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3.37  ·  Rating details ·  364 ratings  ·  47 reviews
In thirteenth-century Moorish Spain, the realm of Granada is in crisis. The union of Fatima, granddaughter of the Sultan of Granada, with the Sultan’s nephew Faraj has fractured the nation. A bitter civil war escalates and endangers both Fatima and Faraj’s lives.

All her life, Fatima has sheltered in lavish palaces where danger has never intruded, until now. A precocious
Kindle Edition, 370 pages
Published February 1st 2011
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Average rating 3.37  · 
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 ·  364 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Well researched, but the characters are not developed and do not really move beyond Hollywood movie types.

I would read a history that Yarde writes, however.
Andrew Levkoff
Feb 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
For most of us over a certain age, many of our memories of medieval Iberia are seen through the eyes of Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren in the 1961 epic film, El Cid. A little more than 100 years later, the events of Sultana unfold, this time from the perspective of Moors fighting to maintain their last foothold on the peninsula, Gharnatah.

A sprawling work of historical fiction, Sultana opens an ornate, lattice-worked window on 13th century Moorish Spain. While the palace intrigues are almost a
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
~~From Red Adept Reviews~~

I downloaded Sultana: A Novel of Moorish Spain, by Lisa J. Yarde, from as a free ebook.

Overall: 3 3/4 Stars

Plot/Storyline: 4 Stars

Sultana took me to thirteenth-century Andalusia, in the south of Spain, to its last remaining Islamic sultanate. Delectable plot-related complications stemming from the very first scene--the old Sultan really was an excellent schemer--carried the first act of the novel. Tension is never extreme, but it ebbs and flows at an organic
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had an ARC of Sultana by Lisa J. Yarde sitting so long my shelf that I felt guilty about not reading it.

There were some positive things about this book, it was very well researched. Now I have some knowledge about 13th Century Moorish Spain, the clothes, customs and the royal families. I have to thank the author for that. In the back of the bock are some helpful charts like the one that gives the modern day name for the place identified in the book. Also, there is a great glossary and list of
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having just returned from a 'once-in-a-lifetime' trip to Europe (including Scotland, France and Spain) with my daughter (for her 29th birthday), I was experiencing severed withdrawal pangs, particularly, from unforgettable Andalusia. And so it was I went in search of a work of historical fiction which, I hoped, would transport me back to the Alhambra and its enchanting environs. "Sultana" did not disappoint. Yarde's lyrical prose brought both setting and characters to life - with descriptions th ...more
Tara Chevrestt
I'm very impressed with this novel. It's about a Sultan's granddaughter (and Sultan's daughter.. depends on who sits on the throne) who is married at the tender age of eight amidst much war between clans, tribes, and kingdoms.

The Sultana is Fatima. When she is married off to Faraj, a war breaks out because she was supposed to be married to a member of the Ashqilula tribe, as tradition dictates. Her mother kidnaps her in order to save her, but instead Fatima ends up witnessing her murder. What f
May 19, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is very well researched. The author tells the reader about the lifestyles, food, fashion, social structures, palaces, and military of 14th century Moorish culture in Granada, Spain. Yay for the good!

The book was written from two point of views but instead of feeling like I was living this story with the characters, I felt like I was constantly being told the story. Dictated to almost. I had a lot of trouble connecting with the characters. I found their actions irritating, their feeling
I could not get into this for some reason. I didn't think it was particularly badly written, nothing jumped out at me as poor quality. Maybe it's just because I know nothing of this history but even so, I feel a good book should be able to draw you in regardless of your pre-existing knowledge or lack there of. So sadly, I gave up on it about half way through.
Oct 27, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't get into this one. A quarter of the way in and I'm not interested in going further. So far it's mostly political maneuvering, which would have been okay except the author doesn't explain it well. I feel lost and confused for the most part, and so many of the characters have similar names that I can't keep anyone straight.
Feb 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would give it a 3.5.
Kate Eminhizer
This was not necessarily a bad book but, it did take a lot of dedication to get through. While the story itself was interesting, there was almost too much going on. The constant back and forth between viewpoints made the novel very difficult to follow. What I liked about the book was what drove me to read it in the first place, the time period and subject matter. It was very evident the author spent a considerable amount of time dedicated to research. Worth the time commitment to read a novel ab ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Spanish Histoty

