Title: Falling Pomegranate Seeds
Author: Wendy J. Dunn
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, History, Strong women
Publisher: MadeGlobal Publishing
5th sentence, 74th page: The bells on the harness of Queen Isabel’s mount rang a discordant sound as her eyes searched the men at her husband’s back.
Dona Beatriz Galindo.
Tutor to royalty.
Friend and advisor to Queen Isabel of Castile.
Beatriz is an uneasy witness to the Holy War of Queen Isabel and her husband, Ferdinand, King of Aragon. A Holy War seeing the Moors pushed out of territories ruled by them for centuries.
The road for women is a hard one. Beatriz must tutor the queen’s youngest child, Catalina, and equip her for a very different future life. She must teach her how to survive exile, an existence outside the protection of her mother. She must prepare Catalina to be England’s queen.
A tale of mothers and daughters, power, intrigue, death, love, and redemption. In the end, Falling Pomegranate Seeds sings a song of friendship and life.
I don’t often read historical fiction, it’s not a genre that I’ve ever been exposed to. But, when I met Wendy through Swinburne University and decided to read her book… just wow, wow. I’ve never read such a heart-rending and fascinating story. The fact that it is based upon something that truly happened just made every moment of tragedy and triumph all the more powerful and poignant.
Catalina, or Katherine of Aragon as many came to later know her, had an immensely painful and tragic upbringing. This not only brings forward the strength of an incredible woman and one whom is often forgotten due to her replacement by Anne Boleyn, but it also highlights the plight of women. The mothers and daughters throughout this story constantly fight for their sense of self and lives. Their relationships are pressured and pursued by the needs of the men surrounding them, and they are constantly upheld to an ideal that is structured by others’ needs.
Telling the tale of Catalina through the eyes of her tutor, Beatriz, was a beautiful way in which to tell of the Holy War and a child growing too quickly into her mantle of responsibility. Every moment of peace and happiness present within the beginning of the story and childhood is offset by the pain and suffering that quickly causes such a vibrant young child to grow into adulthood.
This is a fantastic look into the history of one of the Tudors, but it is far more than that. Falling Pomegranate Seeds is an insightful look into the rights of women, the relationships between mothers and daughters, and coming of age in a world that is harsh and difficult.
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