Blog Book Tour | “Daughter of Destiny: Guinevere’s Tale No.1” by Nicole Evelina

Posted Saturday, 27 February, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “Daughter of Destiny” direct from the author Nicole Evelina in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

A note about how the author enscribed my copy:

The first thing which struck my fancy to notice is the red seal with a crown inside the wax which was quite cleverly affixed next to the author’s signature on the title page of this novel! The reason such a gesture from the old world signified such delight in me, is because I’m a letter-writer whose appreciation for all things papery and postal extend back into my childhood. Seals, waxes and emblems have bewitched my writerly heart for awhile now, and the hardest part to sealing wax is getting it to behave in such a manner as you can be certain of where it shall affix and how the look your hoping to gain will be presented exactly as you intended it.

This was definitely a special surprise for me, as it gave a bit of a definitive nod of the novel’s heart etched out of both history and lore entwined together. I definitely think the author gave me a strong impression on how to greet your book blogger ‘at hallo’ and give them a wink of a surprise as they settle inside your story!  It is always the small things that inspire the most happiness, I find, and this small gesture of yesteryear was wicked brilliant!

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Blog Book Tour | “Daughter of Destiny: Guinevere’s Tale No.1” by Nicole EvelinaDaughter of Destiny
Subtitle: Guinevere's Tale Book One
by Nicole Evelina
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Jenny Quinlan (JennyQ)
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

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.

Genres: After Canons, Arthurian Legend, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Historical-Fantasy, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Women's Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0-9967631-0-3

Also by this author: Nicole Evelina (Guest Post: Camelot's Queen), Camelot's Queen, Been Searching For You, Madame Presidentess, Mistress of Legend

Also in this series: Camelot's Queen, Mistress of Legend

Published by Lawson Gartner Publishing

on 21st December, 2015

Format: Softcover Edition

Pages: 327

Published By: Lawson Gartner Publishing

Book No. 2 Camelot’s Queen releases 12th of April 2016

Book No. 3 Mistress of the Legend releases late 2016/early 2017

Formats Available: Softcover, Audiobook and Ebook

About Nicole Evelina

Nicole Evelina

Nicole Evelina is an award-winning historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her current novel, Been Searching for You, a romantic comedy, won the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.

She also writes historical fiction. Her debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view, took first place in the legend/legacy category of the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Women’s Fiction/Romance, and was short-listed for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction. Later this year (2016), she will release Madame Presidentess (July 25), a historical novel about Victoria Woodhull, America's first female Presidential candidate, which was the first place winner in the Women’s US History category of the 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction.

Nicole is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. Nicole has 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.

Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for the The Historical Novel Society, and Sirens (a group supporting female fantasy authors), as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Broad Universe (promoting women in fantasy, science fiction and horror), Alliance of Independent Authors and the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Author biography was updated July 2016.

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My review of Daughter of Destiny:

A solemn plea for a reader’s mind to open itself to the possibility everything previously known about Camelot,… of Arthur and Guinevere in particular may not have been the honest truth of how they lived those enchanted lives of age. This is implorious bequest on behalf of Guinevere is quite telling of how fact and fable can become so entangled as to have nary a fragment left which befits the truer tale of their story. This clever beginning reminded me why I love “Ever After” starring Drew Barrymore because it was from the point of view that none of use ‘knew!’ the real Cinder girl who inspired ‘Cinderella’. Evelina made Guinevere’s voice so authentically honest, you could not wait to find where truth, fiction and fact intersect and depart!

We step inside Guinevere’s life as a young child, on the formidable cusp of womanhood she has to make a choice which will set her sails onto a new path wherein she is meant to learn about her gift of sight. Even at her age without training, Guinevere could see glimpses of both the past and of the future; making her precognitive intuition jarring and intriguing for her young mind. As we take stock of Avalon upon arrival through Guinevere’s eyes, we see a resplendent countryside of greenery, growth and renewal of life.

Avalon is a place where self-reliance is forged and a sense of community pulls together the tasks of living where each individual is meant to pull their own weight in order to keep everything in running order. This was a new concept to young Guinevere as she came from a home where servants aided the household and where the most labouring she was used too was learning how to wield a sword; courtesy of her mother. Her heritage is enriched through her mother, whose tribe passed down traditions she is even now remembering and holding quite dear to her heart. In this place, where the outside world is unseen and life murmurs it’s own calling of normalcy, Guinevere is attempting to sort out who she is and the talent which unsettles her soul.

