Blog Book Tour | “Camelot’s Queen” (Guinevere’s Tale, No. 2) by Nicole Evelina #HistFantasy

Posted Monday, 16 May, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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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 “Camelot’s Queen” direct from the author Nicole Evelina in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I appreciate reading Nicole Evelina’s Guinevere Tale series:

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.

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.

– as disclosed on my review of Daughter of Destiny, Guinevere’s Tale No.1

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Blog Book Tour | “Camelot’s Queen” (Guinevere’s Tale, No. 2) by Nicole Evelina #HistFantasyCamelot's Queen
Subtitle: Guinevere's Tale Book Two
by Nicole Evelina
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Jenny Quinlan (JennyQ)
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

History remembers Guinevere’s sin, but it was Arthur who transgressed first.

Forced into a marriage she neither anticipated nor desired, Guinevere finds herself High Queen, ruling and fighting alongside Arthur as they try to subdue the Saxons, Irish and Picts who threaten Britain from every direction. Though her heart still longs for her lost love, Guinevere slowly grows to care for her husband as they join together to defeat their enemies.

Meanwhile, within the walls of Camelot their closest allies plot against them. One schemes to make Guinevere his own, another seeks revenge for past transgressions, while a third fixes her eyes on the throne. When the unthinkable happens and Guinevere is feared dead, Arthur installs a new woman in her place, one who will poison his affections toward her, threatening Guinevere’s fragile sanity and eventually driving her into the arms of her champion.

Amid this tension a new challenge arises for the king and queen of Camelot: finding the Holy Grail, a sacred relic that promises lasting unity. But peace, as they will soon learn, can be just as dangerous as war. As the court begins to turn on itself, it becomes clear that the quest that was to be Arthur’s lasting legacy may end in the burning fires of condemnation.

This highly anticipated sequel to Daughter of Destiny proves there is much more to Guinevere’s story than her marriage and an affair. See the legend you think you know through her eyes and live the adventure of Camelot’s golden days yourself – but prepared to suffer its downfall as well.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0996763134

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

Also in this series: Daughter of Destiny, Mistress of Legend


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


Published by Lawson Gartner Publishing

on 9th April, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 481

Book No. 1 Daughter of Destiny (review)

Book No. 2 Camelot’s Queen

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

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Read an Excerpt of the Novel:

Preview of Camelot’s Queen by Nicole Evelina

I made it to my room and slammed the door. Alone at last, I leaned against the door, struggling to catch my breath. Tears spilled over as the enormity of the day finally sank in. I slid down to the floor and ran my hands through my hair. How could my life have changed so much in only a few hours? I thought Arthur had grown to love me, but he had just accepted a former lover back into his confidence after only having been reunited with her for a few hours. What did that mean for my marriage?

I didn’t know how long I spent contemplating my situation, but just as quickly as the tears had come, I started laughing. I was being ridiculous. Arthur had had to learn to live with Aggrivane at court long ago. Granted he’d sent my former betrothed on missions away from Camelot as often as possible, but he had still learned how to cope with his presence. I was behaving like a child. Galen had been right the day we argued in the forest so many years before. I really was worse than a fisherman’s wife. And worse, I had changed little with the passage of time. I stood, straightening my dress and mentally preparing myself to apologize to them both.

After a few deep breaths, I went back down to the meeting room, expecting to find Arthur and Sobian discussing the finer points of her new role. But to my surprise, the room was empty. Octavia came in, holding a tray to collect the ale pitcher and our used glasses.

“Do you know where Arthur went?”

She eyed me carefully. “He is in his room. Alone.” She emphasized the word, knowing I would wonder. “They told me about her new role. Are you in agreement that it is wise?”

“I will be,” I reassured her.

Octavia made a noise indicating she wasn’t so certain then busied herself cleaning up the table. That was when I saw the lone sheet of paper. Thinking it to be notes from Arthur and Sobian’s discussion, I bent over the table to get a better look.
My blood turned to ice. The letters were formed of patterns made by varying lengths of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines. It was written in Ogham, the ancient language of the Druids, so it could not have come from Arthur. He hadn’t studied with them long enough to have learned it. Plus, its message was not one a husband leaves his wife.

I ran to Arthur’s room, rubbing my hand over the goose-pimpled flesh of my arm. “You may wish to rethink your decision,” I said as I entered.

He looked up. “Why is that?”

I held the paper out to him. “This was left in the meeting room.” I shivered again.

He plucked the paper out of my hand and turned it in several directions, trying to figure out how to read it. “Ogham. That’s unusual. What does it say?”

I grabbed it back, irritated beyond decorum. After what had happened with the madman and Sobian, I didn’t think I could take much more.

“That’s the problem. I think it’s a threat. ‘My queen, you may close your eyes to the one you scorned, but that will not keep me away. I will breathe your last breath so that you will live on forever in me.’”

Arthur’s face darkened. “Only one man could claim such a thing.”

I looked at him quizzically, brow furrowing. “How do you know Sobian isn’t party to this? It appeared right after she did in the very room she last occupied.”

