Layers. We all have them, but often others don’t see them and they are forgotten as the years fall off the calendar. As I read Nicole Evelina’s Daughter of Destiny, I kept thinking about the number of layers a girl in Guinevere’s position would need and how many of them she would have to hide.
The beauty of this fabulous book is Evelina’s skill in peeling back the layers of a character shrouded in centuries of myth and legend. With this book being the first in a trilogy, Daughter of Destiny begins with a girl just entering adolescence, a time in life when girls during this era were preparing to marry, often not because they were in love, but because of their political value.
In this case, Evelina gives us the opportunity to get to know Guinevere and her early upbringing, which is so important to understanding the role she will play in Britain. We all know the major plot points, but Evelina is able to deliver plenty of drama and nuance all the while setting the stage for her ability to step into the view of the history books.
As one who enjoys history, the world Guinevere lives in is one that is at an interesting crossroads of Roman, Christian and ancient. Like Guinevere, we become so immersed in the Druidic practices of Avalon, it’s like a splash of cold water moving back into a world trying to balance between Christianity and the old traditions. I’m sure the future books will bring more of that tension and I can’t wait.
Throughout the book, Guinevere struggles with the role her mother, a warrior in her own right, taught her to play with combat and learning, her role as a priestess of Avalon in an increasingly Christian world and a woman in a time when women are valued as a bargaining chip. She’s walking a tightrope.
Along Guinevere’s journey, we get to meet a who’s who of historical figures. Isolde of Irish fame. Lancelot makes a small preview appearance. Merlin, Owain, Pellinor, Tristan and the list goes on. Evelina does a wonderful job of helping the reader keep all the names and locations straight. While Guinevere is one of my favorites, Isolde is a fabulous character that is both fierce and tragic. And Aggrivaine, oh how I crush on thee.
Just like the strategic game of stones demonstrated in Daughter of Destiny, Evelina masterfully moves her characters over a chess board of intrigue and political maneuvering. I’ll be picking up Camelot’s Queen soon!