One of several young girls who were taken to Avalon to learn more from the women who guide their learning, we start to recognise others who are with her, such as Morgan; a young girl presumed to be descended from the fey. It is within this tender acquaintance with a girl whose her equal, Guinevere begins to develop the unnecessary inclination to best someone who is only seeking recognition as she feels a bit lost and disconnected in the world. These passages of childhood angst between Guinevere and Morgan are interesting, because they show the two girls’ character and their choices of how they wish to be known. Conceptually, to have each of these known women alighting inside a story about their youth and their growth into womanhood is a creative method to give us further insight into who they truly were rather than what we could only imagine as truth.

A favourite bit of the narrative set during Guinevere’s girlhood years in Avalon is the exploration of herbology and apothecary practices. Avalon is ruled by the elements and as such, so are the women who call Avalon home, as they are students of an ancient art where magic and knowledge walk together rather than apart. Most of their Earthen magical is rooted directly to the land and to the powers instilled in them from birth; it’s their pursuit of how to tame what is naturally gifted to them that winks out a pleasurable read, as you see how inter-connected the Earth becomes with their dedication to serve others. Knowledge is paramount to Avalon, in order to best be of use to those who live outside this shielded land where power struggles and the deception of man is rampant.

Aggrivane marked a turning point in Guinevere’s young life where she embraced the moment of passion and allowed herself to take joy in the felicity of young love. Aggrivane was her equal match both in compassion and in celebration of how their paths led to each other. They each were following a destiny laid down by their parents, but each in turn, had to decide for themselves where they felt they belonged. Her dedication to Avalon and his to his father is what fated them to depart and beg for another time where their hours could be their own without the duties of their destinies forsaking love for responsibility.

Such subterfuge greeted Guinevere on her return home, a father enraged by grief and willing enough to disown his only child if only to bring his parentage to a heightened circle of rule. He forsaked his wife and her memory by allowing himself to be chastised and overly influenced by those outside of his original faith and network of confidantes as he was blinded by an anguished sorrow that would not leave him. Isolde is quite the character to meet after this sudden departure as in her Guinevere sees someone who has made the best of her fate but is not completely owning her own birthright at the same time. This broaches the turning of tides between the religions of the ancients and the arrival of Christianity; the two never quite accepting the other. There is symmetry shown here in this transitional state of Guinevere’s where we can denote both the attention of the age and the grit of determination in her irked ire for being forced to disavow her own beliefs.

Isolde and Guinevere’s friendship is a testament of the strength of sisterhood bonds and the willingness to see outside of one’s circumstances; each woman was laying in hope of living a future not of their present. Although they did not always agree on semantics, theirs was a bond strengthened in trust and conceived out of a conjoined path where each was sent away from their birthright and home. I loved the moxie and spirited personality of Isolde as she helped bring out a new chapter of Guinevere’s resolve.

Daughter of Destiny carries us so far inside Guinevere’s internal conflict of soul-searching, self-identity and spiritual awakenings that it is a hard ending to accept that a premonition held so much inside it to befall a footpath in which she was following straight into a destiny she nearly choked on accepting. It’s not that it’s a future without honour, it’s merely Guinevere grew into a woman who sought for independence from men and the manner in which her life was meant to shaped within the shadows of a husband-yet-known. She wanted more of her life than what was expected of her and as we reached the concluding chapters of this first installment we see how churning her choices are and how difficult it is for her to accept what on faith alone she must take as solace to her path.

How an expression of daughterly love for her Mum resonated with me:

I could only wonder if each stitch gave her comfort in knowing she had set her daughter on the path the Goddess intended, or if each dip of the needle pricked at her heart, tormenting her conscience over sending her daughter so far away.

quoted from page 93 of Daughter of Destiny (Guinevere’s Take Book One)
by Nicole Evelina with permission of the author.

I could not quite put my finger on what was resonating with me the most as I read this story, until I reached page 93 and everything illuminated before my eyes what the centerpiece of thought was evoking out of this narrative as the tapestry of Guinevere’s life was directly influenced by her mothering influences first given to her by her mother and completed by the Priestesses on Avalon. This is a women’s story told from the perception of how a young girl can mature through a strength given to her before she is secluded to study and harbours the goodness which her parents instilled her with before her departure.

