While she waited for Sufiye, Batsheva treated herself to a cup of pomegranate juice. The taste took her back to her mother’s garden and, for a moment, she believed she was free to return home.
Pomegranate juice cures everything. I cannot think of anything more calming, relaxing, or refreshing than a cup of fresh pressed pomegranate juice from a street stall. These days, I keep unsweetened pomegranate juice in the fridge. I add a splash to my seltzer when I need a little pick-me-up. It’s about as close to heaven as I can get in deepest, darkest Minnesota.
I’m not new to the enticing lure of the pomegranate. I’ve been a fan since I was a little kid tasting my very first pomegranate seed in Hebrew School. It was very exotic. Right up there with fresh figs and carob…which is more like eating wood if it’s been dried. But a pomegranate was downright magical. The exquisite Schiaparelli pink of the flesh surrounding the seeds combined with the sudden burst of juice when you bite down captured my imagination in a way nothing else ever has.
Let me tell you a little about the book THE POMEGRANATE. The tiny little pomegranate seed that started the journey was a snip of a story told to me in high school. A young girl was abducted on the way to her wedding. Over 800 years ago. Eventually, she returned to Al-Andalus with several of her children. That’s all. But what about all those years in between? They were unknown, but those years called to me. I began with the history of the period, then went on to research customs and practices of Jewish and Muslim Al-Andalus. Over time, I broadened the scope of the search as the idea of a bride’s arc to womanhood grew into the person that is Batsheva Hagiz.
If there is a single theme running through all 3 of my books, DREAM DANCER, LINGUA GALACTICA, and THE POMEGRANATE, it is the importance and central role of language. All three female protagonists are polyglots. The ability to communicate in the language of the land is central in all of the stories, and all three characters share that ability.
Welcome to the 12th Century. Keep in mind the customs and the mores of the period differ from ours. There are similarities, to be sure, but the folks in THE POMEGRANATE behave according to the custom of their time. Or at least as close as an approximation as possible. Even so, the fears, the follies, and the foibles of the period will be remarkably familiar.