cover image The Once and Future Queen: Guinevere in Arthurian Legend

The Once and Future Queen: Guinevere in Arthurian Legend

Nicole Evelina. Lawson Gartner, $19.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-9967632-2-6

This uneven examination of the character of Guinevere in literature by novelist Evelina (Camelot’s Queen) aims for a popular audience, but is formatted more like an academic work. The bulk of the text consists of a scholarly examination, beginning with the earliest medieval Welsh works mentioning King Arthur’s queen and moving forward to the present. Discussing widely recognized works such as those of Marion Zimmer Bradley, Thomas Malory, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and T.H. White, along with other, lesser-known authors, Evelina focuses on how Guinevere’s depiction reflects the status of women and the religious climate at the time of writing. These chapters do a fair job of summing up the scholarship of others with the notes and extensive source lists one would expect of an academic piece. For the final chapters, Evelina turns to the works of two self-published authors, herself included. While readily admitting the unconventionality of evaluating herself, she makes a spirited case for her own contributions to the Guinevere character. These final chapters rely more on reviews from popular websites, such as Goodreads and Amazon, than scholastic references. This change from an academic to a popular tone is jarring, but Arthurian buffs may find use for Evelina’s study as a readers’ advisory tool. (BookLife)