GUINEVERE by Laurel Phelan


The True Story of One Woman's Quest for Her Past Life Identity and the Healing of Her Eternal Soul
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 Turgid past-life regression story in which the author claims to find herself through exploring her former existence as King Arthur's queen and would-be successor in fifth century Britain. Phelan has worked as a past-life regression therapist for ten years in England and Canada. She believes that the doctrine of reincarnation and recall of past lives will lead the planet to universal love as we learn to activate the right hemisphere of our brains and realize that we have all been members of the opposite sex and of other religions and races. The scenario of her own regression as Queen Guinevere is the rear-guard action being fought by the Celts and Romanized Britons against invading Picts and Saxons. Phelan tells us how Guinevere was raised to be a warrior by her father, a brave Celtic chieftain, but soon finds that her zeal for battle does not go down well in her husband Arthur's sexist Briton world. In her struggle to escape gender stereotyping, Merlin, Arthur's counselor, turns out to be an unexpected ally, while her archenemy is Morgana, the king's jealous half-sister. When Guinevere has an abortion in order to avoid ruining her future as Arthur's second-in-command, Morgana uses sorcery to conceive a child by her half-brother. At Arthur's death, Guinevere fails to rally his men and continue the fight because she is a woman, and she commits suicide in the ruins of Arthur's castle. But our author finds healing when she hears Arthur's voice forgiving her. Phelan's melodramatic account of her fifth century world is dominated by very contemporary feminist issues and by the rejection of Christianity as an alienating, patriarchal creed in favor of a wistful vision of Celtic ways. Though no doubt quite sincere, this reads more like historical romance than a voyage of self-discovery.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-671-52611-1
Page count: 275pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1995