After a recent trip of 5 weeks to Spain, I wanted to learn more! I wish I had read this first. I visited Granada and Seville and stayed near Malaga. We loved Spain and now I want to go back and revisit after learning more of the history. I look forward to reading the whole series. This brings the places back to life!
Judith Arnopp
Feb 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Lisa Yarde

A review by Judith Arnopp

Fatima is the granddaughter of the Sultan of Granada and as such has lived a life of luxury, safe from dangers, her future secure. But there are underlying political currents and intrigues that she knows nothing about.
When she is married off to the Sultan’s nephew, Faraj, a man governed by resentment and insecurity, neither party is pleased at the match. His determination to seek vengeance for the murder of his family and his struggle to regain his ri
Patricia O'Sullivan
Fatima is the sultan's granddaughter and thus is born into a world of privilege. Even so, the sultan has powerful enemies who think nothing of taking the lives of his family members. And Fatima is a girl raised in a culture in which all girls submit to the authority of men no matter what their status.

At the heart of this story is a tender romance between Fatima, married when she was just nine years old, and Faraj, the husband who is ten years her senior. Fatima grows up as Faraj's wife and learn
Feb 27, 2013 rated it liked it
I don't really know what I want to rate this book, maybe a 3.4 or 3.5. It takes awhile to get interesting and well I had a hard time letting it keep my attention. Can I say maybe it was because I knew nothing about the history of Moorish Spain.

I do now, I had to read some facts about this time, like what the heck are Moors doing in Spain...

Fatima the main character was just a child when she was married to her cousin Faraj. He was older then her by 8 to 10 years. Fatima was a spoiled child, her
D.H. Hanni
Sep 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Closer to 3.5. I'm not at all familiar with Spanish history let alone Moorish Spain so it took me a while to get into the book. The author covers a large span of history within the 2 main characters lives: Fatima and Faraj. The book starts with the murder of Fatima's mother when she is a young child and shortly after her arranged marriage with a teenage Faraj. They are married for a long time before eventually falling in love. It was an enjoyable book and the characters were well-developed even ...more
Kristina Emmons
Jul 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Lisa J. Yarde is an amazing author. Her ability to combine a myriad of historical events with lively characters and plainly wonderful writing skills makes for tasty reading. Sultana is a hefty book, but not the kind you might dread. She manages to keep it a page turner throughout, with a Sultan's daughter in peril and all the strings attached to her, even a marriage forced on her at a very young age that burgeons into something beautiful with time. Sultana has its fair share of outer conflict as ...more
Great subject matter but it just fizzled out for me about 1/3 the way through. Between the characters being named similarly, the jumping ahead years in the time frame, the various locations, the story being told in third person, the characters being hard to get to know, I felt there were too many obstacles to continue. I procrastinated picking it up again and when I did, I would get through a few pages before discarding it again. A month after starting it, I am stuck and can't seem to get anywhe ...more
Lindsay Townsend
`Sultana' is the story of Moorish Spain, more particularly the story of Fatima and Faraj. Through this fascinating historical novel we see Fatima grow up into the compelling woman of the title and watch as Faraj comes to love her, and in doing so embrace his destiny. This is an exciting story, very elegantly told and rich in historical detail. There are plots, assassinations, intrigues, deadly family disputes and more. Lisa Yarde shows both the civilization of the age and the savagery. I thoroug ...more
I have read a number of books in the past 6 months that are set in the middle ages, around the time of the crusades. This is the first book I've read that comes from an Islamic, Moorish point of view. I enjoyed reading about the culture of the Moors during this time period. Fatima is a moorish princess who becomes a Sultana. She is married at a young age to man her father chooses. She is a strong heroine for whom I felt great empathy. This is a well researched book. Although the pace slowed some ...more
Mar 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story takes place during the 13th century in Moorish Spain. It was great to read a HF novel of that unique setting. Granada is the home of the Sultana. She is married off at the age of 9 to the nephew of her grandfather by tradition, but against her will. It is an interesting and fast paced novel with treason and murder and constantly changing alliances during this time of civil war. I was pleased to find a fair amount of background information about the time period, the wars and the people ...more
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Sultana is a beautifully written, magic-carpet ride through thirteenth century Gharnatah (Granada), then Moorish Spain. The suspenseful plot moves the reader along among love, lust and wars. The characters are real and engaging, Yarde’s writing is lush, yet pleasant to read, and perfect for the topic she is writing about. Thoroughly researched, Ms. Yarde places the reader in the time and place and opened my eyes into the world of Islamic Spain. This is what a good historical n ...more
Julie Rose
Feb 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
What a pleasure to read about a time and a place that 1) I knew very little about and 2) is under-represented in historical fiction. Sultana is a page-turner, the tale of the Moorish Nasrid sultans (and sultanas) and their fight to maintain power among shifting alliances in late 13th-century Gharnatah (Granada). In addition to the entertaining story, Yarde also provides fascinating historical notes, a handy glossary, and translations of place-names.
(4.5) A pleasure to read. Lisa J Yarde weaves storytelling with well researched history in a convincing and always entertaining manner. Crafting an intricate plot set in Moorish Spain represents exceptional research and inter-cultural effort, in light of the dominating Euro-centric literature within the historical fiction genre. Beyond this, Sultana is a moving and sensual read; a must for time travellers longing for the real Andalusian Spain.
It was a good story of love and devotion but not as in depth as I would have liked. I was anticipating a more in depth view of harem life and the luxury afforded to a princess, and it was so briefly described that it left me disappointed. Even the political intrigue was not described well. The secondary characters could have played a much bigger role in the book and would have added so much more.
Cici Conger-portie
I found it hard to get into this book at first...probably because the names were so unfamiliar. But about a third of the way into it, I suddenly couldn't put it down. I read the last two thirds almost straight through (just a little Sunday afternoon nap split it up). The scenery and clothing descriptions were beautiful and made me want to go back and visit again. I just wish there was a second volume to follow this one.
Jun 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In many ways, this is a three star book but I think it deserves another star for being about a time and a point of view that is rarely written about - medieval Moorish Spain.

