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Child of the Northern Spring: Book One of the Guinevere Trilogy [Kindle Edition]

Persia Woolley
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"An absorbing portrait of the Arthurian age."

-San Francisco Chronicle

Among the first to look at the story of Camelot through Guinevere's eyes, Woolley sets the traditional tale in the time of its origin, after Britain has shattered into warring fiefdoms. Hampered by neither fantasy nor medieval romance, this young Guinevere is a feisty Celtic tomboy who sees no reason why she must learn to speak Latin, wear dresses, and go south to marry that king. But legends being what they are, the story of Arthur's rise to power soon intrigues her, and when they finally meet, Guinevere and Arthur form a partnership that has lasted for 1500 years.

This is Arthurian epic at its best-filled with romance, adventure, authentic Dark Ages detail, and wonderfully human people.

Praise for Persia Woolley's Guinevere Trilogy

"Original...accurate in detail...Child of the Northern Spring is rich and sweet."

-New York Times

"Vivid...dramatic...once again we are captivated by the magic of the legend that has long fed our appetite for pageantry and romantic adventure."

-Washington Post

"Vividly re-creates sixth-century Britain in the throes of change...Child of the Northern Spring portrays a sensitive young woman who will appeal to modern readers."

-Publishers Weekly

"Richly textured, evoking the sights and sounds of castle and countryside, the qualities of knight and servant. Highly recommended."

-Library Journal

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The standout opening volume of Woolley's Guinevere trilogy, first published in 1987, describes the Celtic princess's childhood in loving, sensuous detail with an uncannily accurate historical eye for day-to-day details. As Guinevere comes of age to marry Arthur, the recently crowned high king of Britain, Woolley does a marvelous job of portraying the political upheaval of the time. Despite the struggle between Celtic and Roman culture, Guinevere finds herself working with Arthur to unify a divided country and repel the onslaughts of Saxon invaders and rebellious kings. The sharply delineated cast will be familiar to any fan of Arthuriana, though many characters get new twists. While hardly the first book to retell these myths from a woman's perspective, this is an engrossing and satisfying addition to the canon. (Nov.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


The writing was sophisticated, the characters stem from legendary stories and there was enough action and romance to keep readers engaged. (Palmer's Picks for Reading 20101108)

Guinevere is bold and strong, a true heroine in every sense of the word. Guinevere truly gets a rework here. Rather than being the wishy-washy fair-headed maiden of the romantic legend, she is a formidable Queen. (Queen of Happy Endings 20101118)

An enthralling read with fascinating three-dimensional portrayals of Arthurian legendary characters set in a historical accurate Britain. (Laura's Reviews 20101118)

This is quality storytelling that has stood the test of time, and I look forward to seeing the other two volumes in this trilogy back in print. (Historical Novels Reviews 20101123)

Fans of the Arthurian legends will appreciate and love this re-telling. (Debbie's Book Bag 20101129)

It is evident from the beginning that Woolley took her time researching the history of the time period as she goes into extraordinarily vivid description. Her characters come to life. (Rundpinne 20101201)

The world of Arthur and Guinevere was masterfully created. (The Maiden's Court 20101201)

eeing developments through the eyes of Guinevere... gave the story an entirely different feel, rhythm, and emphasis. (Apprentice-Writer 20101206)

Persia Woolley delivers in Child of the Northern Spring... it has garnered itself a spot in my permanent collection. (Read All Over Reviews )

Every little detail was so spot on and it was very impressive. You feel as if you are a part of it. (Books Like Breathing )

Woolley brings light to the to this time period and she paints vivid images of what life was like at the time of the 'Celtic Renaissance' when the many Celtic tribes revolted against marauding Anglo-Saxons. (Books by the Willow Tree )

Product Details

  • File Size: 1833 KB
  • Print Length: 557 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark; Reprint edition (November 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0042JU7RQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,489 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
I finished reading all 3 books, back-to-back within 5 days a couple weeks ago. I laughed out loud, cried my heart out and cheered Guinevere, Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table onwards in their quest for honor, truth and civility.

Child covers topics I'd not thought of before (even after reading heaps of stories about Avalon, Merlin, Excalibur, & more for over 40 years!) Who was Gwen before she married? What of her father and their relationship, their kingdom? Horses? Her love of horses is right up front and center. I almost stood up and dusted my boots off it was so real! When she and Arthur first meet, what happens? They end up racing their horses to see who wins! Now that's my kind of story! A fun, realistic, tough and intelligent Gwen. And the historical detail gives the story its deep roots of stability.

The trilogy continues with stories that describe what it was like to run a kingdom with these characters, how they establish the "Knights of the Round Table", and how they defend the people of the realm. As the years unfold - you see that no matter what shortcomings there may be, Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot support each other with a depth of soul that helps them rule a land together, in harsh times & good, to unite a divided Britain.

Persia's attention to historical details of this period is backed by "eleven years of research," she told an audience recently at the local bookstore (Copperfields-Sebastopol, CA) during "An Evening with King Arthur." This lady is a walking, talking Arthurian library!

Live long and prosper Queen Persia!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On the Fence March 8, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
You know, I'm on the fence about this historical novel. I understand that the author is trying to ground the myths with the likely history. But . . . I'm not sure we want to ground the myths. It's somehow sad to try to bring Merlin, Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot down to size. I like what she's done with Morgan le Fay. But, I'm skeptical about some historical ideas. For instance: stirrups. I thought it was Charlemagne who was the first European to get military advantage by adding stirrups to his cavalry's saddles.

