Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: Daughter of Destiny (Guinevere's Tale #1) By Nicole Evelina + Giveaway!!

Publication Date: January 1, 2016
Lawson Gartner Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 326 Pages

Genre: Historical Fantasy


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.

What Did I Think About the Story?

Before deciding to read Daughter of Destiny I knew very little about Guinevere's story, other than the bare minimum most people know about the myth surrounding her, Arthur and Camelot, so I was very excited to see that this was going to be her story, from her point of view, told from a young age. The Prologue really captured my attention, with Guinevere saying she had been maligned by history and wanted to make sure the truth was told. Once I read this I knew I was going to enjoy this story, and I'm happy to say I was right.

Daughter of Destiny is a delicious mix of history and fantasy, nature vs. mysticism, and the learning of basic skills of every young woman of this time period and the honing of divine ones.  Guinevere's time on Avalon was probably my favorite portion, as the reader gets a front row seat to the education of a priestess and the maturation of young women of note that would have their own sets of pressures and responsibilities to look forward to when they left the island.  I think that Guinevere represents such a unique perspective and watching her struggle with will vs. destiny and heart vs. duty was fascinating, even when I knew the eventual outcome could only fall one way.

There are so many interesting characters that populate this story and I loved having the opportunity to see them as their younger selves and to see how their life experiences and interactions would lead them to become the adults we are more aware of. We get to see Morgan (who is quite disturbed), The Lady of the Lake, Merlin, Lancelot and even Isolde and Tristan!

Beyond the interesting characters the setting is also quite well developed, so it was easy to feel immersed in this medieval world. I loved learning the general customs, rituals and celebrations and even meals that would have been experienced by our characters. This sort of detail roped in my history-loving heart and I had a wonderful time walking in the characters' shoes and experiencing all the sights and sounds on offer.

The story ends at a pretty perfect point, not so much a cliffhanger but a great jumping off point for Book 2. And directly following this we get a sneak peek of Book 2, which really interested me as we get to see Morgan enter the story again and, whenever Morgan enters the picture, you know drama will follow. The Author's Note was exactly what I like to see as well, nicely rounding out the fact vs. fiction information that I look for when reading historical fiction.

Daughter of Destiny is a wonderful book for those looking for further development of Guinevere's story as well as historical fiction with some fantasy thrown in. I'm very excited to see how Book 2 progresses the story!

What Did I Think About the Cover?

It's okay. It's not the kind of cover that would have me instantly picking it up to read the back synopsis, but it does represent the story well.

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Thank you to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of Daughter of Destiny in exchange for an honest review. Read on for more about the book, the author and how to enter the tour-wide giveaway for one of two copies of Daughter of Destiny!

Praise for Daughters of Destiny 

“A gripping read that brings a wonderfully depicted Guinevere tumbling out of the shadows of myth.” – Anna Belfrage, author of The Graham Saga

“Nicole Evelina shows a deep and passionate love for the Arthurian world, and her re-weaving of the story of Guinevere and Arthur makes for enjoyable reading. With more volumes to come, if you like stories of Camelot, ancient priesthoods, magical Avalonian dreams and embattled romance, this is for you.” – John Matthews, author of ‘Arthur of Albion’ and ‘The Camelot Oracle’.

“Colorful and exciting…love all the characters. You will have a ball with this book.” – Serena Scott Thomas, actress and audio book narrator

Buy the Book

About the Author

Nicole Evelina is a St. Louis-born historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her first four books are coming out in 2016:

1. Daughter of Destiny (January 1 – This is the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view)
2. Camelot’s Queen (March 23 – The second book in the trilogy)
3. Been Searching for You (May 23 – a contemporary romantic comedy that won in the single title romance category of the 2015 Great Expectations Contest (sponsored by North Texas RWA) and the 2015 Gold Rose Contest (sponsored by Portland RWA) and is a finalist in five others.
4. Madame Presidentess (July 25 – Historical fiction about 19th century American Presidential
candidate Victoria Woodhull, the first American woman to run for President)

She hopes to have the final book in Guinevere’s Tale available in late 2016 or early 2017.

Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society, and Sirens, a group supporting female fantasy authors, as well as a member of the Romance Writers of America, Women Fiction Writers Association, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West and the Alliance of Independent Authors.

She is one of only six authors who completed the first week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness in 2014. Nicole has traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere 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.

Her website/blog is and she can be found on Twitter as well as on Pinterest, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram and Tumblr.

Giveaway Time!!

To win a paperback copy of Daughter of Destiny (Guinevere’s Tale, Book One) by Nicole Evelina please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form HERE. Two copies are up for grabs!


Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Only one entry per household.

All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion

Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Good Luck!!

Daughter of Destiny Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 8

Spotlight at Unshelfish

Tuesday, February 9

Review at Bookish
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, February 10

Review at Curling up by the Fire
Guest Post at To Read, or Not to Read

Thursday, February 11

Review at Just One More Chapter

Friday, February 12

Review at Broken Teepee
Interview at Author Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Monday, February 15

Review at Laura’s Interests
Review at The Mad Reviewer
Review at Puddletown Reviews

Tuesday, February 16

Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, February 17

Review at Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, February 18

Review & Interview at Singing Librarian Books

Friday, February 19

Review at Book Nerd

Monday, February 22

Review at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Tuesday, February 23

Review at The Baking Bookworm
Review at The Hive at Black Tea & Milk

Wednesday, February 24

Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Thursday, February 25

Review at A Literary Vacation
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Friday, February 26

Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Guest Post at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf


  1. So glad you enjoyed the book! Thanks for being part of my blog tour.

    1. Thank YOU, Nicole, for the hours of entertainment!

  2. Colleen, this books sounds intriguing! Thank you for being part of the tour.