Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sultana: Two Sisters by Lisa J. Yarde

In fourteenth-century Spain, former friends vie for a man's heart and the future of his kingdom. Both women are captives sold into the harem of Sultan Yusuf I of Moorish Granada.

A young girl with a hidden heritage, Esperanza Peralta, forges a new identity as Butayna and becomes the mother of Yusuf's firstborn son. The Jewess Miriam Alubel takes the name Maryam and also bears Yusuf several children, including two sons.

The clash between former friends is inevitable, as each finds diverging paths in a dizzying rise to power beside their husband. Both remain aware of the struggle ahead of them, for only one heir may inherit Yusuf's throne and only one woman can claim the revered title of Mother of the Sultan.

Get this book. Get it now! I promise you will not be disappointed. Sultana: Two Sisters by Lisa J. Yarde continues the saga of the 14th Century Nasrid Dynasty begun with Sultana and Sultana’s Legacy. This biographical fictional series is not one to be missed. It is a time of harsh realities, blood baths, and political turmoil. In this, the third novel of this fascinating series, set during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hajjaj Yusuf I of Granada, two women become deadly enemies in the fight for supremacy. Butayna and Maryam vie for the heart of Sultan Yusuf, for whoever captures his love and bears his son, will likely rule the harem.

It is obvious that author Lisa J. Yarde has done extensive research into the era. With vivid detail and expressive prose, she expertly brings the characters to life with all their faults and qualities, emotions and aspirations. The characters always surprise the reader, for their unpredictability and ever changing motivations. As I read and learned more about the two women at the heart of the story, I clearly understood the dangerous times they lived in and what motivated them to do what they did. Through the eyes of these two women, the reader is swept into feelings of lost love, mystery, hardships faced by the characters, betrayal, bitterness, passionate love and forgiveness. The author has a lovely writing style, simple, unencumbered, but beautiful in description and spirit. The characters are complex and with plenty of conflict in their pasts to capture the reader's interest and hold it to the end. To keep the era as authentic as possible, the author does not sugar-coat any of the brutality or realities of the times. 

It is a story about the choices one makes during a moment in time and the impact it will have on one's future. There is plenty to contemplate and identify with along with the two women at the heart of the story. A deeply evocative story with plenty of passion to keep you turning the pages long into the night. The Sultana series of novels overflow with intrigue, murder, betrayal, sabotage, treachery, treason, and plenty more. Although they can be read independently of each other, I recommend you begin at the beginning and not miss any of the excitement.

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