Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters

Written by Wendy J. Dunn
Review by Wendy Zollo

Falling Pomegranate Seeds, volume one of the Katherine of Aragon Story by Australian author Wendy J. Dunn, offers original insight into the future Queen of England’s youthful upbringing by her two formidable parents in the unified courts of Aragon and Castile. As told effectively through the eyes of her tutor, Beatriz Galindo, Katherine (Catalina) and her friend Maria de Salinas are not only educated in letters and religion but in matters of life, war and social turbulence. Catalina is an eager student, and she is reared by her mother, Queen Isabella, to marry, rule, and know when best to display her intelligence. Still, there is mischief, light, and girlish charm to remind us just how young the girls are. These contrasting moments are pivotal, as they bring depth and insight to Dunn’s characters.

Dunn tells a story that is fresh and invigorating, a fascinating conveyance of humanity bound to religion and cultural racism. The worlds of adults and children are separate at times, although when they mix, such as during Isabella’s removal of the Jews, the story offers up soul- searching questions for Beatriz, Catalina, and Maria.

This is a captivating read, written with heart, significance and sensibility. Dunn is a careful writer. She doesn’t exploit her characters; rather, she explores them and brings us along for the journey. This is a novel researched with integrity, and Dunn reaches out and lands beautifully in the winner’s circle.