Published by Macmillan Children's Books in 2007
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers, 'Tis the fairy
The Lady of Shallot
The Lady of Shallot by Alfred Tennyson has to be one of the most beautiful poems ever written and Meg Cabot began every chapter of her wonderful book Avalon High with a a verse from it for me to ponder over. On a personal note it took me back to the TV adaption of Anne of Greengables where Megan Followes pretended to be the Lady of Shallot whilst floating down the river. Ah happy days!
Back to the book, Ellie has moved to a new area whilst her parents take a sabbatical from their careers as professors to write historical books based on the legend of King Arthur. She becomes the new girl at Avalon High and cannot believe her luck when Will, the best looking boy in the school wants to get to know her. Soon she finds herself hanging out with the cool people. Jennifer,the cheerleader who happens to be Will's girlfriend and Lance, one of the football team as well as Will's best friend.
As Ellie becomes more and more involved with their lives, she begins to notice that all is not what it seems. Will is convinced that he has met Ellie before, Lance and Jennifer are spending too much time together and Marco has got an evil look in his eye.
If you haven't worked it out yet, this book tells the story of the possible reincarnation of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Meg Cabot has brought the Arthurian legend to the younger generation and given it street cred. Not that it wasn't already one of the most beautiful stories of all time, but now Cabot has made the story accessible to the preteens.
I am so pleased that I read this book, because it really was so much better than the film. Not that I didn,'t enjoy the Disney adaption, I just found the ending of it a little hard to swallow. In the film, Ellie is known as Allie and she turns out to be the reincarnation of King Arthur. Personally, I found that rather hard to believe; it just wasn't credible. So I was relieved to find that the film differed completely from the book.
Meg Cabot has created some wonderful characters and an original storyline which I found myself completely engrossed in. The book had some excellent twists and turns and I was quite disappointed by the end to realise there were no sequels. Meg Cabot shows us a hint of her humorous side which makes me want to search out those Princess Diaries books as I have heard they are hilarious.
If you want a lighter look at the Arthurian legend, then this book will not disappoint. Definitely worth buying for the children and your hidden inner child!
I couldn't finish this post without sharing this utterly beautiful version of The Lady of Shallot by Loreena McKennitt. It is haunting!