Child of the Northern Spring: Book One of the Guinevere Trilogy
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Child of the Northern Spring: Book One of the Guinevere Trilogy (Guinevere #1)

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  1,083 ratings  ·  117 reviews

The story of a queen who deserves to become a legend-a startlingly original tale of Arthur & Guinevere

Often portrayed as spoiled, in Persia Woolley's hands Guinevere comes alive as a high-spirited, passionate woman. When she is chosen by Arthur to be his wife, Guinevere's independence wars with her family loyalty. As the wedding approaches and hints of rebellion aboun

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ebook, 450 pages
Published November 1st 2010 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published January 1st 1987)
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Marie
2.5 - 3 star read ...
Arthurian legends have held the aura of mystique for quite a few years, but the recent releases of Anna Elliott's Avalon series have helped me to quench the thirst for more stories of the period. There are several popular authors of the Arthurian genre such as Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Helen Hollick's Kingmaking series, and we also have the Guenevere novels by Rosalind Miles that I have wanted to read for awhile. Instead the opportunity came to review this reissue of anothe...more
Nikki
I really wasn't impressed by Persia Woolley's version of Guinevere's story, to begin with. The transitions between past and present were clumsily done, and this version of Guinevere wasn't anything particularly new. It reminded me very much of Mercedes Lackey's version of the story, Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit, except that this Guinevere is less of a warrior-type. They had definite similarities, though, with the deaths of their mothers, their links to Epona, etc.

However, as it developed, I came...more
Rebecca
I truly can't understand why this book appears to be out of print. I blame it on poor marketing, because I believe the book itself is incredibly compelling and the story well-knitted.

A book on King Arthur's reign from Guinevere's perspective, this story offers insight into who the mythic figures right-hand-women was, and how that influenced him. It also delves into religious beliefs common at the time, and how they play into the story. Love, loss, courage and humanity are all part of this story...more
Elaine
Woolley's trilogy is almost unknown in the U.S., which is a pity. These are sweeping, engrossing tellings of the Arthurian legend from the perspective of Guinevere. Ignore the "bodice-ripper" covers - that's how they appeared in the U.S. The British editions (Woolley is British) are gorgeous. These are books I never lend - for fear they won't come back and I'll never find them again.
Flora Bateman
This is a re-telling of the story of King Author and Guinevere told through the eyes of Guinevere. We meet Guinevere on the eve of her marriage to Author. She is a young girl who is unsure about the arranged marriage but with the urging of her father she decides to fulfill her duties instead of running from them. On the way, she reminisces about her childhood and when she first sees author.

I loved this book. I love that we are introduced to Guinevere as a young girl. We see sketches of her life...more
Blodeuedd Finland
Plot:

The story about Queen Guinevere, her childhood, and how she met and married her king Arthur.


My thoughts:

This story felt a bit truer than some as the author tried to keep the real facts in mind. The Romans have left, Saxons are invading, England, and Wales are made up from different kingdoms and under Ambrosius, Uther and no King Arthur they have a high king. Old Ways are meeting the new Christian church.


This first book was not really about Arthur yet, instead she grew up and had flashbacks,...more
N.A. Ratnayake
While "Child of the Northern Spring" is obviously very well researched, I unfortunately did not find it to be a very compelling or engaging story. The author's knowledge of Arthurian legend, characters, and history is evident - actually too evident. I certainly learned quite a bit about the time period and the historical/mythical aspects of the Arthurian world, but in my opinion the author focused too much on information and not enough on character or story. All aspects of the novel are presente...more
Staci
Nov 24, 2010 Staci rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Staci by: Sourcebooks
Shelves: 2010-reads
3 Reasons Review

I am trying out a new review format today called "3 Reasons Review". Jen from Jenny loves to read and I have chatted about coming up with a simple review format. Something with just the basics of what readers would want to know about a book. Some books do not require an in-depth analysis, yet as reviewers we still strive to get the important bits across to our readers. Therefore, the 3 Reasons, came from what Jenny and I think are most important. Didn't come up with a fancy butt...more
Linda C.
Historical fiction at its best

Persia Woolley brings Arthurian legend to life as a story grounded in reality, not fantasy. The setting is sixth century Britain when the culture of the fallen Roman Empire still exerted influence on many and the Saxon invasions provided for an ever present threat to safety of the realm.