This quotation is a solemn reflection on the hours she’s lost with her homeland and specifically spent in company of her mother, as she is noticing how life moved forward without her presence, even if acknowledging this and accepting it were two feathers of a different bird. I especially loved finding turns of phrase by the author such as this one ‘each dip of the needle pricked at her heart’ as it is steadfast in it’s realism of where emotional turmoil and humanistic living truth befall anyone who lives passionately connected to their conscience and soul.

How Nicole Evelina evokes a dramatic portrait of the 5th Century:

Evelina has taken us into the heart of Guinevere and her girlhood peers, as we walk inside those hours she spent on Avalon honing her talent and learning about the world from a point of view not concurrent to her parents or ancestral home. Evelina re-develops the image of Guinevere and the back-story therein, allowing us the grace to re-examine what we think we know of the characters being brought back to life inside this trilogy. It’s a curious undertaking, because although it’s rooted in a canonical history of literature, mythos and lore; there is a new attempt at re-developing a story whose depths are grounded by the character’s will of heart and spirit of passage through their growing years.

I appreciated this tact and angle, as I recently read my first origins story earlier this year, wherein I learnt about the Brontë siblings in Coakley’s Worlds of Ink and Shadow. I’d have to speculate then, this would be an origin story about Camelot fused through Guinevere but of the whole of whom lived within her lifespan. The complexity and the authentic voice inter-combine to bring a scope of realism to Guinevere and to the back-story of her life. It’s a wholly original complex origin story where even if you are as under-read as I am about Camelot and Arthurian Legend, you can curl inside this novel due to how well-told Evelina evoked it’s heart out of the pages she lent us to read!

Mythology, fable and lore can feel disconnected at times to an actuary world if the conception of their perimeters are not fully fleshed out and brought to such a high level of vision by their writers. This is where Nicole Evelina excels as her vision of the story is portrayed in such a convicting manner as to etch your heart directly into the lifeblood of her characters; you feel everything they are sensing and appreciate the direct connection in order to best understand their world. Definitely a harbinger of emotionally writ historical fiction centred on known persons who have inspired many but of whom feel more three dimensional inside this story as they are presented with equal fragility as their contemporary peerage.

The research Evelina put into this work of a trilogy is evidenced by how she chose to tell the story, first through direct sight of Guinevere approaching hard choices and managing her emotions in the thick of it and secondly, through enlivening the background with such scope of depth as to embrace the mystical and mythology of how Camelot exists. She even kept the continuity alive by bringing together the origins of those who call Avalon home with their familial heritages and beliefs; such as I celebrated in seeing Guinevere’s Rhiannon and Lugh arriving in time for her ascension to Priestess of Avalon. The fundamentals of religion and ancestry are inter-woven to the core of who Guinevere is and what she stood for thereby granting the reader a more grounded vision of the woman Guinevere became latter in life.

Such a compelling and unputdownable discovery of historical narrative, I can only hope if Camelot’s Queen and Mistress of the Legend tour in the book blogosphere, I’ll be able to continue to be able to share this epic journey inside the mind of Nicole Evelina as truly to find a series rooted in lore and imaginatively secure in it’s own identity outside the mythology it resides in is quite the smashingly brilliant read to have appreciated finding!

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Post Script banner created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

One way the author reached out to her readers is by composing an informative and interactive guide to understanding how and why she wrote Daughter of Destiny within the context of this FAQ.

A few things struck me as a bit odd from the readerly insights she’s gathering from other bloggers on the tour, as two things stood out to me immediately – the empathsis on Avalon and the plausible explanation of having Aggrivane in Guinevere’s life. I felt it was most necessary to fuse our understanding on behalf of Avalon in order to best understand Guinevere – especially true, if like me, the reader has not read Arthurian lore inasmuch as most, thereby would be a bit lost to understand the nuances and back-histories without the presence of such a strong Part I. In regards, to having Aggrivane as her lover ahead of her relationship with Arthur I felt this was plausible because of how the traditions of Avalon were first explained by Evelina with empathsis on their festivals, rituals and rites of passage. It felt believable because of this but also, because you can see how the heart of Guinevere was growing in freedom of choice and expression; which comes with newfound maturity.

