Published by: Simon and Schuster
Published on: May 2009
Page Count: 448
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Review copy sent to me by the author
Availability: paperback and eBook
Giveaway: See the end of this review for more information
England is in upheaval. It is still trying to recover from the double cross that ended with King Arthur’s death. Constantine, Arthur’s heir, was just a boy when he became the High King and married to Isolde, the daughter of Arthur’s traitor. Isolde is distraught when Con dies in a war with the Saxons and Lord Marche has planted himself and his troops in such a way as to be named the next High King. Isolde has reason to be suspicious of her husband’s death and has barely a friend in the world because of her father and her supposed ties to witchcraft. She tries to keep sane by tending to the wounded and dying troops, but even they distrust her because of her past. She longs to save her country but, being a woman without the protection of a husband, faces more obstacles than she thinks she can withstand. Could the connection she makes with one of the Saxon prisoners be the key to saving her country and herself?
I liked the following aspects about this novel:
- You can tell by the writing that Anna Elliot is passionate about her characters and the subject matter.
- Trystan was such a great character. His sense of honor and justice felt right for that time period.
- The way that Isolde used caring for the wounded soldiers to take her mind off of her troubles and the troubles of England. I also admired the way that she bore the combined burdens left to her by her father and her husband.
- Brother Columba was hands down my favorite character. I loved the simplicity that grew out of what was most likely a very tough and violent past.
- Lord Marche was an interesting villain. It’s interesting how men will be suspicious of a woman manipulating them in whatever means available to her, but readily take the snackiest of men at face value.
- The cover is lovely, isn’t it? It certainly sets the mood for the novel very well.
The following were issues for me:
- Isolde was always getting the cold shivers. I understood why, but it got old after a while.
- Although she apparently did, I never really understood why or found it believable that Isolde loved Con. Perhaps she loved what he meant to England, but I never got a sense of her love for him as a man.
- The time period. I can’t help it. This story had all the elements that would normally interest me. I am not sure what it is about this time and place. This is by far my biggest complaint, but I really can’t fault the book for the time period in which it takes place. It is what it is.
My Final Thoughts
Arthurian England just is not very interesting to me. I kind of hit the same wall while reading Helen Hollick’s The Kingmaking. This is a personal preference, though. I never thought to set the book aside and not finish it. As you will see in my Other Voices section, I am well in the minority here. Readers loved this novel.
This review is my first for Caribousmom’s Random Reading Challenge! I found it to be a lot of fun to leave my next read up to the Random Number Generator on Random.org. I book down, 5 to go by August. I wonder what the ol’ Random Number Generator will scare up for me next.
Twilight of Avalon is the first novel in Anna Elliot’s trilogy about Isolde and Trystan. I would love to send my gently read copy of this novel to someone who loves this story or Arthurian England. It just might be perfect timing, because Dark Moon of Avalon, the second book in this trilogy, is being published in May. To enter this giveaway, tell me what your favorite novel is from this time period. Leave your comment here by 11:59 PM EST. I’ll announce the winner later that week. Good luck!