I first read Persia Woolley’s wonderful Guinevere Trilogy back in my high school days. I LOVED the trilogy and for me it has been the definitive Arthurian series of books on which I compare everything else. While I enjoyed Mary Stewart’s Merlin Series and Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, I couldn’t help but compare them to Persia Woolley’s series and find them lacking. It has been quite awhile since I’ve read the Guinevere Trilogy (I was 14 when I first read this trilogy. Now that I think about it, it has been 18 years since I read them. This suddenly makes me feel very, very old), and reading Child of the Northern Spring again after such a long time had me worried that it couldn’t compare to the great memory I had of it.
I had no reason to worry. Child of the Northern Spring is a riveting read and just as wonderful, if not better than I remembered it. It has been long enough that I didn’t remember the entire storyline and it felt like a fresh read. Now that I’m older, I think I got more out of it than the first time I read it.
Child of the Northern Spring focuses on the character of Guinevere. Instead of being a one-dimensional character that brings down Arthur’s reign, Guinevere is a fleshed out, intriguing, three-dimensional being. Child of the Northern Spring tells the tale of when Guinevere starts her journey south to be married to King Arthur. During her journey she flashes back to key moments in her youth that have helped to shape her into a strong woman.
Guinevere is a strong, independent young woman who loves to ride horses. She is a princess of Rheged and the sole heir to the throne. She is not a pampered princess and helps to serve meals, and take care of the people in her kingdom. After reaching marriageable age, Guinevere is beset by suitors. She accepts Author’s proposal and on her way south, wonders what kind of man she is going to marry and what her future will include.
The story is set roughly about one hundred years after the Romans have left Britain. The varying kingdoms each have their own king and overall are under the rule of the “Great King,” King Arthur. King Uther had recently died and Arthur became the out of the King. There are factions against him and Arthur is trying to solidify the British kingdoms against their common enemy invaders, the Saxons and the Irish.
Also problematic is that Britain has a variety of religions at this point including the “old religion" that includes Druids, Merlin, and the Lady of the Lake, and the growing new religion, Christianity. The religions clash and a strong leader is needed to ensure religious freedom for all Britons.
Child of the Northern Spring may be a tale of legendary figures, but it includes much historical detail of Britain during the time after the Romans. It is Arthurian legend told through Guinevere’s point of view.
Overall, Child of the Northern Spring is an enthralling read with fascinating three-dimensional portrayals of Arthurian legendary characters set in a historical accurate Britain. The romance is also apparent between Arthur and Guinevere, and if I remember correctly, the romance only gets better as the series continues on. I can’t wait to read the next two novels in the series again!
Child of the Northern Spring has been released a couple of times in the past, but for some reason, was sadly out of print in recent years. Sourcebooks has reprinted Child of the Northern Spring and plans to release the next two books in the series next year. The reprinted version looks beautiful and is a trade paperback edition (versus the mass market edition from another publisher that I read in the 1990’s.)
I am very excited that Persia Woolley will be doing an author interview on my blog on Monday, November 22nd. Please return on the 22nd to learn more about Ms. Woolley, Child of the Northern Spring, and the Guinevere Trilogy.
Book Source: Advance Review Copy from Sourcebooks. Thank-you!