P.C. Cast / Historical Paranormal
Bk 7 in the Goddess Summoning series
Berkley Trade / December 2010
Reviewed for The Romance Reviews
After her car plummets off a bridge, Isabel, a world-weary photojournalist, struggles between life and death when she's saved by the Water Goddess-with one tiny caveat: Isabel must travel to another time to seduce the legendary Lancelot du Lac away from Queen Guinevere. The handsome knight is a dream for any woman in any century. But Isabel is the one who's seduced by King Arthur. For Isabel, a deal is a deal. Now, the King watches as fate takes from him the mysterious beauty he has come to worship, knowing all too well that any interference on his part could destroy the kingdom he loves.
I was so excited when I read that GODDESS OF LEGEND was coming out that buying it was one of the first things I did the day it was released. I have absolutely adored the Goddess Summoning series, finding each book an amazing mixture of myth, romance and passion and so I was pretty confident this would be another book that blew me away. Although it didn't pack as powerful of a heart tug as some of the other books, GODDESS OF LEGEND was definitely still a great addition to the series and one that had me sighing all throughout it.
Who doesn't love the story of Camelot with its famous King Arthur, Queen Guinevere and Sir Lancelot? This is an incredibly popular and famous story, one that has been adapted into story, film and discussed amongst scholars. When I saw this was the legend PC Cast was next going to use, I held my breath to see what kind of magical twist she would put on it, what modern day woman would she send back in time and just who would this woman become romantically involved with.
Turns out it was Isabel, a middle-aged woman who during a photo shoot and trying to reclaim some hold on her life, finds herself transported back in time to Viviane, the Lady of the Lake and lover of Merlin. Viviane is desperate, as Merlin has put himself under a spell-induced stasis because his heart is so heavy with what he sees as the fate of Arthur. Doing whatever she can to keep her love with her, she casts out a spell to bring a woman out of time to her who could change the course of history just a little.
The plan is for Isabel to tempt Sir Lancelot away from Guinevere so that the Queen and King Arthur will remain together, bringing Merlin back. Isabel agrees to the task and heads off to Camelot but is stopped along the way by none other than King Arthur himself. Good intentions go horribly awry, plans get changed as Isabel fights the powerful attraction she has for the King, one that is also passionately returned. The story tells the story of the relationship that sparks between Isabel and Arthur and the influence Isabel has over the inhabitants of Camelot. Everyone is changed and heartache inevitably follows as both Isabel and Arthur try to find a way to make things work. It an amazing take on the legend, one that you can't help but enjoy.
Isabel was an interesting character to get to know, and I loved being able to read how she reacted while in Camelot. She brought a definite spark with her and I thought it was hilarious, the way she incorporated modern day things into the daily life of those she was with. She had a funny kind of sass and spoke her mind, much to the horror of some. I loved that she was passionate and willing to defend those she loved, as was evident when confronting Mordred over his attitude towards his father, Arthur. It was difficult for those around her not to be drawn to her as she was friendly and open with everyone, acting opposite to the role she was meant to be portraying as a Countess. It was very easy to forget that she was middle-aged and for most of the book, I imagined her to be in her late 20's to early 30's because she had a real sense of liveliness. It wasn't hard to see why Arthur was so drawn to her.
I've always had a romantic "thing" for King Arthur and for some reason when I read the blurb, it never dawned on me that maybe his heart would be involved in the storyline. I was so glad it was, because I loved seeing him come to life in my mind. He was exactly how I thought he would be -- a strong and kind leader who was passionate about his beliefs. It also didn't help that he was passionate in other areas and was portrayed as an incredibly virile and seductive man. I would have been the same as Isabel and completely lost my heart to him and he really did take my breath away with how noble he was. He understood the situation for what it was and really tried to do what was right for everyone involved. I especially loved watching him as he realized that he was losing his heart and the object of his affection was slowly taking over the castle.
There were some great characters that surrounded Arthur and Isabel but the one that surprised me the most was Viviane. After seeing movie depictions of her, reading books, learning from others, I had this very clear and vivid image of who she was. I saw her as this ethereal, graceful woman, set firmly in the Old ways and who had a very serious and mystical air about her. So imagine my shock at first when the Viviane of the story is a much more jovial interpretation and who spends the book speaking in the cheesiest rhyme to Isabel. I have to tell you though I loved it and it added to the feel of the book and made Viviane a little bit more approachable. She helped bring a great sense of humor to the story (even though some of the rhymes were REALLY bad) and she had me laughing. To me it was a risk showing her that way but for me, it worked because it added to the quirkiness of the storyline.
The only thing that kind of irked me just a teeny, teeny, tiny bit was the way the story ended for Arthur and Isabel. I was so wrapped up in the story and invested into the characters and desperately wanted the full magical ending. I'm not saying it did or didn't happen, just that I was a little disappointed with how it did. For me it felt too "Ok, I'm done with the main storyline so let's just throw the characters into an oversimplified ending." Maybe if the ending had been fleshed out a little, it might not have felt so rushed for me. Thing is, the story was so beautiful and engaging that it didn't affect how I felt about whole story though.
Overall, I really liked the author's take on Camelot and how it could've gone. I loved the way she brought the characters to life and especially the quirky touches she added -- Isabel creating nail polish and teaching the women baseball. It's a great story for those looking for a light read that's heavy on sexy romance and a must read for those who hold a special place for King Arthur and his Camelot in their hearts. I'd definitely recommend it. Happy reading!!