Sunday, March 9, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Flower from Castile trilogy Book One: The Alhambra Decree by Lilian Gafni


 November 9, 2011

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.


"Truth and convenience all too often pit themselves against one another. The Alhambra Decree is the first book from Lilian Gafni's Flower from Castile Trillogy, discussing the late fifteenth century wars between Islamic and Catholic Spain, as the two faiths form two nations and battle over the Iberian peninsula. Isabella Obrigon, blessed with a noble life, finds that she has the power to turn the conflict if she faces the truth. But doing so, she makes many enemies but few friends. A riveting tale of medieval Spain, The Alhambra Decree is an excellent choice for fans of historical fiction." -Midwest Book Review 

"Gafni's understanding of the time period seems paramount, and her plot is solid. Isabella's movement between different cultures allows readers to explore what it was like to be a Catholic, Jew, or Moor during one of history's darkest periods." -Kirkus Reviews 

"Flower from Castile Trilogy: Book One: The Alhambra Decree is an accessible novel that inspires interest in, and relays the complexities of, a fascinating period in history." -ForeWord Clarion Reviews

"Lilian Gafni's Flower from Castile Trilogy is the human account describing the atrocities inflicted on the unfortunate Marranos and Sephardic Jews, and even on the Moors living in the Iberian Peninsula. So much human cruelty and so many wars caused over the centuries by different religions. The detailed dialogues provide historical information, and make the protagonists more real. This book is a monument to the Marranos that suffered and lost their lives." -Manuel Luciano da Silva and Silvia Jorge da Silva, Authors of Christopher Columbus was Portuguese!

My Review:

“Flower from Castile Trilogy: Book One The Alhambra Decree” by Lilian Gafni was an outstanding novel! I was intrigued from beginning until end, and I look forward to reading the next book in the trilogy. I was a little lost at the beginning, because several characters were introduced at once, and it was a little unclear to me as to how they all tied into the story, but as I continued to read it all started to make sense to me. I loved that the story is told from several different points of view. Not only do we know what’s going on in Isabella’s head, but we also get to read Christopher Columbus’ story as well as get inside the evil Torquemada’s mind a little bit. The author’s writing style is great, and she did an awesome job with descriptions. The battle scenes were described using so much imagery that you could picture exactly what was happening. She also did a great job when describing the different buildings and places that the characters were at. There were several strong characters in this novel, and I was rooting for most of them. Isabella is a great main character, because you actually care about her well being, and want to know what is going to happen to her next. I also like that there is a love story within all of the intrigue and action.

I would definitely recommend this novel to lovers of historical fiction. It is an easy read with great characters and a great story line. The author obviously did her research, and you won’t be disappointed.

I give “Flower from Castile trilogy” a FIVE out of FIVE stars.


  1. I have this one but haven't gotten to it yet. Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  2. So glad to hear you loved The Alhambra Decree Kimberly!