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Guenevere, Queen of the Summer Country (Guenevere #1)

3.57  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,290 Ratings  ·  193 Reviews
Camelot--a vibrant pageant of love, heartbreak, hatred, jealousy, revenge, and desire--as seen through the eyes of its queen, Guenevere
Raised in the tranquil beauty of the Summer Country, Princess Guenevere has led a charmed and contented life, until the sudden, violent death of her mother, Queen Maire, leaves the Summer Country teetering on the brink of anarchy. Only the
Hardcover, 424 pages
Published February 2nd 1999 by Crown (first published January 1st 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nov 09, 2014 Britt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, I hated this book. Now, I don't know TOO much about Arthurian legend, but I know enough to know what needs to be known, and from what I've learned I was intrigued by it. I thought this book would further propel me into the legend...I thought wrong.

I found the characters to be disgusting. Merlin was portrayed as a crazy, sex-obsessed old man, and Arthur was portrayed as weak. Guenevere, however, was supposed to be thought of as perfect by us, from the way the author spoke about her. That's p
Nov 30, 2007 Rachel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What an awful book. I nearly always finish any book I start, but this one I only made it into a hundred pages. The author has a very clear agenda - that men and religion work hand in hand to suppress women both sexually and politically. I don't mind reading books with a bias if they are well written and make you think, but this novel is pedantic and heavy handed. The characters were stereo-typical and seemed created to make a point. The northern knights who serve men are dirty drinking, loutish, ...more
Erica Hopper
Jun 26, 2014 Erica Hopper rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, 2013
Let's get to the point: I really disliked this book. I was all for giving it a go when I picked it up at my bookstore and very excited to read it. My reasons for buying and reading it are as follows:

1) I was going through Merlin withdrawals which translate to withdrawal of Katie McGrath as Morgana because, really, Merlin was horribly written.

I mean, look at Katie McGrath, she is a Queen in my book.

2) The book's cover has John William Waterhouse's Ophelia on it. Basically, if you put Waterhouse p
I was severely disappointed with this book.
When I started I was excited to read about the Arthurian legend from Guenevere's point of view, but Miles pushed it too far. Yes, Guenevere is supposed to be a strong, independent queen, but it was presented in the worst light possible. I'll go as far as saying Guenevere wasn't even presented as independent, merely as a naive young girl furiously wanting to be. Her desperation, prayers, continuous complaints, and intense mood swings almost pushed me of
Aug 11, 2011 Jayne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
And as much as I had really really really wanted to enjoy it, I hate it. I don't think I got past the first 10 chapters.

Plot: Seriously, your standard fare about the Arthur legends. The "difference" here was that it was told from Guenevere's perspective, but there is something in the back of my mind telling me that another author had already done this. Marion Bradley Zimmerman? I think?

Characters: Childish. All of them. I don't mind characters having a childlike quality, but I don't think ther
Nicole (Reading Books With Coffee)
Oct 01, 2011 Nicole (Reading Books With Coffee) rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Arthurian legend
The only book about Arthurian legend was The Mists Of Avalon, which is one of my favorite books of all-time. I was expecting something very similar to The Mists Of Avalon, so I suppose I was disappointed when this book didn't live up to what I thought it would be.

