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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Book Review: Child of the Northern Spring by Persia Woolley


Child of the Northern Spring by Persia Woolley
Book 1 of Guinevere Trilogy
ARC, Paperback, 512 pages
Sourcebooks Landmark
November 1, 2010
★★★½☆☆

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Received from Sourcebooks for Review

“Among the first to look at the story of Camelot through Guinevere’s eyes, Woolley sets the traditional tale in the time of its origin, after Britain has shattered into warring fiefdoms. Hampered by neither fantasy nor medieval romance, this young Guinevere is a feisty Celtic tomboy who sees no reason why she must learn to speak Latin, wear dresses, and go south to marry that king. But legends being what they are, the story of Arthur’s rise to power soon intrigues her, and when they finally meet, Guinevere and Arthur form a partnership that has lasted for 1500 years.

This is Arthurian epic at its best—filled with romance, adventure, authentic Dark Ages detail, and wonderfully human people” (from
Sourcebooks)

This was my first taste of reading anything about King Arthur and his knights and the lady Guinevere – really, I don’t know why. This book, which is the first in a trilogy about Guinevere’s life, is told in first person from Guinevere’s perspective. There were some kinks for me, mostly in the first third of the book, but overall it was quite an enjoyable read.

My first problem was the pacing of the book. I just didn’t find myself becoming interested in Guinevere’s early life as a child in her father’s kingdom. It was sort of slow and unexciting – and I found myself not wanting to pick it back up. But, I noticed that once Arthur was introduced to the story, it became better. I’m not sure if this was because it added a new exciting layer to Guinevere’s somewhat boring home life, or if it was because I really liked the character of Arthur. After she meets Arthur, I started to like her as a character much more.

My second problem was again during the early portion of the book. In an effort to give us some back story while being in the first person narration (which I’m not a huge fan of), we have memories of these earlier events in her life. Which would be fine, but there is no delineation when time shifts. You are forced to figure out for yourself what is going on. While that wasn’t too difficult, it just made for more difficult reading, not quite as smooth as it could have been. This could have been solved with including some dates at the beginnings of chapters or sections.

That being said, I really loved the detail of the book. The world of Arthur and Guinevere was masterfully created. You really felt what it was like to living during that time. The author also did a wonderful job of creating epic characters that felt real, rather than legendary. It was wonderful getting the backstory of these characters (even with my problems with Guinevere’s) because it helped to see the legend unfold. You learn about Excalibur and the creation of the Round Table.

Book 2, Queen of the Summer Stars and Book 3, Guinevere: The Legend in Autumn will be rereleased by Sourcebooks in the upcoming year and I look forward to reading them both.

You can read an excerpt from the book at the Sourcebooks website. Follow the link and then click on excerpt.
 
Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).
 
My other reviews of this author’s work:

Other blogger reviews of this book:

 




Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court

4 comments:

  1. I thought the same thing about this one when I read it - it's very uneven, but I'm going to give the second one a try and see. I definately liked this one better than the Rosalind Miles one but it pales in comparison to Nancy McKenzie's Queen of Camelot and Helen Hollick's The Kingmaking (although that one may be too "realistic" for some).

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  2. I appreciate honest feedback like this -- I have this book in my pile and I'm looking forward to seeing how my thoughts compare to other reviews.

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  3. Daphne - I haven't read any other Arthur books, although I do have The Kingmaking.

    Joanne - I think you will enjoy it, and look forward to seeing what you think.

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  4. So happy because I just got the book I won here, thank you Heather and Thank you to Sourcebooks!

    Looking forward to reading it :)

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Thanks for leaving your comments! I love reading them and try to reply to all!