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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  3,089 ratings  ·  170 reviews
Merewyn has grown up in savage tenth-century Cornwall - a lonely girl, sustained by stubborn courage and by pride in her descent from the great King Arthur. Rumon, a young French prince, has always dreamt of finding the idyllic island of hearsay and legend, Avalon. He gladly leaves his home in Provence but his hopes are dashed when his ship is wrecked off the Cornish coast ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 22nd 2007 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published January 1st 1965)
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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,089 ratings  ·  170 reviews

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A historical novel based on events that occurred in the 10th Century in England, Iceland, and Greenland, Avalon did not live up to my expectations of Anya Seton. The plot of a bit plodding and fairly unsophisticated. However, I did enjoy getting a glimpse of this time period, which is not one that is encountered that often. I now have a better understanding of how the very important Norman conquest came to be and why the Normans came to sit on the throne of England.

The story traces a Cornish gir
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful historical saga of the tenth century. Rumon, descendaant of Charlemagne and King Arthur journeys from his native Provence to England, which is being torn apart by rifts between Christian and pagan, and violent invasions and raids by Vikings and Danes.
He meets the beautiful and valiant Merewyn, in Cornwall, but is bewitched by the evil Queen Alfreda, who after Edgar's death has Edgar's older son Edward assassinated, and replaced by Alfreda's own son Ethelred.
Merewyn is later captured
Sarah Mac was okay, but not recommended unless you're a hardcore Seton fan.

-spoilers ahead-

The story begins with Merewyn & Rumon's time at the court of Edgar & his son Edward (roughly 970-80 AD). The secret of Merewyn's non-royal birth is a deathbed vow that Rumon carries only by accident; he's a petulant, sanctimonious whinger who thinks entirely too much of his worth to God's creation. Merewyn was more likable, though something of a dim bulb, so she doesn't have much personality besides
Very enjoyable. It was nice taking a travel through history in a period of time not so frequently written about. The up and down see saw of Merewyn's and Ruman's star crossed love was heartbreaking at times. I don't want to say more to give out the end.

It isn't Katherine by a long shot, but still a good read, and I would recommend to any lover of historical fiction.
Krista Baetiong Tungol
Avalon is my first Anya Seton read, and it is set in 10th century England during the prevalent Viking raids and the ever-present discord between Saxons and Danes. It tells the story of a young nobleman from Provence who has a vision of Avalon, and a Cornish girl who belatedly learns about her disreputable pedigree. The two meet by chance (after the former gets stranded off the Cornish coast on his way to King Edgar’s court), and together they travel to England, where their lives radically change ...more
Mandy Moody
Apr 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Avalon was my 3rd Seton novel, and my least favorite of the three.
Even a sub-par Seton is a good read, though :)
Merewyn and Rumon, both orphans of royal descent, are on their way to the court of King Edgar. Merewyn plans to live with her aunt, Abbess of Romsey. Rumon hopes to be given a place at court.
But Rumon carries a secret - the truth of Merewyns birth. She is not the descendant of Arthur, as she was always told by her mother, but the product of rape by a viking raider. Her parentage will u
Based on this novel, I'm not sure why Anya Seton has such a reputation as a great historical writer. This book was dull and not-at-all exciting.

Merewyn at 14 thinks she's a descendant of King Arthur. She finds a 19-year-old man from France, Rumon, wandering around on the heaths of Cornwall. She's just made a pilgrimage to appeal for her mother's life. He's voyaging to the current king's court, being obsessed with Avalon and King Arthur's court. Merewyn's mother dies and Rumon has pledged to her
This historical novel, set mainly in 10th century Britain, tells the story of a young Cornish girl and a Breton knight, who become caught up in English politics and Viking raids. As usual for Seton, it's well researched and convincing, and I liked the first half or so all right, when Merewyn and Rumon are caught up in English politics and the machinations of beautiful Queen Alfrida. Later, though, it became too episodic, skipping years at a time and interrupting character arcs; often, the charac ...more
Susan Pearson
May 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beth Sponzilli
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-ages
This is not about the fabled Avalon, or King Arthur, but referenced to through out the story. Another great story by Anya Seton. She just does not write anything bad! This book travels from England to Iceland, Greenland, and back. The Norseman and their raids on England are woven through the story as two main characters Merewyn and Rumon, go on their journeys seeking each other. I haven’t read of this location in any time period.. thought it was interesting.
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book surprised me. After looking at a lot of reviews on Goodreads, I was a little hesitant from reading it, because many people found this book to be disappointing, and I could have agreed during the first fifty or so pages of the book, which were kind of awkwardly written and cliché. But after that I started to really enjoy the book.