I didn't like this book as much as I thought I thought I would- in fact, I didn't like it all. While I like the fact that the book focused on Guenevere, I found her to be such an unsympathetic character. It was clear that we were suppo
Apr 26, 2012 Michelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really appreciated the perspective of Guenevere coming from a long line of strong, warrior queens from the Summer County. However, Guenevere didn't live up to her heritage and seemed weak and wishy-washy to me. Being able to hear her thoughts, as she went back and forth between loving Arthur and later Lancelot, only strengthens the wishy-washy aspect to her character. Also, random sexual scenes didn't really add to the progress of the novel and seemed unnecessary. The 'bad' characters were bad ...more
I love Arthurian legend and I so wanted this to be a proper sweeping epic, a beautiful retelling, fleshing out the ancient stories. This is what you'd hope for from a historian-turned author, isn't it? Based on my admittedly limited readings of the "original" (for want of a better word) texts, this does draw significantly upon the legends. The scene between Lancelot and Guenevere at Dolorous Garde, for example, has clearly been lifted from de Troyes' Lancelot: The Knight of the Cart, which I am ...more
Oct 13, 2009 Holly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i think there are better Authurian legend books out there. This is a book about redemption & forgiveness set in the time of King Authur. The familiar characters are probably not portrayed as you expect. Merlin is a spiteful, vengeful, sex crazed old man. Not wise at all. So is he a Druid? A Christian? I'm not sure. Authur is a puppet of Merlin. He can't make a decision w/o him. And the knights & the rules of chivalry. Were the knights of this time really like this? I always pictured the ...more
Sarah Beth
Jun 22, 2012 Sarah Beth rated it it was ok
I really thought I was going to enjoy this book. Marion Zimmer Bradley obviously set the bar too high for me in terms of Arthurian novels, and this novel fell far, far short. The novel is told from Guenevere’s point of view but the narration is stilted and everything felt very forced. The novel jumped randomly forward in time – for example Guenevere and Arthur have a son named Amir, and in the next chapter he’s seven years old and then is killed. I almost stopped reading this just because the ch ...more
Aug 30, 2008 Amber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story. I love different POV books. I was worried it would be overly feminist considering the autor's non-fiction titles, but it was great. Guenevere is a character that's rarely fully fleshed out and I felt like this was a plausible alternative to the traditional tale. Looking forward to the rest of the trilogy.
Apr 10, 2007 amy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: goodreads
Wonderful twist on the old tale of Guenvevere, King Arthur's queen. She is a queen in her own fact a daughter from a long line of queens of an old realm ruled by. Arthur's rule of Camelot was hard won and marrying Guenevere gave him credence to rule the people of the country.

I had this book for a long time on my TBR shelves but I finally read it during Plum's What to Read in Oct. which was folk and fairy tales. Actually I wasn't sure if the Arthur legends had any basis in reality so I googled it and found that historians don't know either; they can only tell you about how long the legend has been around and guess at its origins. Fascinating really as the legend is so popular and ubiquitous.
So as to the book itself: Not bad. I did get sick of certain words like "othe
May 28, 2013 Dana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, that went downhill fast.

First, let it be known that unlike some other reviews on here, I didn't give this book a low rating because Guenevere has these so called "horrible morals" or has slept around or whatever else people have claimed makes her unlikable. Main characters are allowed to be unlikable if that's what the author has intended. If you've read any "King Arthur", Guenevere does sleep with Lancelot. She is the fall of Camelot (inadvertently). She isn't the kind of person you want
Lydia Presley
In Guenevere, Queen of the Summer Country by Rosalind Miles we about the old Author legend from the viewpoint of Princess (Queen) Guenevere. More depth is given in this story then normal in stories about Arthur to Guenevere and her mother's kingdom.

There were a few things I did enjoy about this book. When viewed at as a fantasy novel there were all the ingredients that make a good one. Light magic and dark magic. Twists and turns, betrayals and true love. It was all there and the writing was goo
Though I liked parts of it, it is an Arthurian legend after all, there is enough that bothers me about the book to stop me from continuing the series. Her writing style itself isn’t bad, but most of the characters are just entirely too flat to care about. The crazies are just too crazy, the zealous too zealous, the pathetic too pathetic. It drove me crazy, she really pushes it out there too, like, it isn’t just intricacies in their characters that make them a little annoying, but huge sweeping g ...more
Jul 31, 2007 Kelly rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Arthurian lit fans (who are women)
This was on the good side of pretty okay. Again, Gwen comes off much better here than she does usually, since these books are mostly from her point of view. The writing is pretty good and very lovely. Very descriptive. The characters are very realistic and she does a great job of bringing you into the story. I was really pleasantly surprised by this book. I mean, it's still middle brow, comforting fiction, but its a pretty good example of it. I wasn't motivated to read the other ones, somehow, b ...more
Nov 07, 2009 Stefanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you think you know the story of Camelot, think again! Rosalind Miles will have your head spinning as she weaves her own tale of love and betrayal. Who is right? Who is wrong? Perhaps Guenevere is not so innocent, Lancelot not so shallow, and Arthur not so saintly as we have let ourselves believe. Perhaps the villainess is not the one The Mists of Avalon has proposed, but another whose evil is rooted in her dark and damaging past. Perhaps this legend's true tragedy lies in its utter lack of vi ...more
Aug 04, 2014 Karen rated it did not like it
Well, only made it halfway through. Although the concept was cool with Gwen being the pagan instead of her usual role as Christian, and the evil uncle, I just didn't like the writing style. It took forever for anything to happen, and the overuse of the exclamation point really got to me. Merlin should not be yelling all the time!!!!! So there. I also didn't like the use of italics for everyone's thoughts and the changing of perspective got to me. It wasn't even every other chapter from a differe ...more
Mar 08, 2015 Katie rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
This book was interesting, but it seemed like allllll the characters (both male and female) would burst into tears at the drop of a hat. I haven't read the original story, and maybe these characters were supposed to be set in a more enlightened time where men and women freely showed their emotions, but some of the tears just seemed a bit extreme. They cried when they were happy, sad, in love, and everything in between. You name it. I find it hard to believe that seasoned warriors would just spon ...more
Victoria Murata
I love the subject matter--anything Arthurian, and I've read a lot from other authors. This book interested me in that it was more focused on Guenevere and mostly told from her point of view. There was still a lot about Arthur, Merlin and all the knights of the round table, and of course, Lancelot. I also liked the conflict of the old religion and Christianity, although I think this aspect could have been developed more. It probably comes out in more detail in the following two books. Yes, this ...more
Jun 27, 2014 Beth rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-books
I had a hard time rating this book. Initially, I found the story irritating. It seemed like a lot of "Arthur, oh Arthur" and hyperbolic descriptions of love. How irritating. Then, things started to get more sad and complicated and I began to get interested. I usually dislike it when a story becomes sad, but in this case it added a dimension that was more engaging.

