A day or so after my daughter rifled through my bookshelves, she came back to me and shoved this book in my face and said "Mom! You HAVE to read this book! It is poem-y but it is really good!". In fact, this is one of the signed books I've had on hand for awhile, and is going to be donated to my Adult Literacy League auction. My daughter assured me she read it in a day, and it was quick reading. I had no idea what it was about, but I figured if she loved the book, it had to have some romance in it.
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Elaine has only lived in a world of men, having lost her mother at a young age. She has literally grown up in the (future) King Arthur's army, acting as a healer to not only her father and brother, but all the soldiers. She is perched on the brink of womanhood, secretly harboring a love for Lancelot, who she has been friends with since she was a child.
That is until the lovely Gwynivere arrives. Although Gwynivere is engaged to Arthur, she has stolen Lancelot's heart. Thus ensues a little love triangle that devastates Elaine. But when the soldiers go to war, Elaine and Gwynivere are forced together in a dangerous situation and must fight to survive. The girls' passion and strength and wit are tested, and at the same time they find true friendship in each other. Elaine also grows to understand that true love was right under her nose, in the most unlikely place.
My thoughts: What I didn't say in the synopsis, and something that is a critical element of the book's success, is that the prose in this story is written in verse. This adds a gentle, ethereal quality to the words, and it sung to me. I'd never read anything quite like it. I know, I don't get out much.
There is also something magical about the legend of King Arthur, Lancelot, the Knights of the Round Table, Merlin, Tristan and the gang. I'm not an expert on all that business, but from this newbie's viewpoint Sandell made it all come to life. The characters were human and real, the emotions complex, all under the umbrella of a sweet, uplifting coming-of-age tale. A tale that is safe for a young tween or teen aged girl (it really isn't something a boy would read), but entertaining for her mom as well. This was just a beautiful, beautiful book.
4.5 out of 5 stars