked the book! I hope you like the second one as well. Thank you for being part of my blog tour.

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

I'm really looking forward to the second book, Nicole!

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