I liked it that this book adds new elements to the tale of Arthur and Guenevere that were new to me ( as is always the case in the re
Ashlee Willis
When I read "Guenevere," I just completely fell in love with Rosalind Miles. She knows how to spin a tale. Her Guenevere trilogy has battles, kidnappings, secrets, deceit, hatred, death, redemption, passion, and the best kind of fairytale love. Miles takes her readers into the world she has created, and it is a wonderful experience! This honestly may be my favorite Arthurian retelling yet.
Mar 08, 2008 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up while I was browsing in a bookstore in London. I can't get enough of the Arthurian legend and this certainly was told from a different perspective. It does paint Guenevere in a different light. I thought the book (and the two that follow it) are a good read; probably not the best Arthurian material I've read, but still good enough to re-read. =)
Sep 01, 2014 Jams rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I made it to page 190 of this book and just couldn't bring myself to finish. I am really disappointed. Selling it back to the bookstore ASAP. I don't normally quit reading books when I'm more than 100 pages in but I really wasn't enjoying it and I don't see the point of reading something I don't enjoy at this stage of my life.
May 08, 2009 Meg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so slow in the beginning--- and awkwardly written. I was ready to put it down, but I love stories about King Arthur, so I stuck with it. Nothing thrilling. Nothing new. I would not recommend the book unless you enjoy the story.
Oct 15, 2014 Windy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Decided to give up on this. Whilst I don't mind an alternative take on a legend, this book had unrecognisable characters: Guenevere the petulant teenager, Merlin the dirty old man.
Betty Strohecker
Rosalind Miles has created a wonderful Arthurian trilogy beginning with the story of Guenevere, leading a contented life in the Summer Country until the death of her mother threatens to destroy her kingdom and claim to the throne. Only an alliance with Arthur would bring security to her life and kingdom. This novel tells Guenevere's personal story in depth as well as her meeting and growth of a relationship with Arthur. However, evil abounds and particularly makes its presence known through the ...more
Jessica Padgett
It was interesting while I was reading it. It wasn't a book that I was constantly thinking about and wanting to read. So it took me a little longer to read than normal books of that length. It was definitely a different take on the Arthur stories I knew but it still had things that connected back so that it didn't seem to completely betray everything. Either I just didn't know about some of the family relations of different knights or they changed some but it made the world a little smaller with ...more
Jul 09, 2009 natalie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: can-t-finish
Let's see. Christians hate women and sex and believe life is about suffering. Women should rule the world. I get it. What else? Merlin is a pimp. I can't read anymore.
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Rosalind Miles is an author born and raised in England and now living in both Los Angeles and Kent, England. She has written both works of fiction and non-fiction. As a child, Miles suffered from polio, and had to undergo several months of treatment. After being accepted to a junior women's college, Miles acquired a working knowledge of Latin and Greek, along with developing her life-long love of ...more
More about Rosalind Miles...

Other Books in the Series

Guenevere (3 books)
  • The Knight of the Sacred Lake (Guenevere, #2)
  • The Child of the Holy Grail (Guenevere, #3)

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“She loved your mother', Taliesin said gently. 'This is her farewell.'

As he spoke, a chanted melody began inside the chamber, a song without words. Yet it spoke of the beauty in the heart of the flame, of the passing glory of the white bird on the wing, and the blossom of the sea spray under the shining prow. It sang of a mother with her baby, of the hard love between men and women, and the gentle rest that comes at last to all.”
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