I finally had a few hours this afternoon once the Adolescent Literacy Institute closed to complete the reading of GUINEVERE'S GIFT. This is the story of Guinevere's childhood, everything that took place before her encounter with Arthur and Lancelot. Guinevere is a headstrong 13 year old, one who loves to ruin off to the stables and go riding bareback through the hills near the castle. On one of her forbidden adventures, she meets Llyr, a hillman assigned to guard her. There is a prophecy about Guinevere that casts a shadow on her life and makes her guardian, Queen Alyse, regard her with caution and perhaps a twinge of unease. Guinevere is to marry the leader of the land. However, this marriage will not end happily but in tragedy. At her tender age, Guinevere dismisses the prophecy. However, certain events seem to point to the role she might play.
Nancy McKenzie makes readers (older ones like me, at least) forget Vanessa Redgrave in CAMELOT and instead focus on the headstrong young woman who will one day play her part in the Arthurian legend. Despite the lovely glimpse of Guinevere from the cover, this is not a romance novel. It is, instead, a wonderful adventure with heroes, heroines, betrayals, plots, and escapades.