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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Heroines of Avalon & Other Tales by Ayn Cates Sullivan transports readers into the time of legend and revisits deities and legendary female characters linked to Welsh and British mythology. In this book, the author shares her insights and her journey to discovering her past, a journey that compelled her to research the extraordinary characters in her book. She says: “Recently I discovered through DNA testing that my family is related to the most powerful woman of the 12th century. Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204), the daughter and heiress of William, Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Poitiers.” While her discovery can be judged to be stunning, her research into the myth of the Holy Grail creates beautiful mythical encounters, bringing to life “untold” stories of characters like the Goddess Arianrhod, Blodeuweddi, Iouga, Elen, also known as “Elen of the Ways,” and the Goddess of Sovereignty, Elaine and Dindraine in the Arthurian female Grail Knights.
The writing is beautiful and atmospheric and readers listen to the voices of women of legend. The stories begin with an informative commentary that shares the author’s personal journey and offers elements of myth and the culture around which these characters evolved. The reader will understand the feminine visage of God and the role of some of the heroic women in the lives and history of legendary heroes like Arthur. The literary allusions are manifold in this narrative, and they feature the Lady of the Lake, Morte D’Arthur, and the Arthurian Round Table. One understands the role of women in British mythology and that brave kings were nothing without them: “A king must connect to the spirit of the land through a woman.”
Heroines of Avalon & Other Tales is a gripping narrative, a collection of powerful mythical women that will keep the reader spellbound. Ayn Cates Sullivan combines her storytelling craft with research to provide readers with great entertainment. Each story includes symbolism, a spirituality developed around the deity, and poems evoking a spiritual atmosphere linked to the character. It is well-illustrated and loaded with symbolism.