Woolley has an eye for detail that allows her readers to be caught up in another time with characters who are vivid and lively. Guenievere is every much the fiesty Celtic tomboy prom...more
Nicole
Even had I not read the much more engaging Mists of Avalon, this novel would fall flat, and the author's claim that she is being more historical rather than writing high fantasy, doesn't make it any less so. Character development is thin. Guenevere is interesting, but not compelling or engaging. The paganism is not well integrated, and so seems forced and unbelievable. And there is no sense of a unified plot. The novel is episodic, and mainly serves to introduce a string of characters from Arthu...more
Lisa Jensen
In her lively, evocative Arthurian trilogy begun back in 1987, Persia Woolley refreshes the familiar story by telling it through the eyes of Guinevere, the teenage Celtic princess chosen by young Arthur to be his queen. This first book charts Guinevere's lengthy journey from her northern kingdom of Rheged to the southern city of Sarum to wed the High King, and concludes with the establishment of the Round Table.

When this spirited, good-humored "Gwen" finally meets her betrothed, she is relieved...more
Robin
The first half of this novel jumps back and forth in the timeline. It starts out with Gwen leaving her home to marry Arthur and while on the road, she keeps having flashbacks to her childhood. It was a little confusing at first but once I came to expect it, I actually thought it worked well.

The author obviously did her research not only of the Arthurian Legend but also of the cultures of the time period. It is saturated with cultural details of the Celts and deals with the differences between C...more
Ashley
Persia Woolley's "Child of the Northern Spring" is a different take on the Arthurian legend. "Child of the Northern Spring" is the story of Guinevere's life from the time she was a small child growing up in her family's northern kingdom all the way to just after she marries Arthur and she's him return home safely from war with the Irish. Told from Guinevere's perspective, the reader feels the loss of her mother and baby brother right along with her, as well as the loss of her first childhood lov...more
Kathleen Kelly
Child of the Morning Spring is the first in a trilogy by Persia Woolley, originally published in 1987 and reissued by Sourcebooks November 2010. For me this historical novel about the King Arthur and Guinevere legend is very informative. Sure I knew the jist of the story from watching movies and reading other books. But what I did get from this well written novel is the feelings of the characters of Guinevere, King Arthur and other people important to the tale. The story tells of Guinevere leavi...more
Sue
This is the story of the times of King Arthur told through the first person account of Guinevere. Woolley chose to create a more modern characterization of Guinevere than is usually presented, beginning with a little girl who loves horses and the outdoors, has to be coaxed into learning "girl things," and has a healthy curiosity about life and the people around her. Woolley creates a very likable and "modern" person in Guinevere without elevating her to an unrealistic super hero. Only once does...more
Heather
This was my first taste of reading anything about King Arthur and his knights and the lady Guinevere – really, I don’t know why. This book, which is the first in a trilogy about Guinevere’s life, is told in first person from Guinevere’s perspective. There were some kinks for me, mostly in the first third of the book, but overall it was quite an enjoyable read.

My first problem was the pacing of the book. I just didn’t find myself becoming interested in Guinevere’s early life as a child in her fat...more
Christie
I picked this book up for my royalty book group's Arthurian Legend theme. It is the story of Guinevere throughout her childhood and her marriage to King Arthur. The book paints a beautiful picture of England and Wales 1500 years ago. You really feel like you know Guinevere by the end of the book.

I liked many things about this book. I liked that it was more historical fiction than fantasy like other Arthurian legend books. The characters were well-drawn and very three dimensional. The book seeme...more
Amanda
Recommended for historical value, not for plot.
I really respect what Persia Woolley set out to do here. Child of the Northern Spring isn't your average Arthurian fairy-tale; instead it approaches Arthur & Guinevere as historical characters and chronicles Arthur's rise to power and the creation of the Knights of the Round Table from Guinevere's perspective. The writing is beautiful if a little too flowery at times, and I love the subtle and mysterious magic of the old religion, which replaces...more
Catherine Thompson
I first read this book more than 20 years ago, a couple of years after its original publication. I think it fired my then-latent interest in Arthurian literature, and I shall forever be grateful to Persia Woolley for that.

In this, the first of the Guinevere trilogy, Guinevere is introduced to the reader not as the fickle queen of legend but as a Celtic girl of noble blood from the northern provinces of Britain. Gwen travels from her home in Rheged (now part of North Wales) to Logres, or southern...more
Chrissy
Nov 30, 2010 Chrissy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chrissy by: Jennifer Tait
Guinevere has never been a character I enjoyed. In fact, I often find her the spoiled and nettlesome one from Arthurian legend and much like Viviane says of her in of The Mists of Avalon, a bit of a ninny. Indeed, the only version of Guinevere I have ever found myself rallying behind was Angel Colby’s adaptation on BBC’s Merlin.

