Thursday, February 18, 2016

Sultana: The Pomegranate Tree by Lisa J Yarde


Book #5 of the Sultana series. 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. 

Snippet: “I spoke so you would never forget who you are again. You have a proud heritage and Nasrid pride, the pride of lions who lived and ruled for centuries before your existence, and the Sultanas who would not let fate or circumstance bend or break them. Their blood flows in your veins! Saad and his son have taken from you. Show them that you are as fierce as Jazirah, Butayna, Fatima, and even Maryam the viper. As strong as the lioness upon the plains. A lioness of Gharnatah. You have not forgotten. You do not forgive. You shall have recompense for the lives they have ruined and the blood they have shed."

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.