In fifteenth-century Moorish Spain, Aisha, the descendant of the Sultans of Granada endures a life imperiled by dynastic warfare, loss, and cruel fate.
Enemies descend on the kingdom from all sides and threaten to tear it apart. To preserve a fragile peace, Aisha suffers a sham marriage to a cruel tyrant, forever divided from the love that once ruled her heart.
Years later, when a trusted confidante becomes a powerful rival, Aisha must fight for the future of the next generation or witness the destruction of her family and the last vestiges of Moorish rule in Spain.
Lisa J. Yarde writes fiction inspired by the Middle Ages in Europe.
Besides being the author of the Order of the Dragon, she is also the author of a six-part series set in Moorish Spain, Sultana, Sultana’s Legacy, Sultana: Two Sisters, Sultana: The Bride Price, Sultana: The Pomegranate Tree, and Sultana: The White Mountains, where rivalries and ambitions threaten the fragile bonds between members of the last Muslim dynasty to rule in Europe. The first title in the series is available in multiple languages.
Lisa has also published 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 royal and non-noble lines still living today. Lisa’s short stories, The Legend Rises, part of the HerStory anthology, which chronicles the Welsh princess Gwenllian of Gwynedd’s valiant fight against twelfth-century English invaders, and The Heretic, part of the anthology We All Fall Down, wherein the Hispano-Muslim doctor Ibn al-Khatib fights the Black Death at great personal cost, are also available now.
Born in Barbados, Lisa lived abroad for 33 years until a recent, permanent return to her island home. She has been a member of the Historical Novel Society, a presenter at its 2015 Denver conference, and served as the co-chair of the Historical Novel Society – New York City chapter (2015-2017). She currently serves as the chapter’s social media manager. An avid techie, she has presented before varied audiences on the topics of historical fiction, self-publishing, and website and social media management. She is also an enthusiastic blogger and book reviewer, having moderated and contributed to Unusual Historicals, Great Historicals, and History & Women, and previously reviewed historical fiction for the History & Women blog, Washington Independent Review of Books, and through NetGalley. Her personal blog is The Bajan Scribbler.
If you are looking for a passionate, gut-wrenching, exotic historical fiction series to read, then start reading The Sultana Series by Lisa J Yarde. Each novel is set in different eras in Moorish Spain. Fastidious research into the family history of the Sultans of Granada and the Nasrid dynasty yielded these utterly compelling and engrossing tales of intrigue, love, massacre, poisonings, and murder. Sultana: The Pomegranate Tree is Book 5 in the series. The main protagonist in this novel is the last queen of Granada, Aisha al-Hurra. Hers became the last generation of the Nasrid dynasty as it was her son who relinquished the kingdom to the Catholic Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand.
Sultana: The Pomegranate Tree depicts the life of Sultana Aisha's rise to power with all the passion and emotion she experienced among the court's intrigues and machinations. As always, the author's uncanny ability to express her heroine's most intimate inner thoughts and aspirations, truly bring to life this fascinating women. Through Aisha's narrative we experience her sense of fairness, her love for her family, her strength and convictions, and all this during a time of political chaos. Aisha lives in the harem in the Al Hambra, a dangerous world, where a wrongly uttered word or a careless act can result in death. Beautifully described surroundings and wonderfully realistic characters evolves into a larger than life tale that is nothing less than page-turning. There are eunuchs, sultans, slaves, concubines, guards, and powerful women who will do anything to garner the attention of the great Sultan and seize power. What I really enjoyed were the many descriptions and small reminders of past history (from past books) sprinkled throughout the story. It helped keep the entire series and history foremost in my mind. Like the other books in the series, this book explores themes of profound love, immense tragedy, deadly rivals, utter betrayal, and ultimate victories. Each story is rich with plot twists and complex characters that fascinate. Lisa Yarde writes with great lyrical beauty and compelling revelations. I have loved each and every books in the series and highly recommend them to everyone.
Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
For those with an interest in Spain’s history and who have visited the magnificent Moorish city of Granada, this compelling and meticulously researched novel is a must read.
This is the story of the last queen of Granada, Aisha al-Hurra, the very woman whose son surrendered to the Christian alliance led by King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile; the Moorish ruler, who you may have heard, told her son, “Do not weep like a woman for what you could not defend like a man.”
When I read this quote many years ago, while exploring the wonders of the Granada palace, I longed to learn more about the plight of the kingdom in its last days. Who was this powerful Aisha who spoke so reproachfully to her son? What was her story? I wished that more had been written about this strong woman in the same way the life of her political nemesis, Queen Isabella, had been covered with great detail. This novel answered my wishes and much more.
Sultana: The Pomegranate Tree traces the journey of a wilful and ambitious Sultana, a descendant of the Nasrid dynasty, and her ascent to power as Queen of the Kingdom of Garnatah – or Granada, through marital alliances. From a young age, Aisha demonstrates an innate mastery of political intrigue, an unflinching sense of duty and a profound love of the kingdom. Watching her evolve through the key historical events leading to the fall of Granada is fascinating, and provides a rare glimpse into the lives of Granada’s rulers in that period. The novel is a well-executed biography.
Without revealing too much of the plot, Aisha will face dramatic upheavals in her life, and extricate herself from numerous dangers within the palace and beyond. As a character she was well-rounded and likable, allowing the reader to feel each moment. One particular scene had me gutted, and its aftermath, which dealt with the combined feelings of loss, mourning and revenge, were well-treated. The intrigue around Aisha’s twin sister, Fatimah, the tragic story of Aisha’s mother and the engaging romance with Aisha’s first husband were all fascinating. The banquet scene, which saw the nobles of the Abencerraje family massacred by Muley Hacén, unravelled with great suspense, and would make a fantastic film sequence.
The treatment around Aisha’s real life rival, Isabel de Solis was complex, with a highly satisfying twist. Due to the aura of mystery around de Solis, she became my favorite character. Second place would go to Aisha’s second husband and ruler of Granada, Muley Hacén, who is entirely believable in his romantic and historical behavior.
So much to admire about this beautifully crafted novel. Attention to historical detail is outstanding. The prose and dialogue are evocative and cinematic. Anyone who reads historical fiction for the pleasure of being swept away into others worlds will not be disappointed – the novel paints Moorish Spain with a creative flair that is both enchanting and historically informative.
Sultana: The Pomegranate Tree is a penultimate novel in a mind blowing series of six. Its plot concludes in the year 1482, the year before Aisha engineers her son’s ascent to the throne, leaving no doubt that the final book will deal with this and more, culminating in the climatic surrender of Granada. Many of us will be pining for novel number six which will no doubt crown this trailblazing author as an unsurpassed master for this unique period of history.