READER REVIEW:"Flower from Castile Trilogy is an accessible novel that inspires interest in, and relays the complexities of, a fascinating period in history." -- ForeWord Clarion Book Reviews
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Genre: Historical Fiction
The Flower from Castile Trilogy opens in 1491 during the tumultuous unification of Spain under Catholicism. The battle for the conquest of Granada, which was held by the Islamic Moors for 700 years, empties Spain's coffers and decimates the ranks of her soldiers.
Beautiful young Isabella Obrigon lives a life of privilege in Seville until she is caught between these two powerful nations. She is forced to uncover a secret about her birth and becomes trapped between two faiths and two peoples. She must decide whether to follow her heart and join her endangered brethren seeking exile from the brutal and infamous Inquisition, or stay and live a lie. When Isabella is held prisoner in the fabled Alhambra palace in Granada, an encounter with Miguel Costa seals her fate.
Nearby, Christopher Columbus-who may have secrets of his own-waits impatiently for the war to be won. His dreams of exploration and fabulous wealth can only come true if he receives a summons from Queen Isabella.
The year 1493 ushers in a New World, and Columbus is on a voyage with the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Niña to reach the Indies by sailing west. One of the sailors, João Treves, blackmails Columbus—threatening to reveal a secret that could ruin him—compelling Columbus to stow away Conversos on his next voyage. When the journey stretches longer than their food stores, the crew becomes fearful and rebellious.
Isabella and Miguel, along with the Beneluz family, are now sailing to Morocco where they can begin a new life. Their ship is headed for dangerous waters, infested with pirates bent on extracting hidden gold from unprotected passengers. Although Isabella and Miguel pray for smooth sailing, their voyage is beset by pirates, and they are taken as booty to be sold in Tangier's slave market.
The ill-fated decision that instituted the Alhambra Decree and expelled all their Jewish artisans, farmers and workers leaves Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand vulnerable with depleted ranks of taxpayers. In her heart, the queen yearns for Columbus's return with the gold promised for España.
Lilian Gafni was born in Cairo, Egypt and attended the all-girls, non-denominational, French Catholic School of St. Vincent de Paul. While growing up, Lilian spoke Ladino (a mixture of Castilian Spanish and Hebrew words), a language spoken by Spanish Jews after their expulsion from Spain in 1492.
Gafni writes with passion about the traumas of displaced Jewish populations because she once was attacked because of her religion. Her family fled to the newly formed country of Israel, where she had to adapt to a new life, country and language. Gafni seeks to give voice to the thousands of victims who have been brutally silenced through the ages due to their religion and personal history.