Whenever I can, I try to buy books from local self-published authors, doubly so when it comes to local pagan-ish authors, and triply so when the book title is inspired by one of my favorite songs. Thus is how I wound up with this smutty retelling of the tragic Guinevere/Lancelot romance.
WHITE ROSE OF AVALON clearly owes its roots to books like the MISTS OF AVALON, as both femininity and religion are major focuses of the story. In this version, fairy folklore is interwoven into a historical narrative to give credence to both the supernatural and political origins of the mythos. Heckart assumes that the reader is already familiar with the time period and plot of the original legends, and therefore wastes no time getting to the action. And what action it is! Lancelot, Gwenhwyfar, Morgaine, and Nimue are the four main characters, and the book uses their sexuality to illustrate both their innate power and helplessness in context of the world around them. Make no mistake, though—WHITE ROSE OF AVALON is erotica through and through, even if it’s well-written.
One of the most interesting minor changes is that King Arthur is given a roman nomen, Artorius, and he is clearly a Roman amongst the Britons. His presence and relationship to the fall of Rome lends well to the theme of a cultural and religious division when used alongside the Welsh spelling of Gwenhwyfar, the French origin of the name Lancelot, and druids of Morgaine. It’s a level of depth that I wasn’t expecting in otherwise straightforward romantic drama.
As a historical fantasy/romance from a small POD imprint, the quality is about what I expected. Kelley Heckart is a talented writer, but the help of a content editor might have made the manuscript shine. WHITE ROSE OF AVALON isn’t bad, but it would have been better off as a film script than a book.