Even without reading the research was forthright enough to warrant this side-step inclusion to have Guinevere encounter Aggrivane, I nearly felt it was true on the merits of how well-written Daughter of Destiny is conceptually conceived. There are layers of texture and tone of this era so well seen that you can nearly attempt to root out where the research led the author and where her imagination knitted out the rest for us to appreciate.

I definitely was applauding Evelina’s stroke of genius in conveying the religious history of the 5th Century, where there was a paradigm shift from Earthen Religion & Spirituality and a stronger presence of focus with Christianity. I have only just begun my readings of the earlier centuries but I learnt the fringes of their difficulties and histories from readings I remember from school. It was such an epic time of war, intolerance and superstitious tendencies to take on prejudicial thoughts about what was not easily explained or understood. So, too, like the Medieval Ages it was a time of Reformative Insight and a transformation of ideals, beliefs and routes in which people lived their faith. I felt it was very well addressed and underscored beautifully with the context of Guinevere’s own story.

I was not surprised Isolde and Morgan were going to have a spin-off novel of their own – their characters were so wholly realised within Daughter of Destiny you can see the forbearing truths of how their stories could be writ outside of this trilogy.

And in regards to tradition and after canons, I have my own marker of accepting these stories, as if I find a writer like Nicole Evelina who holds such a clear conveyance of an original idea but makes it her own with respect to the canon whilst re-directing it’s intended variant to be in of itself unique, I can do nothing but cheer for her to continue this story as only she can tell it. The reason I am a bit liberal when it comes to these things is because too often, after canons derail themselves into a sub-genre that is completely outside the breadth of it’s original story. I’d rather champion writers who are providing well-written variants of a canon than those who seek to dismantle the legacy therein.

No, for me writers like the previously mentioned Lena Coakley, Lauren Winder Farnsworth (on behalf of Keeping Kate), J. Marie Croft (on behalf of Love At First Slight), Rebecca H. Jamison (on behalf of Sense & Sensibility: A Latter-Day Tale), Mandy Madson Voisin (on behalf of Star of Deliverance), Kate Forsyth (on behalf of Bitter Greens), Sarah E. Boucher (on behalf of Becoming Beauty), Jaime Robyn Wood (on behalf of Bearskin), Nicole Evelina and Laurie R. King (on behalf of the Mary Russell series involving Sherlock Holmes) are the select few who know how to write a reader’s delight within the expanse of ‘after canon’ literature.

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I want to share a bit of the note I sent the author as an apology for those who were following the blog tour and looking forward to reading my thoughts on behalf of this novel:

I’ve been trying for most of the day to wrap my head and heart into your novel — my biggest problem is exhaustion. I had food poisoning earlier in the week which not only threw off my time schedules (as I re-scheduled reviews into this week) but it threw me off kilter from my own ‘normal’. I have been trying to ‘catch-up’ with everything – but as I was up til after 3am the past two days in a row, I feel as if the illness took too much out of me to rebound. I thought for sure I could read and post my review tonight, (earlier, not this late!) but alas, I just need more rest! 

Daughter of Destiny blog tour via HFVBTs

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst bloggers who picked up the same story to read.

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This review is cross-posted to LibraryThing.

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Daughter of Destiny”, book synopsis, author biography, the tour host badge & HFVBTs badge were all provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva. I sought permission to use a quotation of text from page 93 of Daughter of Destiny (Guinevere’s Take Book One) by Nicole Evelina which the author blessed me with permission of use on this review. Post Script banner created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2016.

I’m a social reader | I tweet as I read

Loved the author’s response spilt into two tweets (tweet 1) (tweet 2) as I understood what she was saying even w/o the second tweet! It was wonderful to see her seeing my notes as I was starting to tweet about reading this story on Thursday. I pulled out of posting my review until Friday, as exhaustion won out and I couldn’t properly attach myself into the story.

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Now THIS novel is being optioned for FILM….

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 27 February, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 6th Century, After the Canon, Apothecary, Arthurian Legend, Avalon, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Britian, British Literature, Bullies and the Bullied, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Folklore and Mythology, Herbalist, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, History, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Mythological Societies, Naturopathic Medicine, Parapsychological Gifts, Passionate Researcher, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Re-Told Tales, Sewing & Stitchery, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Supernatural Fiction, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Warfare & Power Realignment, Women's Fiction, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Style & Voice

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