This book is adequately well written, and somewhat compelling, but it isn't mesmerizing. It isn't magical. So, if you're in the camp who loved Mary Stewart's Crystal Cave you'll feel that this fell short. But, if you wish the stories would square with some reality, this book may be for you.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Guenevere ever! October 27, 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This trilogy by Persia Woolley, which includes Child of the Northern Spring, Queen of the Summer Stars, and The Legend in Autumn, is well worth reading. Among the plethora of feminine centric Arthur retellings, I thought this trilogy was second only to The Mists of Avalon, which is the best Arthurian novel I've read, period. Neither a simpering bauble like Marion Zimmer Bradley's queen, nor a bitter shrew, as she is depicted in Rosalind Miles' trilogy, the High Queen in this series is a strong woman, bold, intelligent, compassionate, and well worth the love of two legendary heros. My only complaint with the character is this: Woolley saw fit to make her Guenevere homely, not the great beauty of legend, and Guenevere is supposed to be the fairest of the fair. Otherwise, this trilogy gets my highest recommendation. It is much better than the other Guenevere trilogies out there (by Miles and Newman). If you like this one, you might also enjoy Queen of Camelot by Nancy McKenzie.
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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Child of the Northern Spring October 29, 2010
This is the first book in a trilogy. I have never read anything by this author before and I liked the writing of this book. It reminded me of Phillipa Gregory, one of my favorite authors. This book was about Guinevere and her life and legend. It was interesting to read about Guinevere's family and childhood; that was something that didn't happen in Morte D'Arthur, which I read in college. Guinevere was a tough female character and I liked that about her. I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction. The writing was sophisticated, the characters stem from legendary stories and there was enough action and romance to keep readers engaged.

This book was sent to my by Source Books to review.

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Child of the Northern Spring, Review by Jessa Larsen December 9, 2010
Guinevere, who prefers to be called by Gwen, is a feisty Celtic tomboy who has no desire to adopt the ways of a "proper" lady. She feels no need to speak Latin, wear dresses, or be married off to some unknown King. She honors the old ways and the Pagan Gods and Goddesses and has no desire to move away from her own kingdom to be forced to adopt Christianity and the other Roman ways. She simply wants to rule the people she's always known in the land she's grown up in and marry the man her heart would choose.
Regardless of her own desires, Gwen soon realizes that though she isn't required to give up her free spirited ways, she does need to learn the ways of a proper lady in preparation to rule whatever Kingdom she eventually marries into. Gwen finds that though she finds dresses and sewing a tedious chore, she does enjoy gaining knowledge of a world she has yet to see. She finds herself betrothed to the newly crowned King Arthur and although she promises herself that she will not become a Roman Christian, she doesn't object to the young king as much as she thought she would.
Persia Woolley weaves the traditional tale of King Arthur into the story of Gwen, future Queen Guinevere. It follows the life of Gwen as she grows from a young child to a young woman who must learn to rule a kingdom and gain the love and trust of her people. We are allowed a peek into what life must be like for a young princess who only wants to live her life the way she is used to while accepting that she has responsiblities as a child of nobility.
I found it interesting that Child of the Northern Spring was interesting enough from a publishers point of view to be republished a second time by a second publisher. It was originally published in 1987 and picked back up in 2010.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical Prose
Lyrical writing. I read these books long ago and revisited them again in the past few months. I'm so glad I did.
Published 4 months ago by Bookheart
3.0 out of 5 stars A little too fluffy for me
I love stories about King Arthur and Guinevere, but this one was a little too "fluffy" for me. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Well researched and real, believable characters
Published 7 months ago by C. Donnell
2.0 out of 5 stars A well written children's version of McKenzie's Queen of Camelot
While the book is well written, it is apparent that Ms Wooley has read and is in imitation of Nancy McKenzies Queen of Camelot books, written in the 90's. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Stephanie
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful mircoscopic look at an "old" legend
Engrossing and very entertaining. Great read. I enjoyed the whole trilogy. The character development was amazing as the cast grew from childhood to old age. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jacqueline Burson
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not read yet.
Published 10 months ago by kathleen mckinley
4.0 out of 5 stars
Wonderful tale geared to a younger reader, perhaps high school age. Well written with beautiful and highly descriptive language. Arthurian legend always fascinates.
Published 11 months ago by C. Thum
5.0 out of 5 stars Transport yourself
What a delightful book! The novel is told in the voice of Guinevere, who is a princess of Rheged. Wooley weaves this tale of a young princess who grows up in a northern kingdom and... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jennifer R. Dorne
3.0 out of 5 stars okay but dated
The first in a trilogy-- or maybe there are four-- about Guinevere. The second half drags a bit. And, being the beginning of a series, of necessity it is rather inconclusive. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Gloria McCracken
5.0 out of 5 stars Guinevere's Story
Anyone who loves King Arthur will love these stories as well. Reading from Guinevere's point puts but yet another spin on the story of Camelot!
Published 17 months ago by Mary LaValla
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This book came out in 1987 orifginally. It's not a new book, just a new...
My Guinevere Trilogy went out of print in the mid-90s, after being chosen as Book of the Month alternates and translated into seven languages. I had assumed that was the end of its history and was very surprised when Sourcebooks contacted me to say they'd like to re-issue the work and present it... Read More
Jan 3, 2011 by Persia Woolley |  See all 2 posts
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