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 rightful inheritance results in bitter civil war. The marriage between Fatima and Faraj, two strong willed characters, could go either way and the novel tracks the progress of both their personal relationship and the war.
Thirteenth century Moorish Spain is a new world to me. At first I found the place and character names confusing but a short while into the story it all became clear.
Sultana is superbly written. Lisa Yarde lifts the reader from the ennui of the twenty-first century and thrusts them into the turmoil of medieval Spain. Each page is eagerly turned as she deftly details every aspect of Granadian life, the clothes, the food and the riches. Lisa penetrates the mind of Fatima to illustrate the unfolding war through her eyes and allow the reader to experience both her insecurity and her pain. The story moves through war, treason, murder and despair but, despite that, it remains a romance, a heavenly blend of sorrow and joy, just like life.
This book was a whole new experience for me. I know next to nothing about the days of the last Moorish dynasty but Lisa writes with the confidence that only thorough research can provide. Sultana is a worthy addition to any book shelf, this is one to keep.
Both paperback and kindle editions of Sultana are available on Amazon.