Review by Sarah Giles
“All of us must walk our own roads, but ‘tis wrong to prevent women from walking to many roads just because we’re women. Even Plato said, ‘Nothing can be more absurd than the practice of men and women not following the same pursuits with all their strengths and with one mind, for thus, the state instead of being whole is reduced by half.’ I so agree.” — Beatriz Galindo, Falling Pomegranate Seeds.
At its heart Falling Pomegranate Seeds is a story about female duty. Detailing the difficult, and often painful, lives women lead, Wendy J. Dunn writes evocatively about Queen Isabel I of Castile and her family. Through the eyes of Beatriz Galindo, a woman known for her brilliant mind, the reader becomes witness to the highs and lows of the most powerful royal family of their time.
While sticking as true to the facts as possible, Dunn uses her extensive knowledge of the era and her beautiful imagination to bring to life a story of friendship, love, loss, power, suffering and strength, in what is (at times) a heart-wrenching page turner.
In a novel dominated by intelligent, strong and inspiring women from history, Dunn doesn’t let the suffering of men fall to the sidelines. While much of the story is focused on the lives of women, the Holy War of the time saw men slaughtered by the hundreds, the thousands, a tragedy Dunn writes of with such sorrowful grief the reader is moved to ponder the utter wastefulness of war.
Coming to the end of the novel found this reader more aware of the difficulties of motherhood, and the many different paths women walk. Queen Isabel must rule her people, Josepha must raise her children and Beatriz must continue in her quest to gather knowledge: each woman a mother, each with a different road to travel. And of course, there is the duty of daughters who have to accept their own responsibilities and follow their mother’s example.
Dunn’s writing style is rich in intriguing detail that paints a nuanced picture of the lives of these real women. By the end the reader feels like a friend to the characters, and every happiness feels like a personal success and every tragedy a painful loss.
Wendy J. Dunn brings together a story of true friendship and the love of mother and child in Falling Pomegranate Seeds, a novel that holds lessons for anyone lucky enough to read it.
Falling Pomegranate Seeds by Wendy J. Dunn is available on Amazon.