Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Avalon by Anya Seton

Merewyn lives in Cornwall with her dying mother when Rumon, nephew to King Alfred walks by asking for directions to England. He got more than he bargained for because Merewyn's mother's dying wish is for him to take Merewyn with him to England and hand her off to her aunt at a nunnery.

Rumon feels sorry for Merewyn, especially when he learns a secret about her, so he does decide to grant her mother's dying wish. They are quite the pair on the road. He is all dressed in the clothing of royalty while she is wearing what looks like a burlap sack.

Merewyn's mother told her that she is a descendant of King Arthur and has no reason not to believe this. When her and Rumon arrive in England, she is introduce to King Alfred and Queen , Alfrida as a descendant of the great king Author. The queen immediately takes her under her wing and gives her a dress more fitting to her station and makes her one of her ladies. Merewyn is very gentle at combing out the queen's hair and giving her a massage. The queen decides to offer her a permanent position among her ladies.

At the same time Merewyn is a lady for the queen, Rumon falls for Queen Alfrida. After King Alfred dyes suddenly, Rumon unknowingly gets raped up in the queen's evil plot. Merewyn tried to warn Rumon but he wouldn't listen. He was in love. Merewyn resigns her position with the queen because she doesn't want to be a part of the plot and goes to her aunt at the nunnery.  However, another dying wish makes her go back to Cornwall and it is there where her fate makes another turn.

This story takes place across continents and travels all the way to Iceland and back to England. It takes place in the 10th century during the turbulent time with the Vikings. It is packed full with secrets and deceptions.

Seton wrote a story vivid in imagery and well throughout characters. She wrote about a time that doesn't seem to be explored by other writers much and she did it with great historical detail.  I thought she could have done an easier transition through time.  Time changes we quite abrupt.

Anya Seton has been on my list to read for a very long time and I decided that it was finally time to read one of her books since the Spotlight is on her all month long. I enjoyed this book and have heard even better things about her other books, so I plan to read more by her.

Grade: 3.5/5


  1. THis is such a good book as I remember - I read it a good 10 or 15 years ago but really enjoyed it

    thanks for sharing your thoughts

    Happy Tuesday


  2. The story of Rumon is just as prominent as Merewyn; his life at court, his realisation of the evil people around him and his religious awakening. It is interesting that in the discussions of Anya Seton all month, that a very important aspect of all her books is the character's religious awakening, especially powerful in Katherine and The Winthrop Woman. While Katherine is happy in her final marriage for her childrens' sake, her ultimate contentment begins with a religious epiphany during the great crisis of her life. In Devil Water, both Earls of Derwentwater are in the end defined by their Catholicism. Elizabeth Winthrop likewise is inspired by a spiritual experience after much searching and rebellion against the Puritan dogma. I'm surprised no one has mentioned it because it's an essential ingredient of every Anya Seton novel. Seton handles the characters religious sensibilities in a very even handed and interesting way.

  3. Another one I haven't read but plan to.

    Panavia999 that is an interesting comment and i'll keep it in mind when I start another of her books. I've only read Katherine of those you mention.