A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Friday, October 19, 2018

Mistress of Legend - Guinevere's Tale Book Three- by Nicole Eveline- Feature and Review


Legend says Guinevere spent her final days in penance in a convent, but that is far from the truth.

Having escaped death at the stake, Guinevere longs to live a peaceful life in Brittany with Lancelot, but the threat of Arthur’s wrath quickly separates the lovers. Guinevere finds herself back in Camelot, but it is not the peaceful capital she once knew; the loyalty of the people is divided over Arthur’s role in her death sentence. When war draws Arthur away from Britain, Mordred is named acting king. With Morgan at his side and a Saxon in his bed, Mordred’s thirst for power becomes his undoing and the cause of Guinevere’s greatest heartache.

In the wake of the deadly battle that leaves the country in civil war, Guinevere’s power as the former queen is sought by everyone who seeks to ascend the throne. Heartbroken and refusing to take sides in the conflict, she flees north to her mother’s Votadini homeland, where she is at long last reunited with Lancelot. The quiet life she desires is just beginning when warring tribal factions once again thrust her into an unexpected position of power. Now charged with ending an invasion that could bring an end to the Votadini tribe and put the whole island in the hands of the Saxons, Guinevere must draw upon decades of experience to try to save the people she loves and is sworn to protect.



Mistress of Legend (Guinevere's Tale, #3)Mistress of Legend by Nicole Evelina
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mistress of Legend by Nicole Evelina is a 2018 by Lawson Gartner Publishing publication.

A beautiful conclusion to this lush and vivid trilogy!

Arthur’s kingdom is fiercely divided by Guinevere’s fate, but when he’s called into battle, Mordred takes over. The country is soon drawn into a civil war, which prompts Guinevere to return to her beloved Votadini homeland But, her dreams of living a gentle quiet life with Lancelot are quickly dispelled. She soon finds herself in a leadership role once again, as she tries to prevent the Saxons from taking power.

I hate to see the trilogy come to an end, but at least it went out on a high note!!

Naturally, I wanted Guinevere to finally catch a break. But, it wasn’t in the cards- at least not right away. But, she really comes into her own here. After the fall of Camelot, she must once more face adversity, but will do so as a mature warrior and queen. There are rousing battles, losses and heartbreak, but at the end of the day, this re-imagined ideal of Guinevere breaths new life into what was once a storied tragedy. Here, Guinevere exhibits bravery, strength and grace, and although she faced so many disappointments, experienced so much violence, and had her happiness and peace snatched out from under her time and time again, she still prevails.

This conclusion is more than fitting and I absolutely loved it. It was a bit sad and poignant, but very satisfying. This author as an incredible imagination!! She has written an Arthurian fantasy that is bold, detailed, and vibrant, giving Guinevere a new and fresh voice, and I for one, am happy to see this alternative version of her life. I’m very impressed by this trilogy and have enjoyed it immensely. I will be keeping my eye on this author!!

If you enjoy fantasy, mysticism, Arthurian legends, or sweeping sagas, you really should give this trilogy a try!!






Daughter of Destiny (Guinevere's Tale #1)Daughter of Destiny by Nicole Evelina
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Daughter of Destiny by Nicole Evelina is a 2016 Lawson Gartner Publishing publication.

This is the first book in an Arthurian trilogy, which tells the story from Guinevere’s perspective. This first book gives the reader insight into Guinevere’s early life, her visions, and pagan religion. She is sent to Avalon in hopes of controlling her haunting and disturbing visions, which is where she meets her ultimate rival, Morgan.

As she grows up, she falls deeply in love and becomes a priestess. But, her promising future is thrown into complete disarray when tragedy strikes, and she must return home. She is stunned to see Northgallis is not the place she once knew, where her own beliefs are dangerous. From this time forward, Guinevere and her destiny will become legendary.

It has been a long time since I read anything Arthurian or in the fantasy genre. At one time I was heavy into ‘Camelot’ and loved all the romance, magic and tragedy of these epic tales. But, that was many, many, many years ago. There are a few Arthurian series I’ve been meaning to read, but somehow, I never seem to manage to make time for them. So, it was fortuitous that this trilogy popped up on my radar.

