Queen of the Summer Stars (Guinevere Trilogy - Book 2) by Persia Woolley
Publication Date: June 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc.
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Fantasy
Pages: Paperback, 512pp
(Received for review from Sourcebooks)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
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Synopsis (Book Blurb):
In a country still reeling from the collapse of the Roman Empire, the young King Arthur and his wife Guinevere struggle to keep the barbarians at bay even as they establish the Fellowship of the Round Table. The spirited and outspoken Guinevere skillfully combats an accusation of planning to poison Arthur in a country shimmering with unrest and scandal. But Guinevere's greatest battles are dangers Arthur cannot see - ones she'll have to fight on her own. And all the while, she must reconcile her thirst for freedom with her duties as queen, and her growing love for Lancelot with her loyalty to her husband. Vibrantly human and touchingly real, Guinevere reigns as a woman poised to discover the true peril and promise of the human heart.
Queen of the Summer Stars is the second book in the Guinevere Trilogy from author Persia Woolley. Fans of the Arthurian legends will love this one!
Told from Guinevere's point of view, this book is full of magic and pageantry, love and betrayal, wars and battles, all of the things that make up a good romance. Readers will love Woolley's voice as she writes Guinevere from a refreshing and youthful point of view. Queen of the Summer Stars is unique re-telling of an age old story that readers are sure to fall in love with!
Guinevere and Arthur have only been married a few years and their love is blossoming, just as Guinevere is, but there is much to stand in their way. Arthur's half-sister Morgan lusts for the crown and there are obstacles at every turn and Arthur is slow to see her true feelings. Morgan's plans threaten Arthur's reign and his life. When Guinevere is accused of trying to poison Arthur she must face the facts that Morgan will stop at nothing to get the crown. Lancelot is one of Arthur's closest allies and friends, when he becomes Guinevere's champion it becomes difficult for him to deny his true feelings for her. As the attraction between grows Guinevere must try to rule her heart and stay loyal to Arthur.
The Guinevere Trilogy by Persia Woolley is probably my favorite re-telling of the story of Arthur and Guinevere, for several reasons. For one thing, this is a story that has captivated people for hundred's of years. It's a story we are all familiar with and yet Woolley makes it all seem new and refreshing. I think the key that makes this series special is the way that the author writes Guinevere. She portrays her as a young woman with so much potential. She loves Arthur and she wants to help him build something bigger, something better than there has ever been before. She's outspoken, she's intelligent and very vibrant. Woolley shows Guinevere's youth and her passion for life, but she doesn't hesitate to show the darker parts of her life as well. There is a war going on not only in the Britons, but also inside Guinevere and I think the author did a remarkable job of bringing that into focus.
I also liked the way that Persia Woolley was able to make the secondary characters of the story come to life. She does such a wonderful job with Arthur and Guinevere that it would only seem natural that other characters like Gwain, Morgan, Merlin and even Lancelot to some extent would not be as well developed. But that's not the case with this one. Each character in the story is very well written. You learn so much about each one as the book goes along. Their motivations, there passions, what they want out of this experience with Arthur and Camelot. I thought Woolley gave readers a more intimate look into each character than we have had before and I really liked that.
The relationship between Guinevere and Lancelot starts to grow in this book. At first he is very stand-offish toward, even cold. He doesn't think she's right for Arthur and I don't think he trusted her at all. But he becomes her champion after she is accuses of trying to poison Arthur and they start to form a new bond. He learns more about her and what she's like and who she really is and then I think his mind and his heart start to change. He found that there was so much more to her than he realized. Guinevere's feelings for Lancelot are changing as well. When she begins to figure out that's it's more than just the way she would feel for a friend, it weighs on her. It's difficult for her to rationalize why she is having these feelings and I thought the author really showed a different side to her. It wasn't just a flip decision to fall for Lancelot. She agonized over it and it really came through in Woolley's writing.
I would recommend this book to any reader who is interested in Arthur or intrigued by the legends that surround him. I think historical fiction readers will love this one as well as romance fans. There is so much in this series and especially this particular book that will appeal to lots of different readers. It's not a quick read, it's over 500 pages, but it is well worth the effort. I really enjoyed it and I know you will too!
Queen of the Summer Stars is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag.
Persia Woolley is the critically acclaimed author of the Guinevere Trilogy: Child of the Northern Spring, Queen of the Summer Stars, and Guinevere: Legend in Autumn. She lives in Northern California.