I read it on my Kindle. A paper bound copy would have been much better as I couldn't easily flip to the much needed glossary. I've studied Spanish, been to Andulucia but still had trouble with Moorish variations on the Spanish names and places.
Sep 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was interesting to read a book about 13th century Moorish Spain. I've only been familiar with the Moors in Spain beginning with the expulsion of them by Ferdinand later on. I enjoyed the history, but it was too much of a romance for me to enjoy it at a 4 star level -- just my personal taste. There are 2 sequels -- if they ever show up as Kindle freebies I may read them, but won't go out of my way to purchase them.
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sultana is a truly well written and enjoyable book, with quite a bit of historical background set in 13th century Moorish Spain. It does give the reader a lot to think about. The characters and scenery are wonderfully described and brought me back in time and this is something that too few books seem to accomplish these days. I found it hard to put down.
Heidi Garrett
Sultana is an intricate and well-researched imagining of the love relationship between Princess Fatima and Prince Faraj. Against a backdrop of murderous family intrigue, the story of blossoming feelings between these two parties in an arranged marriage is a paced, but enjoyable build. Lisa J. Yarde's novel offers us a glimpse into the world of Moorish Spain.
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Lisa J. Yarde writes fiction inspired by the Middle Ages in Europe.

She is the author of two historical novels set in medieval England and Normandy, On Falcon’s Wings, featuring a star-crossed romance between Norman and Saxon lovers before the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and The Burning Candle, based on the life of the first countess of Leicester and Surrey, Isabel de Vermandois, progenitor of roya

Other books in the series

Sultana (6 books)
  • Sultana's Legacy (Sultana #2)
  • Sultana: Two Sisters (Sultana #3)
  • Sultana: The Bride Price (Sultana #4)
  • Sultana: The Pomegranate Tree (Sultana #5)
  • Sultana: The White Mountains (Sultana #6)

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