Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Review & Giveaway: The Once and Future Queen: Guinevere in Arthurian Legend by Nicole Evelina

The Once and Future Queen: Guinevere in Arthurian Legend
by Nicole Evelina
Release Date: November 21st 2017
2017 Lawson Gartner Publishing
Kindle Edition; 278 pages
ISBN: 978-0996763226
Genre: Non-fiction
Source: Review copy from author via HFVBT

4 / 5 Stars

Literature tells us painfully little about Guinevere, mostly focusing on her sin and betrayal of Arthur and Camelot. As a result, she is often seen as a one-dimensional character. But there is more to her story. By examining popular works of more than 20 authors over the last one thousand years, The Once and Future Queen shows how Guinevere reflects attitudes toward women during the time in which her story was written, changing to suit the expectations of her audience. Beginning in Celtic times and continuing through the present day, this book synthesizes academic criticism and popular opinion into a highly readable, approachable work that fills a gap in Arthurian material available to the general public.

My Thoughts
The Once and Future Queen is a great companion to Nicole Evelina's Daughter of Destiny and Camelot's Queen as she explores the legend of Guinevere from its earliest beginnings to current literature, and how the change in societies has had an impact on her story and on her personality. I am very familiar with the tale of Arthur and Guinevere and have found the various legends and stories to be quite interesting, so I was quite thrilled to read this author's thoughts on the various tales and how they might have developed over time.  

First of all, while this wasn't a real in-depth overview of Guinevere, in the sense of a deep scholarly study, I really enjoyed the lighter touch to her well-researched book as it was easy to read and to follow. I remember reading some more scholarly things about Camelot while taking some history courses and they were not easy to read nor follow, so I definitely appreciated the effort to keep it light but also be very informative.  I don't want to make light of the amount of research that would have gone into this book though, so when I say it's light, it just means that it was written in such a way as to make it easy to understand who the characters were that people Guinevere's world.  You don't have to have a huge background knowledge of Guinevere and her court in order to understand this book. There are no assumptions made that you have read material about Camelot before, so anyone could pick this up and enjoy the discussion about her.  

What I did find fascinating is the trends that took place over the centuries regarding Guinevere and her personality and how it is shaped by the societies in which each story was written.  I am not especially surprised by this, but to have it laid out in a format that discusses each story as they were written makes it easy to follow the historical routes and ideas that conceived each novel. Was Guinevere a saint, a sinner, a martyr, a queen, a feminist, a mother, a slut, or a simply a representation of what should have been like during each time period in which she was written.  Naturally, being born in the modern time period, I prefer her when she is strong and independent, but flawed through bad choices and pressures that were put upon her.  I know when I read Le Morte d'Arthur, I wasn't overly impressed with Guinevere (or Arthur either for that matter), so reading Sharan Newman's Guinevere series (Guinevere, The Chessboard Queen, and Guinevere Evermore) was very enlightening, with a much stronger queen that I liked, even if I had issues with the overall stories.

The Once and Future Queen is an engrossing and detailed rendering of Guinevere through the ages, and is a welcome addition to the works about Guinevere.  As someone with a background in history, I definitely enjoyed the simplicity of what I read, but there is definitely a plethora of research notes that you could check out if you were interested in going deeper and into even more detail.  I definitely like the stories of today whereby Guinevere is from a Celtic descent with overtones towards pagan worship as opposed to Christian worship and the conflicts that must have ensued.  It's evident that every author wants to put their own on her life and I definitely appreciate that, but I really like the fact that her character has grown to be a more trusted and powerful one, almost a warrior queen.  The author makes Guinevere's evolution easy to understand and provides very detailed reasons for why these shifts occurred over the years.  I am glad to know that Mistress of Legend (the third book in the Guinevere's Tale) will be released this year as I highly recommend the other two books in the series, as well as this non-fiction book of Guinevere's development through the ages.  Anyone with an interest in Camelot should pick up this book.


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two paperback copies of The Once and Future Queen! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Once and Future Queen


  1. Thank you so much for hosting Nicole's Blog Tour & for your excellent review!

    HF Virtual Book Tours