Saturday, October 2, 2010

Book Review: Twilight of Avalon by Anna Elliott

pages: 432
Genre: Adult - Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: May 5, 2009
Book received in exchange for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "She is a healer, a storyteller, a warrior, and a queen without a throne. In the shadow of King Arthur's Britain, one woman knows the truth that could save a kingdom from the hands of a tyrant...  Ancient grudges, old wounds, and the quest for power rule in the newly widowed Queen Isolde's court. Hardly a generation after the downfall of Camelot, Isolde grieves for her slain husband, King Constantine, a man she secretly knows to have been murdered by the scheming Lord Marche -- the man who has just assumed his title as High King. Though her skills as a healer are renowned throughout the kingdom, in the wake of Con's death, accusations of witchcraft and sorcery threaten her freedom and her ability to bring Marche to justice. Burdened by their suspicion and her own grief, Isolde must conquer the court's distrust and superstition to protect her throne and the future of Britain.  One of her few allies is Trystan, a prisoner with a lonely and troubled past. Neither Saxon nor Briton, he is unmoved by the political scheming, rumors, and accusations swirling around the fair queen. Together they escape, and as their companionship turns from friendship to love, they must find a way to prove what they know to be true -- that Marche's deceptions threaten not only their lives but the sovereignty of the British kingdom." 

Isolde's husband, King Constantine, died by the hand of Lord Marche who now assumes Constantine's former role as High King. The kingdom is in chaos as there is no official High King, but Isolde knows the truth surrounding Constantine's death and is determined to make sure everyone else knows too.  However, throughout the kingdom her reputation isn't always the best.  Everyone knows Isolde is a powerful healer, but many feel she is a witch and now with Constantine dead, she must watch her every move.  When she was healing prisoners, she met and connected with Trystan, who is surprisingly neither Saxon or Briton.   They decide to work together and escape from the kingdom all while plotting to overthrow the evil Lord Marche.  Twilight of Avalon by Anna Elliott is a tale filled with legend, fantasy, plotting, friendship, and the possibility of love.  Fans of historical fiction will love this new take on an old legend.

First, I must confess how much I loved the character of Isolde in this novel.  Unlike other portrayals of Isolde, Elliott's version is determined, strong and heroic.  I really admired that and was rooting for her the entire time.  She also possesses the power of "Sight" which proved to be very interesting as the story progressed.  Trystan won't disappoint either as he harbors his own secrets which also make for a fascinating plot.  I expected more romance in this novel, because after all, it's Trystan and Isolde, but their relationship is just at the beginning stages so it was more about friendship and trust.  I surprisingly preferred that, because I think it will make what comes later in their relationship that much more believable and less rushed.

Elliott makes the time period come to life. I really enjoyed all the parts of history and legend that she captured and incorporated in her story.  The references to Arthur, Modred, Morgan, and Camelot were especially captivating.  I am familiar with the legend, but the interactive family tree (link is below) really helped me keep things straight as I was reading the novel. Overall, I really enjoyed Elliott's take on the legend.

Thankfully, Twilight of Avalon is part of a trilogy.  The next book in the series, Dark Moon of Avalon, just came out a few weeks ago and I can't wait to see what happens next and how Trystan and Isolde's love develops. I'm sure it will be swoon worthy!

*A big thank you to Stacy at Touchstone for sending me this book!


  1. I love Isolde and Tristan, their lovestory is beautiful. A couple of months ago I read a Dutch book about this couple and it was really bad. They potrayed Isolde selfabsorbed. I didn't like it. So I am glad to hear that this book is great and that it starts with their friendship and nothing to heavy inmediatley. I love the cover of this book too. It's beautiful. :)

  2. Nina- Thanks for stopping by. I think you'd like this one then, especially if you want to see a more heroic Isolde. I agree- the cover is gorgeous!

  3. Sounds really good. I'm fascinated by Isolde.

  4. JuJu- Yes, Isolde was extremely fascinating. I really enjoyed Elliott's portrayal!


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