* * * * *
I seem to be hitting a streak of 5 star reads. Then again I generally chose to read books that I hope will reach that mark - so that might be the reason I have so many winners! This book is, most assuredly, a winner.
"Child of the Northern Spring" is book one of the Guinevere Trilogy where the Legend begins. Written by Persia Woollsey this is a thoroughly new view of the Arthurian Legend as seen from the perspective of Guinevere. It is, in my opinion, the best variation on this theme that I have read - dare I say that I enjoyed this book better than the classic by T.H. White's 'The Once and Future King" (to whom Ms. Woolley pays homage in her well writeen 'author's notes')?Yes! I have to confess that I found T.H. White's book a tad difficult to get into. This books sweeps you away from the very first page.
You will find a remarkable vision of Guinevere - passionate, strong and independent. Not quite forced into the marriage with Arthur as choosing it as the least of several less appealing choices we watch their romance and mutual respect develop as the pages turn. You will find Merlin - somewhat less prominent than in other versions and perhaps a bit less menacing although no less mysterious. Of course you also discover another variation of the Lady of The Lake, Morgan Le Fey, as well as Sir Gawain and the rest of the cast of strong Arthurian figures.
I have to admit to never having been enthralled as I wanted to be with the Tales of Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table - I think it was just a period of history that never set my wheels turning. The Dark Ages come to light in this book. Ms. Woolsey brings light to the to this time period and she paints vivid images of what life was like at the time of the 'Celtic Renaissance' when the many Celtic tribes revolted against marauding Anglo-Saxons. The author describes these the men of these tribes as a " rugged, wild, stormy lot with a long tradition of queens who were co-rulers with their husbands" (also from the Author's Notes).
This book just took me back in time - a time machine in my hands. Yes, this may sound a bit over the top but I truly loved this book and am eagerly awaiting the release of the next two books in this trilogy; "Queen Of the Summer Starts and " Guinevere, Legend in Autumn". All published by Source Books/ Landmark. This has become one of my favorite historical books. If you love historical fiction, the Arthurian Legends, early British History or just a completely enjoyable journey back in time - this is a book that you should be wanting to read!
Note: This book was provided to me by the publisher for the purpose of an honest review. No other remuneration was received