The Castilian Pomegranate (The Castilian Saga Book 2)

Written by Anna Belfrage
Review by Elizabeth K. Corbett

When Robert FitzStephan and his wife, Eleanor (“Noor”), incur the wrath of Eleanor, Queen of England, they are placed in a horrible predicament. Robert is a captain in the service of King Edward I, and Noor is Queen Eleanor’s niece. They are exiled from England and sent abroad to Castile and Aragon as emissaries. Before they leave, Eleanor commands them to do two things: find a precious gem called the Castilian Pomegranate and give up their foster son, Lionel. They are not to return to England with him. The truth is that Lionel, whose true name is Gruffydd, is the son of the last Prince of Wales, Dafydd ap Gruffydd. While abroad, they face constant danger and the ugliness of war. Will they be able to keep their family together? Will they ever return to England?

The Castilian Pomegranate, second in the Castilian Saga, is the first novel by Anna Belfrage that I have read. When starting the book, I felt like everything was in medias res. Although I should have read His Castilian Hawk first, I found The Castilian Pomegranate to be a compelling and fascinating story that pulled me right in. I enjoyed the fictional characters and the depictions of the real historical figures. The overall pacing is decent, but there are moments where the story feels a bit slow. My favorite aspect was the intricate level of historical detail masterfully woven into the narrative. In fact, it makes me want to read Anna Belfrage’s other works. A nice final touch was the illuminating historical note at the end.