Arthur sighed, clearly frustrated that I didn’t trust Sobian implicitly as he did. “Because this isn’t her way. As she said, if she wished you dead, you would be. She has no need for idle threats.”

“Who then?”

“Think about the message.” His tone took on a condescending air I did not care for.

“Someone you once rejected? Who did you give up to marry me? You may not want to see it, but the answer is right in front of you.”

He didn’t have to say the name. Suddenly I knew exactly who he blamed. His menacing gaze was fixed on my former lover.

Guilty or not, Aggrivane was in serious trouble.

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 Camelot’s Queen:

As ‘Daughter of Destiny’ concluded, we were on the cusp of seeing if Aggrivane could persuade Guinevere’s father to grant her hand to his in decree of marriage – as marriage was quite a complicated affair in their era; contractual rather than based on romance or love. Their intent was fiercely bonded between themselves but it had to be sanctioned by her father if they had any hope of succeeding to wed. Quite happily, I found myself taken forward to where Guinevere and Arthur have just married – the truth of the attempt to wed another man coming into the centre of light for Arthur and testing the merit of how Guinevere will rule whilst knowing the truth of her heart. A fitting beginning, for this second chapter of their lives,…

Evelina doesn’t waste time in giving us a forbearance of knowledge towards ‘whom’ will bring the most distraught and anguishing moments into Guinevere’s married life – as it is Guinevere herself, attune and aware of her surroundings, takes stock of a presence that does not bode well on her conscience. It is the entrance of a man she first crossed paths with on Avalon and one of whom acts nearly as a harbinger of ill-will as she’s struck by the arrival of Morgan soon thereafter. It’s a percolating state of uncertainty how all the loose threads of her past are converging all at once, when she hasn’t even had the chance to step into her marriage with a clear conscience free of the guilt she had by information she had hoped Arthur had known of ahead of time.

Arthur provided Guinevere with two very special wedding gifts that even touched my own heart as I read the sincerity of Arthur’s intentions behind their selections: one was the coveted ring of his ancestral line and the second was a specially built labyrinth with a touch of Avalon inside it for Guinevere’s state of wellness. Arthur wanted her to be grounded by his ancestor’s strong confluence of integrity whilst trying to give his Queen a place where she could unwind her mind and take stock of a quieter peace she might find elusive as she reigns. On both counts, Arthur was quite the charmer – as he wanted his wife to be happy alongside him first and foremost, but he also wanted to give her something she alone could draw strength from separate from him.

Guinevere takes her position at court quite naturally, she’s a bourne leader but it’s the situations she finds herself inside that test her more than she realises. Her first order of business was to hire someone to protect her but instead, found the person who occupied that position to be of a fierce temper and hasty to inflict his ire on others. It was a telling moment to recognise his truer self but what this meant for her in the long term was unknown. Meanwhile, she appreciated the trust Arthur was placing in her equality to lead their people and to make calculating choices in regards to their men; who would take up arms to defend Camelot at all costs. She still relied on her teachings from Avalon, a bit of a stirring misalignment in that regard with Arthur but she remained true to herself for which I enjoyed seeing most. Guinevere has been misunderstand by many throughout her life, but I had the sense Arthur wished she could separate herself from Avalon; living without her inherent gifts.

Her concerns about becoming a mother are heartfelt as she has a history of difficulties in childbearing years through her mother; of whom she did not want to follow in adversity such as this. I could not blame her as bearing children was quite a risk as so much was still not known at time of birth. The fact they had midwives at all was a blessing but the mothers were still vulnerable to what can cause stress at birth and how quickly a child can be placed in jeopardy. Her state of mind was focused but she was unnerved a bit at the same time.

Guinevere does not take kindly to what happens ‘next’ in regards to her past relationships; she comes off quite a bit harsh towards Aggrivane even though it’s quite plausible why she would. I felt she should have given him a bone if you take into consideration everything she’s lived through thus far. She knows first hand how injustice can snap your life in half and how circumstances can grow out of your own control; for someone who had lived the life she had, her lack of compassion in this instance surprised me. Except on one score; she was withchild when the disclosure took place, and with everything else on her mind, I wondered if it was pushing her to a breaking point. Where she wouldn’t be able to filter much else out or accept too much more as a whole to process.

With her mind brokering on thin fragility after the devastating loss of her children, you could well see how Guinevere was about to become undone by Malegant. True to her word, Evelina offsets the focus on the brutal attack by showing the internal conflict Guinevere is surviving and how she’s psychologically trying to keep herself sane. She’s teetering between two worlds: the living and dead whilst entertaining a third: where she numbs her soul to her reality, merely existing through motions alone. It’s what she finds remiss at home in Camelot that I think finally pushed her past return. A woman can find a will to survive as long as she has the hope of what she had lost to return back too.

In Guinevere’s case, everything was stolen from her and nothing was quite right afterwards. Her soul was splintered and shattered, fragmented worst than glass wherein Arthur could not see her pain nor understand the magnitude of how far she had fought to return to him. This was the most sombering part of her story – to recognise how everything was predestined, interconnected and soul-wrenching – to every layer of the pieces forming together and turning against each other at the same time.