The book tells the story of fictional Merewyn, a poor young girl from Cornwall who has been told by her mother her entire life that she is a descendent of Kin
Dec 26, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can't honestly bash on the woman who wrote "Katherine" but I didn't really like this book. By the end of the book I felt like I didn't even know Merewyn. She was so fickle and confusing. And Rumon was so conflicting. I don't think I liked either of them. Well I liked Rumon at the end. You can tell the extensive research that went into this book and I found that interesting, but the plot was ineffective. I felt like I was in three different plots by the end: with Alfrida in the beggining and th ...more
Coleen Dailey
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set at the turn of the first millenium, this story is about Britain, Vikings and early kings. Arthur is already a legend by the time of this book. It had travel to Iceland, Greenland and the "New World" as well as intrigue and politics of England trying to become and remain a united nation in the face of attack by Vikings. I have read one other book by this author -Katherine about Katherine Swynford and have enjoyed them both. I would highly recommend.
Nov 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have long owned this Anya Seton book, but never read it before. Her Katherine is one of my all time favorite books. This book follows Rumon, a French prince with an insatiable wanderlust looking for the sacred Isle of Avalon, and has him cross paths with a young Cornish girl whose mother claims they are descended from sling Arthur. A deathbed confession and Rumons promise to the dying woman prevent his ever telling her of her true parentage as he conveys her to her Aunt Merewyn, a nun in Shaft ...more
Nick Phillips
This was a father's day present last year from my younger daughter, she bought it for me partly because we live in Avalon (though not necessarily the one sought by Rumon in the novel), partly because my office window overlooks the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey and partly because she was at the time attending a school named for St Dunstan. With all these connections I had an immediate affinity with the story but that of itself would not have been sufficient should the writing be poor or the characte ...more
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ami Haid
Jan 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If ever been a book has been written that perfectly captures the human experience, then Avalon is it. Anya Seton is able to write a story about impossible love, and longing, of pride, and mistakes and the consequences we pay for them for the rest of our lives.
The story is centered around the characters Rumon and Merewyn, and their love for one another (albeit at different points in their lives), and all the places this love or lack of it takes them.
The story may not exclusively be a romance no
Deborah Pickstone
A re-read of an old favourite. Anya Seton really was an astonishingly good writer of HF in her era. I read everything she had written in my early teens and have re-read most of them at least once since. Avalon is one of my three favourites of hers - the others are Devil Water and Green Darkness. In fact, my life-long love of HF stems from the novels of Anya Seton and Margaret Irwin. If you have never read either of these writers, do give them a try!
International Cat Lady
Meh. This book was okay, and it did hold my interest all the way through... however, there was a huge emphasis on Catholicism and Catholic guilt that was awfully heavy-handed. The part of the book where one of the main characters lives in Iceland and Greenland (and for a time gives up her religion) was the most engaging for me, as it wasn't beating me over the head with religious issues. I don't mind religious characters, but I don't enjoy religious books, and this was definitely the latter. Als ...more
Dec 28, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Phillipa Gregory hit the nail on the head when she said Seton sacrifices story for factual accuracy. This was an erratic novel when compared to Seton's Katherine. Characters who were set up to be extremely important faded out of the story for long periods of time only to resurface briefly and in unsubstantial ways. I enjoyed the novel for its education on Viking culture and explorations, but this was far from a perfect novel and I would point readers to Katherine if they are looking for a solid ...more
Nov 08, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read this book because I really enjoyed Anya Seton's book "Katherine". I didn't like this one nearly as well. Toward the end I just didn't care anymore what happened, I just wanted it to be over. I also had a hard time with the pronunciation of the names of some of the people and places. I wasn't sure how some names were pronounced and I would get bogged down in the story trying to figure out how they should sound. It wasn't the worst book I've ever read, but it was far from the bes ...more
This book by Anya Seton is based on actual people and events in the 10th century before the conquest of England. It is the story of Marewynn, a young girl in Cornwall who has always believed she is a descendant of King Arthur. It follows her life from Cornwall to Iceland and Greenland and back to England. It is also about Rumon a young man from France of royal birth. These two will cross paths at different times in their lives and see many changes.
turns out it is sn older book -1964- which might explain the style. I found it plodding and frequently dull. the characters had such potential but the author never let them take off. there were plenty of fascinating locales but she didn't take advantage of them to create a compelling narrative that explored new places and cultures. the story line is dated and stale.
Well this was certainly no Katherine. Rumon irritated the heck out of me, not a strong enough male romantic lead. The era was interesting and it was worth reading.
WHAT A BOOK!! Another masterpiece by Anya Seton and I must re-read Katherine some day.
Sarah Marcotte
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The novel is set between the years 972 to 1,000 A.D. in Cornwall, England, Iceland, and Greenland. The main characters are Merewyn and Rumon, whose lives intersect and then split off throughout the course of the story. When they first meet, Merewyn is on a journey to a holy well to pray for her sick mother, Breaca. Rumon, having sailed from France, and then shipwrecked on the coast of Cornwall, is trying to find his way to the English court to lend his services to his relative, King Edgar I. Aft ...more
Feb 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What does 3 stars mean? It was good, it was OK, it was fine, I'd recommend it to someone interested in historical fiction about England in years that only have 3 digits.

Another 3-star novel about 3-digit England is Julian Rathbone's The Last English King, which starts where this book leaves off: Avalon takes place during the reigns of Edgar, Edward, and Ethelred the Unready, while The Last English King starts with the death of Edward the Confessor, and continues through the Norman conquest. Alth
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Virtues of Frustrated Love

I read this book when I was very young and it made a deep impression on me, not so much because of its historical flavor, but for the structure of the romance. I'd never quite read another book like it. It was a series of missed chances, a succession of dark nights in which two ships passed each other by.

Merewyn falls in love with Rumon, but he doesn't return her love. Then he falls in love with her, but by this time, she doesn't care for him. And then they switch
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Anya Seton (January 23, 1904 (although the year is often misstated to be 1906 or 1916) - November 8, 1990) was the pen name of the American author of historical romances, Ann Seton.

Ann Seton was born in New York, New York, and died in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. She was the daughter of English-born naturalist and pioneer of the Boy Scouts of America, Ernest Thompson Seton and Grace Gallatin Seton-
“There was no such thing as pure happiness. How many years it took to learn that! Always some dark fretted thing which unbalanced the ease one had laboriously found.” 1 likes
“The knights were disgusted. They said that all that fiddle-faddle was well enough for saints, or might have been a thousand years ago, but the Lord Jesus would certainly be the first to command Christians to kill pagans. Rumon announced that he did not think so.” 1 likes
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