Daughter of Destiny (Guinevere's Tale, Book One)
By Nicole Evelina
Publication Date: January 1, 2016
Lawson Gartner Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 326 Pages
Genre: Historical Fantasy
What Camelot Means to Me
I was a guest on a podcast not long ago and one of the interviewers asked me why I think interest in Camelot endures. While Camelot itself doesn’t become a location in my Guinevere’s Tale series until the second book, I’d love to explore my thoughts in-depth here as background to why I wanted to retell a story that’s been told hundreds of times already.
Camelot is so ingrained in our culture that when you say the word, powerful images immediately come to mind. For some, it’s the Kennedy family and their tragic saga, images of a perfect family with a “cursed” bloodline. For others, like me, it’s castles and crowns, knights in shining armor and forbidden love. You see, I was raised on stories of King Arthur and his court and cut my teeth on the musical Camelot. I may not have a lick of British in my ancestry, but Camelot is in my blood.
Some people see Camelot as a symbol of failure, of sin and greed and lust that led to ruin. I’m exactly the opposite. I see Camelot as a symbol of hope. It’s a utopian land of peace that for a brief, glimmering moment existed in the world, and which generation after generation strives to re-attain. It’s a symbol of what the world, what our lives could be if only we strived hard enough to pull our personal swords from the stone (and perhaps had a little magic on our side). Whether you’re a Kennedy Camelotian or a traditional one, I think the enduring lure of Camelot boils down to hope and the dream of a better life. The Kennedy’s overcame the stigma of Catholicism to go on to symbolize the American dream, just as King Arthur overcame his base-born nature (or at least so he thought) to wrest Excalibur from the stone and become, along with Guinevere, the penultimate medieval rulers.
This being said, much of Arthurian legend to-date has focused on King Arthur and his men. I think it’s time that Camelot became home to not only the famous knights, but to the women as well. Whether they are its Queen, its noble ladies, servants or the camp women who follow the army, its female population deserves to have their say; no longer should they hide in the shadows of men. The Round Table is famous for making its knights equal, even with King Arthur in some cases. Similarly, when its female stories are told, Camelot can be seen as a place of equality for all, another dream many of us strive for, alongside peace and a better life.
Other authors have adopted Guinevere and Morgan’s voices in the past and I’m proud to add my name to that list, lending the perspective of a 21st feminist to the story of an already strong Celtic woman (for that is how I see Guinevere, not as the fading wallflower of later legend). Did she sin? Yes. But that is not the totality of her story and she deserves to be painted with a more delicate brush, one that shows us the “why” behind the famous action and traces both the events that led up to and repercussions of her actions. As Queen of Camelot, it can be said that Guinevere symbolizes the female struggle for hope, for peace, for love, for equality and all the things Camelot means in our collective imaginations. Why then should she not tell her own story?
As she says in the prologue to Daughter of Destiny, “I will take back my voice and speak the truth of what happened. So shall the lies be revealed and Camelot’s former glory restored. Grieve with me, grieve for me, but do not believe the lies which time would sell. All I ask is that mankind listen to my words, and then judge me on their merit.”
What does Camelot mean to you? Do you feel like you know the story of its women? Why or why not? What do you most want to know about them?
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.
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.
Praise"A gripping read that brings a wonderfully depicted Guinevere tumbling out of the shadows of myth." - Anna Belfrage, author of The Graham Saga
"Nicole Evelina shows a deep and passionate love for the Arthurian world, and her re-weaving of the story of Guinevere and Arthur makes for enjoyable reading. With more volumes to come, if you like stories of Camelot, ancient priesthoods, magical Avalonian dreams and embattled romance, this is for you." - John Matthews, author of 'Arthur of Albion' and 'The Camelot Oracle'.
"Colorful and exciting...love all the characters. You will have a ball with this book." - Serena Scott Thomas, actress and audio book narrator
1. Daughter of Destiny (January 1 – This is the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view)
2. Camelot’s Queen (March 23 – The second book in the trilogy)
3. Been Searching for You (May 23 – a contemporary romantic comedy that won in the single title romance category of the 2015 Great Expectations Contest (sponsored by North Texas RWA) and the 2015 Gold Rose Contest (sponsored by Portland RWA) and is a finalist in five others.
4. Madame Presidentess (July 25 – Historical fiction about 19th century American Presidential candidate Victoria Woodhull, the first American woman to run for President)
She hopes to have the final book in Guinevere’s Tale available in late 2016 or early 2017.
Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society, and Sirens, a group supporting female fantasy authors, as well as a member of the Romance Writers of America, Women Fiction Writers Association, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West and the Alliance of Independent Authors.
She is one of only six authors who completed the first week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness in 2014. Nicole has traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere 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.
Her website/blog is http://nicoleevelina.com and she can be found on Twitter as well as on Pinterest, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram and Tumblr.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, February 8
Review at The Mad Reviewer
Spotlight at Unshelfish
Tuesday, February 9
Review at Bookish
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, February 10
Review at Curling up by the Fire
Guest Post at To Read, or Not to Read
Thursday, February 11
Review at Just One More Chapter
Friday, February 12
Review at Broken Teepee
Interview at Author Dianne Ascroft's Blog
Monday, February 15
Review at Laura's Interests
Review at Puddletown Reviews
Tuesday, February 16
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, February 17
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Thursday, February 18
Review & Interview at Singing Librarian Books
Friday, February 19
Review at Book Nerd
Monday, February 22
Review at Seize the Words: Books in Review
Tuesday, February 23
Review at The Baking Bookworm
Review at The Hive at Black Tea & Milk
Wednesday, February 24
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Thursday, February 25
Review at A Literary Vacation
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
Friday, February 26
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective
Guest Post at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
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