Thursday 4 May 2017

DAUGHTER of DESTINY by Nicole Evelina

AMAZON UK £3.20 / £8.60
AMAZON US $3.99  / $12.99
AMAZON CA $5.22 / $17.31

Arthurian / Family Drama / Fantasy
6th Century
Guinevere’s Tale Book One

I confess - I have a major weakness for Arthurian literature. I’ll read just about any Arthurian story you put in my hands, whether it is told from a fantasy perspective, full of magic and dragons and ladies in the lake, or whether it is told from a quasi-historical perspective, full of soldiers and politics and battles and not a whiff of magic anywhere. I’ll read it if it is feminist. I’ll read it if it is thoroughly masculine. I’ll read it if it is painted purple polka dotted and wearing feathers.

That said, I am also highly selective in what I consider to be good Arthurian stories. Those are very few and far between. So I was delighted to discover that Daughter of Destiny is a fantastic, feminist, political story with just the right sprinkling of magic added in as well.

This novel begins with an 11-year-old Guinevere going off to the Isle of Avalon. She is unable to control the Sight, and it is for that reason she is sent to Avalon. There, she is tutored in the ways of the Goddess, her Druid training burning away the soft and pampered noblewoman she had been to reveal a strong young woman.

Over the years, she learns about herself as she struggles to understand her place in a world that is changing from the old ways to the new religion of Christianity. Readers are given a glimpse into her world, learn about her conflicts and bitter feud with Morgan le Fey, and get to know her as her own person, separate from Arthur’s Queen.

I really loved how this Guinevere had her own story and history. Of course she would - she is a person as much as Arthur or Lancelot or Morgan, and yet she is often relegated to the role of merely queen or mistress. Daughter of Destiny shows readers that she had a whole life and love separate from the roles thrust upon her in much of literature. The settings are vividly described and believable as well, and I can easily see a woman with her background making similar choices under the same circumstances. The characters all are well developed and complex, even relatively minor ones, and I found myself caring about them all. Even Morgan, who was odious in this version. I loved this book so much that I went out and bought the second book in the trilogy. I eagerly await the completion of the series. Highly recommended.

© Kristen McQuinn, M.A.

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