Book Review: “Falling Pomegranate Seeds” by Wendy J. Dunn

Jane Seymour (2)

When I read a book the most important thing to me is to see the characters come to life – to learn about what those people may have actually been and how they interacted with others.

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Photo credit: Rebecca Larson / TudorsDynasty.com

In this book, “Falling Pomegranate Seeds,” we learn not only about Katherine of Aragon, who going forward we’ll refer to as Catalina, but also her closest friend Maria de Salines. Maria was with Catalina from childhood – they shared a tutor, Beatriz, who is the true focus of this book. I was pleasantly surprised to have the story be told by the tutor, but to be honest, she was the perfect person to talk about the life and family of the infanta Catalina. Beatriz, by association, would have been present all the major events. Did I mention that she also had a great relationship with Queen Isabel?

In the story we meet Catalina’s siblings, Isabel, Juan, Juana and Maria. We learn that Isabel was the oldest child and was the only child for roughly eight years before Juan was born. Isabel eventually married a man she loved from “long” ago and is madly happy until he dies unexpectedly. Isabel is crushed from the death and does not wish to continue living.

Wedding portrait of King Ferdinand II of Arag?n and Queen Isabel of Castile.
Wedding portrait of King Ferdinand II of Arag?n and Queen Isabel of Castile.

From birth Juan was sickly, and this is something that doesn’t change with time, however he does find great love and the possibility of a great future. He’s a great musician and very sensitive to his sisters, especially when he attempts to comfort a grieving Isabel.

Juana, we now know as Juana “the mad” and the most sensitive child of the five siblings. Juana’s mother, Queen Isabella does a great job at protecting her daughter from the wrath of her father, Ferdinand of Aragon – who we find out does not like Juana. You’ll have to read the book to find out why.

Maria I feel like I don’t know much about, and I’m honestly okay with that. She was a more silent character in the story – which with so many interesting people to write about I don’t blame the author one bit.

See Image Sources Below

Over-all the story fills me with happiness – to see the love that Queen Isabel had for her children is heartwarming. She saw it as her responsibility to protect her children, especially Juana who seemed to need it a little more than her siblings. We see the sadness that these people lived through, whether it be the loss of a child or a loved one; It was as painful to them as it is today. We see how being a servant rarely offered you a voice when you had been taken against your will by a man more powerful than yourself. And you get to see young love and happiness – the part that may have brought me the most joy of all.

As a princess or infanta your life was planned for you. This is something that the author does a great job of showing in the book. You may be a royal but you do not have a say to who you marry or where you go. The duty of daughters.

I would highly recommend this book if you are interested in the life of Katherine of Aragon. Author, Wendy J. Dunn did a magnificent job at researching Katherine and her family to give you a better idea of why Katherine became the queen we have learned to love.

Rebecca Larson – TudorsDynasty.com

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Find “Falling Pomegranate Seeds” by Wendy J. Dunn on Amazon.com:

 

eBook – Falling Pomegranate Seeds, CLICK HERE

Paperback – Falling Pomegranate Seeds, CLICK HERE

 

 

Image Sources:

Isabel: Wikipedia – Portrait by?Fernando Gallego
Juan: Wikipedia – Artist unknown
Juana: Wikipedia – Portrait by Juan de Flandes
Maria: Wikipedia -?Scan from the book: Reis de Portugal: Manuel I by Jo?o Paulo Oliveira e Costa
Catalina: Wikipedia – Portrait by Juan de Flandes thought to be of 11-year-old Catherine. She resembles her sister Joanna of Castile.

Description of Henry’s Court in 1510

henrys-court-in-1510

Henry’s Court in 1510:

Luis Caroz was Spanish ambassador to England as a representative of Ferdinand of Aragon. It was his job to inform Ferdinand of what was going on in England, at Henry’s court, and to speak on his behalf.

As Ferdinand’s daughter, Catalina (Katherine) was the queen consort of Henry VIII, it was important for him to know how his daughter and son-in-law were doing.

This excerpt from Caroz’s letter paints a picture of what England was like at the beginning of Henry VIII’s reign. 

Luis Caroz to Ferdinand II
[Spanish Calendar, Vol II]
London, May 29, 1510

…The King of England amuses himself almost every day of the week with running the ring, and with jousts and tournaments on foot, in which one single person fights with an appointed adversary. Two days in the week are consecrated to this kind of tournament, which is to continue till the Feast of St. John, and which is instituted in imitation of Amadis and Lanzilote, and other knights of olden times, of whom so much is written in books.

1511, King Henry VIII in a procession on his way to a tournament clad in armour and riding a horse. He is accompanied by courtiers who are holding the flaps of a tent so that the king can be seen. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
1511, King Henry VIII in a procession on his way to a tournament clad in armour and riding a horse. He is accompanied by courtiers who are holding the flaps of a tent so that the king can be seen. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)



The combatants are clad in breast-plates, and wear a particular kind of helmet. They use lances of fourteen hands’ breadth long, with blunt iron points. They throw lances at one another, and fight afterwards with two-handed swords, each of the combatants dealing twelve strokes. They are separated from one another by a barrier which reaches up to the girdle, in order to prevent them from seizing one another and wrestling. There are many young men who excel in this kind of warfare, but the most conspicuous among them all, the most assiduous, and the most interested in the combats is the King himself, who never omits being present at them…

Public Domain Image: Catalina de Aragon watching Henry VIII of England joust, College of Arms, early 16th century. Catherine of Aragon was the first wife of King Henry VIII. of England.

Source:

Mumby, Frank Arthur;  The Youth of Henry VIII – A Narrative in Contemporary Letters, page 142

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