My mood was just right for this type of story, as I feel an ever -increasing desire to lose myself in something as far from reality as I can muster.

It should be noted that this series is something akin to a re-telling, but also puts a fresh spin on the story of Arthur, Lancelot, and our queen- Guinevere. So, don’t expect the story to follow any strict rules or guidelines from previous works on this subject. The classic tale is simply the foundation upon which the author chose to build her own unique version of events.

I must say I like what I’m seeing, so far. The author certainly knows her subject and has given us a fascinating look at Guinevere’s early life, before she married Arthur. The emotions, dialogue, history, locations, pacing- basically everything is quite impressive!

Now, with some classic stories, tinkering around with a version that is set in stone, one that conjures up a specific image in one’s mind, is akin to blasphemy. However, Camelot and Arthurian legends have been told so many ways, so many times, with countless liberties taken, and is a story that begs for an alternate outcome. I can’t see why anyone would blow steam if this story is re-imagined yet again, as it is here, especially as it is done with such incredible skill.

I enjoyed this first installment and have already queued up the next book in the series. I even feel a rare tingle of anticipation…


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Camelot’s Queen by Nicole Evelina is a 2016 Lawson Gartner Publishing publication.

This second installment in the Guinevere Tales trilogy centers around the most familiar part of the Arthurian mythology. This story tells how Guinevere is forced to marry Arthur, despite being in love with someone else, and is named his queen.

Both she and Arthur had other plans in life, but they are determined to do their duty, and decide to make the best of their marriage. However, tragedies, crimes, and intrigue steal away any love they may have forged when Guinevere must fight for her life, deepening the bond with her protector- Sir Lancelot.

Now, as we all know, in the traditional tale, Guinevere is the adulteress, the one who must pay the ultimate price for her sins. However, in this retelling, a shocking twist reveals Arthur’s scandalous past. Tsk, tsk. So, once more, let me caution you to toss out all your previous notions concerning this legendary tale. This story is a very different version of the classic, and is also much darker, with graphic violence and more explicit sexuality. This one is not for the faint of heart, with potential triggers. There is, as one might expect, a great deal of medieval intrigue and treachery, mysticism, and adventure, but there are also some shocking twists and big surprises in this one. I rooted for some, jeered others, but mostly, I don't think I'll ever look at Guinevere in quite the same way again.

For someone to tackle this legendary tale, and take some large liberties with it, recreating it or maybe you could even say rebooting it, is a very brave and ambitious undertaking. Not only did the author manage to mold the story into one that gives our heroine a fierceness and strength our modern sensibilities can relate to, also adding religious persecution into the mix, which could parallel modern times as well, she also manages to respect the myths and traditions of the classic tale.

I am super excited about the third installment and can not wait to see how the author will conclude this vivid and utterly engrossing trilogy.

5 stars


Nicole Evelina is a historical fiction, romantic comedy and non-fiction author whose four novels - Daughter of Destiny, Camelot's Queen, Been Searching for You and Madame Presidentess - have won more than 20 awards, including two Book of the Year designations. 

Her most recent release and first non-fiction book, The Once and Future Queen, examines popular works of Arthurian fiction by more than 20 authors over the last 1,000 years to show how the character of Guinevere changes to reflect attitudes toward women. She’s currently finishing Mistress of Legend (September 15, 2018), the final novel in her Guinevere's Tale historical fantasy trilogy and researching two future non-fiction books: a history of feminism in the United States and a biography of early 20th century mystic Marie Rose Ferron.

Nicole’s writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Independent Journal, Curve Magazine and numerous historical publications. She is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. As an armchair historian, Nicole researches her books extensively, consulting with biographers, historical societies and traveling to locations when possible. For example, she traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere’s Tale 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. She also teaches online writing and business for authors classes at Professional Author Academy.

Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for Historical Novel Society, and member of the Historical Fiction Writers of America, Novelists, Inc., BIO (Biographers International Organization); Romance Writers of America (PAN), Romantic Novelists Association, Missouri Writers Guild, St. Louis Writer's Guild, Alliance of Independent Authors, Independent Book Publishers Association, Midwest Independent Publishers Association, and the International Arthurian Society - North American Branch.

Her website is http://nicoleevelina.com/

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