I think if Guinevere hadn’t had the time she had in Avalon originally, she never would have had the courage to overcome this moment in her life. Avalon taught her many things, but one of the best lessons it taught her was how to slow down her mind, re-examine her feelings and to truly focus on things that were not connected to her emotions at all. She sought re-balance on her return to Camelot but also, a measure of peace within her spirit – to find a way to re-enter her life, such as it were. On that note, going back to her husband was bittersweet as Evelina points out nothing is quite the way it was before she was taken against her will. Too many things are in play, even on her return, that continue to place her and Arthur in jeopardy; marked measures where they are merely pawns in a game they do not understand.

What is compelling about reading her story, is seeing how she rises to the occasion to dig a bit deeper than she felt she could and find a path out of the chaos. She has advisors and friends to guide her – Merlin, the Lady of the Lake, Lancelot and even Imogen whose quiet manner had a larger effect on Guinevere’s state of being. Each rut in the road, she is attempting to sort out the best way forward, but sometimes, life does not afford a direct route to your future. Sometimes it takes time, more time than you think you have to spare before wrongs are upturnt and a solid footing becomes your walkway.

Why I appreciate the after canon re-tellings of this classical story through the eyes of Nicole Evelina:

Per reading the first installment of this trilogy, I decided to read the ‘back pages’ first, as I knew this particular story deals with an act of violence against women and hits on the harder hitting moments behind mental health directly being affected by traumatic events. I had gained a trust with Evelina’s writing style due to how she approached introducing us to Guinevere originally, and I wanted to read a bit more in regards to the choices she was making in carrying this story forward – what I found is she’s basing her narrative choices on the research and where the lore allows a writer to re-imagine what could be taken for truth in regards to the back-story of the ‘character’ we know as ‘Guinevere’. This is quite ideal to understand, as it speaks to the particularly unique styling of Evelina’s Guinevere whilst owning to the adversities we’re about to experience on her behalf as she navigates her new life as a married Queen.

I appreciate the extra care and attention Evelina goes too in being openly transparent with her readers – not only about the inclusions of what she is writing into the backbone of her sequel for Camelot but for why she’s finding the choices she’s made are backed up by the research and the lore left behind for her to find to inspire her writing as a whole. It helps not only understand the time-line but how the time-line affects the events and how through digging deeper into the lore and legends of Camelot you can root out strongly wrought conflict and afflictions that can affect any woman of any age. Evelina isn’t an author who shies away from harder subjects and topics, but rather meets them head-on and tries to assert her feelings on the events in a manner that is welcoming to her readers. She puts her heart on the line and owns the truth of her words as her pen inks out her stories.

It’s this attention to both detail and sensitivities of readers, wherein I felt I might appreciate reading her next historical release Madame Presidentess (read about the book on her author’s site) after having first met her title character Victoria Woodhull through my readings of The Renegade Queen (see my review); where I first began my journey into a new vein of interest for #HistFic – the Feminist driven side of Historical Fiction! I was quite grateful for the introduction (as it was soon followed by Emmy Nation (see my review) and my first introduction into Evelina’s writing via Daughter of Destiny.

The reason I felt I might find myself a bit more smitten to read Evelina’s version of Woodhull’s story is because I was very much challenged by how Flynn portrayed those harder scenes and the way in which Woodhull’s earlier life was fused to the novel. I survived the text and I was genuinely curious about the sequel by Flynn, but part of me wondered if the story could have found a softer edging – thus, imagine my joy in finding Evelina has penned a different take on the same tale! I bring up Victoria Woodhull because she shares a thread of connection with the Guinevere your meeting inside Camelot’s Queen; both women are brutally attacked and suffer aftereffects of how men treated them. Sometimes tempering the hardest and most challenging of scenes or memories of a character fit better with my own sensitive heart than the ones that breach my own level of tolerance.

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Previously I hosted a Guest Post on behalf of the supernatural elements of the series!
I will be reading & reviewing Ms Evelina’s Contemporary Rom (Been Searching for You) this July! Be sure to return! I look forward to engaging with this other half of her writerly voice as I personally write between genres myself and love finding authors who share an equal passion for doing the same. Likewise, it’s the premise rooted inside this new release – about singletons (in their thirties) and how romance can enter your life when your least expecting it too that I felt was the most endearing!

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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 gravitate towards the same stories to read. Bookish conversations are always welcome!
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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Camelot’s Queen”, book synopsis, book excerpt, author photograph of Nicole Evelina, 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.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2016.

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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 Monday, 16 May, 2016 by jorielov in 6th Century, After the Canon, Apothecary, Arthurian Legend, Avalon, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book | Novel Excerpt, Britian, British Literature, Disillusionment in Marriage, Domestic Violence, Early Middle Ages [the Dark Ages] (1001-1300), Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Folklore and Mythology, Herbalist, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, History, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Loss of an unbourne child, Marriage of Convenience, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Midwife | Midwifery, Midwives & Childbirth, Mythological Societies, Parapsychological Gifts, Passionate Researcher, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Re-Told Tales, Realistic Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Supernatural Fiction, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Warfare & Power Realignment, Women's Fiction, Women's Health, Women's Rights, Writing Style & Voice




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