In my mind (and if the adage of a man only being as strong as the woman behind him holds true), Arthur—High King and unifier of a warring Albion—would not fall in love wi...more
Annette
I can't believe I've spent lots of time writing a review and then lost it... thanx goodreads, thanx!
Okay, let's start all over again.
I liked this book. Yet, it didn't entirely satisfy me, hence I couldn't give it more than three stars.
The major problem of this book is the lack of major original plot twists. It's a pretty standard retelling, this one, made precious by the ability of the writer to give life to both characters and historical setting.
I was able to understand what kind of guy Arthur...more
Erin
I have always been a fan of Arthurian legends, so I was excited to give Child of the Northern Spring a try. Author Persia Woolley presents the tale of Guinevere, showing us the origin of the girl who would become High Queen of Britain beside Arthur.

What I really enjoyed about this book was its tone of atmosphere and realism. Those expecting a fantastical tale about Arthur will be sorely disappointed. Woolley has gone to great lengths to present as much factual history into the story as possible...more
Deborah Balsham
This was a nice, sedately-paced version of of a part of the Arthurian legend. It was well-written, with lovely descriptions of the scenery of ancient Britain. (Not really sure what I should call it.)

There are so many versions of the legends, and some of them are truly classic. The Mary Stewart books and The Once and Future King captivated me when I was young. I don't know if it is my age, experience, or the book itself, but I wasn't as entertained by this book.

It had it's charms. We got a peek...more
Naleen
I picked up Child of the Northern Spring on a whim. It was listed on amazon.com as a free book for the Kindle and I am going through a British royalty kick so I thought a story from Guinevere's perspective about King Arthur would be fun. And it was. At first.
I really enjoyed Guinevere's spunky attitude and her egalitarianish upbringing. She seems like a modern woman trapped in ancient times, a slightly anachronistic character in an anachronistic kingdom (yes, I like using the word anachronistic,...more
Amanda Kespohl
I take a very skeptical attitude to retellings of Arthurian legends. I love the legends, and in my heart I guard my perception of those majestic characters jealously. When someone comes along purporting to tell those tales, I go into it wary, expecting disappointment. However, this book, which weaves history and humanity in among the epic grandeur, utterly floored me.

The most shocking thing of all is that I always had a dim view of Guinevere in the legends. While I can understand the appeal of a...more
Kristen
It took me 2 months to read this book. At first I thought it was because I have a baby now and I only have about an hour a day to read anything at all. But I think, now that I finally finished it, it was largely because I was kind of bored with this one. It wasn't a terrible book--how can an Arthurian book really be that bad?--but it was certainly not the most gripping read I've ever experienced. I had actually read this years ago when I was still in high school, but I had completely forgotten i...more
Xenia0201
This is an interesting take on the Arthur/Guinevere tale. Woolley moves very slowly in time with this novel, since it encompasses Guinevere's early life in Rheged to her first year of marriage to Arthur. The bulk of the novel was her journey south for her wedding, interspered with childhood memories. I liked this particular story because Guinevere is not portrayed as a prissy Christian as she is in other versions. She is loyal to the old ways which would be typical of a Cumbrian. Perhaps this is...more
April
Having read The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley and having seen various movie versions of the Arthurian legend, I really liked how Guinevere was portrayed in this book — I thought it was fresh and realistic, and I enjoyed seeing Gwen for once being strong, independent, wise, and practical. She seems a far better queen here than I've ever seen her, an ideal mate for a king trying to bring together a lot of different kinds of people, religion, and ways of life — a great meld of the old an...more
Laura
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.

Overall, Child of the Northern Spring is an enthralling r...more
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“My voice was a bare rasp of fear. "In the weaving room, the women say it's never been this bad before..."
"They always say that when things get difficult," she answered softly. Then she sat up suddenly as though coming fully awake. Reaching down, she took my chin in her hand and tipped my face to look up at hers. "Remember, Gwen, no matter who says what, the important thing is to understand what needs to be done, and then do it. No matter how hard it is, or how much pain you feel. It's as simple as that, really. Once you know what you have to do, you just do it.”
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“Ah well, I suppose that's the problem with trying to make others follow your own beliefs: what starts out as spiritual ardor too often becomes arrogance and bigotry.” 6 likes
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