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Guinevere (Guinevere #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  528 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Sharan Newman has created a portrait of what Guinevere might have been like--not a cardboard character who has been both deified and vilified over the centuries, but someone who was as bound by prophecy as Arthur and whose will ultimately was not all her own.
Published (first published 1980)
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I wasn't really impressed by this book. It follows the childhood of Guinevere, and her coming of age, until she meets Arthur. It's simultaneously fantastical -- there's a unicorn involved -- and historical, with a lot of focus on returning to Roman ways, etc. More or less standard fair. Guinevere's a bit of a Mary Sue: oh so beautiful, and mild, and she doesn't know about anything as coarse as sex, and there's something about her and Epona, and Arthur falls crazily in love with her and Gawain is ...more
It's been a long time since I read this book. What I most remember was the relationship of Guinevere to her unicorn. That has stayed with me for many years. I also enjoyed reading a book about Guinevere rather than King Arthur.
This novel is the first of Sharan Newman's Guinevere trilogy and as for the others Guinevere trilogies I've read (Rosalind Miles, Nancy McKenzie, Persia Woolley) the first one is about Guinevere's childhood, her family and her meeting/marriage with Arthur.
I still don't know how is the whole series, but for now this is the first "book one" of any Guinevere series I have ever read.
It escapes readily the tomboy Guinevere clich・ Here Guinevere is simply a child, a bit spoiled, very loved by her fam
I own this because I had to read it for my freshman colloquium, all those years ago. I can't remember what I thought of it back then, although I'm sure I had to write a paper about it, which means I probably still have it....

Well, now... I can safely say I have no interest in reading the remainder of the series. There are so many superior retellings of Arthurian legend to give your time to.

Guinevere is supposed to be perfect, but it's certainly not my idea of the perfect woman, let alone the per
Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys reading about Guinevere et al.
I enjoyed reading Ms. Newman's interpretation of the story of Guinevere and Arthur. There are some new characters (for me) whom I thought added an extra twist to this story. and as a result, kept my attention tightly directed on the story. Guinevere's two best friends thoroughly entertained me. The character of Guinevere from a young child to marriageable age by the author was most different than any of the others I have read, and I liked that! I am looking forward to volume 2. 4 1/2 stars
Guinevere is a bit of a Mary Sue (though I guess impossibly beautiful is pretty par for the course), and the thing with the unicorn is a little silly, but Newman's Guinevere books have some of my favorite characters in all Arthuriana.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have loved everything Sharan Newman has written!
I tend to like retellings of classic tales, especially fairy tales, so a retelling of the legend of Arthur through Guinevere's eyes is very appealing to me. I enjoy seeing the legend in the context of actual English history: the changing of a ruling society descended from Rome, battling for supremacy with both the native Britons and the invading Germanic tribes. Other series have used this same treatment (Jack Whyte's books, for example), but Sharan Newman's version is fairly tame, almost young ...more
May 20, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm a huge sucker for retellings of the legend of Arthur. And rightly so, in the past 15 or 20 years, there have been some amazing takes on this very old story ( e.g. Marion Zimmer Bradley's phenomenal 'Mists of Avalon). But this go-round is less than impressive. This felt very much like a YA version of what can be a most complex tale with mature themes. 'Guinevere' is too simple, too immature to be considered anything other than appropriate for young teens. In every version of this story I've c ...more
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What a strange little book!!! Have read a lot of Sharan Newman's Catherine LeVendeur mysteries, written much more recently than this story. It deals with Guinevere as a very young girl, who meets Arthur and marries him at the end of the book. It deals with her as the daughter of a "Roman" family, who want the old Roman ways to be restored --- and Guinevere wanders through life as a golden child, really unaware of the world, how protected her part in it is, and finds a unicorn!!! Don't remember e ...more
Nov 29, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is a fantasy based on the original story. Guinevere as portrayed by Newman is a shallow individual from a wealthy family who focuses only on herself and her needs. Her parents and brothers pamper her. The one redeeming feature of her character is her bonding with the unicorn. This portion of the tale was sensitive and well done, a delight to those who love the unicorn myth like myself. In addition, there is a priestess who attempts to sacrifice Guinevere to her goddess, the unicorn who love ...more
Oct 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in Guinevere's life, believers of unicorns & magic
Recommended to Jennifer by: no one...I discovered it myself as a teen.
Just finished re-reading this one. Still like it. Yes, it centers around Guinevere life, starting as a child up until her wedding night to Arthur...ouch! Much involves her special relationship with a Unicorn. I had forgotten how many other characters lives [Gawain, Geraldus, Merlin (who despises Guinevere), Arthur (of course), Timon & Gaia, & more!] are described so one feels like they are your friends as well as Guin's. An entertaining read.
I am now into the 2nd book of the series, The
Mysticism and history

Guinivere is normally vilified. This first book in a trilogy reveals her life, and how her character was formed. The unicorn was interesting, and her only trusted friend growing up. Merlin is portrayed as a man torn and in need of family. Arthur becomes less legend and more human. The Saxons are a vital part of why Arthur wins Guin. Good start.

This just wasn't good as I expected it to be. The characters were never fully developed and the plot just plodded along. I was disappointed in this novel since I enjoyed Newman's Catherine LeVendeur mysteries very much.
I can't really say much other than it's an interesting take on her legend. Since I've read everything I can get my hands on with regards to variations of Arthurian legends, I have to say that this was very interesting. Because it is broken up into a series, I can't wait to read what happens next!
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Newman remade the story of King Arthur and Guinevere set in England several hundred years after Roman leaves the island. Ghosts, a unicorn, and some magic are just some of the twists added by Newman. Of course there are two more installments in this tale. Can't wait to dive in.
Oct 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arthurian
Read this and the sequels around date of publication & loved this take on the Arthurian stories. Just enough magic to make it legendary.
Reread 2016- very good. Nice mix of realistic period detail and fantasy with the unicorn.
Jul 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a wonderfully intimate look into the life of Guinevere as a young girl. The author brings in fantastic historical details layered with the mixing of Roman and Celtic cultures. It was a fascinating read that I would recommend.
Natalie Joan
I am somewhat addicted to anything Arthurian. I like what Newman has done to the world. For the most part. It's new and interesting, if a bit odd. But I'm not sure I really like her Guinevere.
Kristine Kinney
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I just wish there was more to read.
Jul 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A novel about King Arthur's Guinevere. Very mythical (there is unicorn in it - I should tell my mom about this one).
Doris Raines
This. Is. And. Extranoary. Book. I. Love. It. Doris.
I don't remember. It's been too long. I'll have to reread it to write an appropriate review.
Maddy froehlich
rated it liked it
Jun 09, 2010
rated it it was ok
Oct 02, 2009
rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2013
Doug Clark
rated it really liked it
Nov 08, 2012
rated it really liked it
Nov 28, 2014
South Lorain
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Jul 07, 2016
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Dec 05, 2014
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Sharan Newman is a medieval historian and author. She took her Master’s degree in Medieval Literature at Michigan State University and then did her doctoral work at the University of California at Santa Barbara in Medieval Studies, specializing in twelfth-century France. She is a member of the Medieval Academy and the Medieval Association of the Pacific.

Rather than teach, Newman chose to use her e
More about Sharan Newman...

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