Saturday, June 12, 2010

Show Me 5 Saturday: Avalon by Anya Seton

A fun way to add variety to review formats this meme was created by Alipet at That's A Novel Idea.
Jenners at Find Your Next Book Here has added a Mr Linky again this week so we can link up our posts .

1 Book I read: Avalon by Anya Seton

2 Words that describe the book: Medieval goings-on.

3 Settings where it took place and/or characters you met:

  • The time period is the latter part of the 10th century and the story is set in many different places - France, Southern England, Iceland and Greenland.

  • Merewyn has grown up in Cornwall and takes great pride in being descended from King Arthur.

  • Rumon is a young French noble who has left his country in the hope of finding the blessed Western Isle, Avalon. When he is shipwrecked off the coast of Cornwall his future becomes bound with that of Merewyn.
4 Things I liked/disliked about it:

  • I liked the relationship between Merewyn and Rumon. Although there is a strong connection between them their story is not a grand romance which makes a nice change. It also means that other characters in the book are equally important - King Edgar and his family, St Dunstan, Merwinna, Merewyn's aunt who is an abbess of a convent, and many more.

  • I liked (loved) the historical background. The author was renowned for her meticulous research and she really brings the 10th century to life with her vivid description of the King's court, life at Glastonbury Abbey , within convent walls and the daily round of the ordinary folk.

  • I liked reading about the social issues of the time. The effect of constant Viking raids on the English and the life of St Dunstan who struggled to maintain a balance between church and state.

  • I liked the part of the story when Merewyn travels to Iceland and later, Greenland, as I haven't read a great deal about the history of those countries.
5 Stars or less for your rating?

4/5 Stars for a wonderful historical novel that I enjoyed as much as I did the first time I read it many years ago. I was inspired to do this by the Anya Seton month being featured at Historical Tapestry throughout June. Lots of reviews, articles and giveaways so head on over and check it out.


  1. That cover calls out to me! I've never read anything by her and I think I'm missing out.

  2. Shelley - if you like historical fiction then I highly recommend her books.

  3. Normally this time frame would not interest me but I loved your review and it makes the book seem most desirable. Have a great weekend and happy reading!

  4. Found you through the bloggiesta - thanks for the pointer to the Mr. Linky for this meme! I'm not participating this week (blog is already crowded with bloggiesta posts), but I'll be back to doing it next week.

  5. I just love your two word description ... medieval goings-on. Sounds like a nice variation on the whole Arthur story!

  6. Oh I like this review format and I love historical fiction! I may have to check this one out!

  7. Angela - I hope you will join us - we need more participants.

    Amused - it makes a nice change to do a review differently.

    Jenners - lol, sometimes the two words is very tricky.