Review – Child of the Northern Spring

Child of the Northern Spring

By Persia Woolley

Source Books

ISBN: 9781402245244

4 stars

Guinevere, a young woman barely 18 years-old and while a strong and intelligent person, she’s out of her element when it comes to practices of the court.  The chosen bride of the newly minted King Arthur, she’s leaving her father and the only home she’s ever known to meet him and prepare to be his wife and queen.  Their first meeting a few years prior to the marriage arrangement left her interested but not fully convinced she was the right woman for him.  Without a better marriage offer and wanting to protect her homeland, she undertakes the journey to become his partner.

Arthur and Guinevere’s match is a good one — they’re both strong people and have an affinity for each other.  When the Saxons, always a threat to the country at this time, decide to attack, Arthur moves his armies to meet them and they both find out what it means to be king and queen and husband and wife.

I prefer Arthurian legend stories with a touch of historical reality rather than magic.  There is some magic in Child of the Northern Spring but it’s more in the form of religion and gods which is fine.  Merlin does make an appearance and there are moments when he calls down the gods and their wrath and the same can be said for Arthur’s sister, Morgan.  I’m all right with magic in that capacity though.  For as much as I adore fantasy, I don’t always like it mixed with my Arthur and Guinevere.  Go figure.

This book does move slowly and is told in more flashbacks than I felt necessary but it provides a nice background and history for Guinevere and who she is as a person.  I like that she isn’t a meek woman in this story and even though she’s unsure of herself, some of that is due to her age and that she’s never lived at court or even ran her father’s household after the death of her mother.  It’s a lack of confidence and she begins to gain more at the end of the book.

Child of the Northern Spring is the first in the Guinevere trilogy and with my ability to never walk away from a series, especially one that involves Arthur and Guinevere, I see myself reading more.  If you enjoy Arthurian legend, this one is worth a look.

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2 thoughts on “Review – Child of the Northern Spring

  1. I believe I will read this, although I am not usually a King Arthur book fan. I like your description of how the book moves slowly. I like a book that moves along slowly because it builds characters and place, allowing me to move through it along with the people.

    Question: I am wanting to read more Victorian England fiction. I enjoy the ones like Raybourne’s Julia Gray series and the Inspector Pitts series. Can you suggest some fiction (not necessarily mysteries) which take place in Victorian England or before that period?

    • It took me a minute to think about this one. I’m by far no expert and I’m sure there will be others that can provide a much better answer but here’s my crack at it.

      I’m suggesting books I’ve read and a few on my TBR list as well.

      Wives & Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell is wonderful.

      The Woman in Black by Susan Hill was good. It’s a ghost story but there is a slight mystery element.

      The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. This was a DNF for me but I’m not giving up entirely on it. It has a good creepy feeling and moves slow. It’s told epistolary style which I usually love but it didn’t grab me this time. Also, anything by Wilkie Collins would qualify as Victorian. Don’t forget Dickens either. I can’t recommend much of his work besides Great Expectations which I read in high school; all others I’ve tried I haven’t made it through but he’s probably a perfect example. If you want a take on Dickens, maybe Drood by Dan Simmons. I didn’t make it all the way through but what I read wasn’t bad; just not in the mood for it.

      Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would qualify even though you mentioned you’re not looking for mystery. I just finished a book of his short stories, Tales of Terror and Mystery, which was very enjoyable.

      Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke is a fabulous book. It’s fantasy and the Victorian setting is marvelous.

      The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl and The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma were very good. Dracula by Bram Stoker and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley are options as well although I’m not sure if Dracula is considered more Edwardian than Victorian. Maybe also Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.

      Sarah Waters, an author on my list to read, writes historical fiction set in Victorian England. I have Fingersmith on my list but I haven’t read it but heard great things about it. I’m not familiar with her work in general though.

      This isn’t Victorian but The Forsythe Saga by John Glasworthy is a fantastic book. It’s set in the early 20th Century.

      Authors you might want to consider:
      Jane Austen
      Emily Bronte
      Charlotte Bronte
      Rudyard Kipling
      HG Wells
      Oscar Wilde

      I’m sure there are many more to add but I’m going to stop there. Hope this helps!

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