Historical novel set mainly in Asia, London and USA
Ten Great Books set in GRANADA
18th October 2021
Granada is the latest location for our ‘Ten Great Books Set In…’ series. Ten great books set in Granada. Granada is a city in southern Spain’s Andalucía region, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s known for grand examples of medieval architecture dating to the Moorish occupation, especially the Alhambra. This sprawling hilltop fortress complex encompasses royal palaces, serene patios, and reflecting pools from the Nasrid dynasty, as well as the fountains and orchards of the Generalife gardens.
Every city has its own charm, but Granada has its own and that of the rest’. Antonio Machado – Spanish poet
Court of Lions by Jane Johnson
Kate Fordham, escaping terrible trauma, has fled to the beautiful sunlit city of Granada, the ancient capital of the Moors in Spain, where she is scraping by with an unfulfilling job in a busy bar. One day in the glorious gardens of the Alhambra, once home to Sultan Abu Abdullah Mohammed, also known as Boabdil, Kate finds a scrap of paper hidden in one of the ancient walls. Upon it, in strange symbols, has been inscribed a message from another age. It has lain undiscovered since before the Fall of Granada in 1492, when the city was surrendered to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Born of love, in a time of danger and desperation, the fragment will be the catalyst that changes Kate’s life forever.
An epic saga of romance and redemption, Court of Lions brings one of the great turning-points in history to life, telling the stories of a modern woman and the last Moorish sultan of Granada, as they both move towards their cataclysmic destinies.
Blood Wedding by P J Brooke
A death of a Muslim student, Leila, turns into a terrorist attack in Grenada. Max Romero takes on the investigation, and finds that she was researching the impact of the Spanish Civil War on his own home village in the Sierra Nevada. Hassan becomes the prime suspect, with links to a terrorist group, but the police’s insensitive handling of the crime leads to his suicide. Beautifully describes Granada and the Sierra Nevada.
Flower from the Castile (Book 1 – Alhambra Decree) by Lilian Gafni
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.
Pasodoble by Martin Cross
The high Alpujarra mountains in Granada province, southern Spain. When human remains are found in a village reservoir, Inspector Moreno’s investigations uncover a dangerous world of gangsters, prostitutes and eccentric British expats. Solving crime is thirsty work, but Moreno is seldom far from a glass of something cold – and of course, a delicious tapa to go with it.
Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irvine
Islamic rule, though fragmented, extended over the bulk of Iberia for centuries, even as Christian warlords, pushing south, chipped away at Muslim territory. The work of the Reconquista, as it is called, came to an end with the fall of Granada and the Alhambra Palace.
Tales of the Alhambra is must-reading for the traveler in Spain and the best souvenir of your visit.
Irving is best remembered in this country for his collections of American folklore, like the stories of Rip Van Winkle and the Headless Horseman, but in Spain they remember him for the Alhambra stories. Irving lived in thel old Moorish palace at a time when it was a neglected ruin, and his wonderful descriptions, interspersed with the folk-tales that he collected from the people of Granada, helped to spark interest in repairing and restoring the monument.
The folk tales, told in Irving’s inimitable, witty style, usually deal with romantic elopements, or buried treasure, or both. Fantasy, history and folklore come together in this beautiful collection
The Hand of Fatima by Ildefonso Falcones
Snared between two cultures and two loves, one man is forced to choose…
1564, the Kingdom of Granada. After years of Christian oppression, the Moors take arms and daub the white houses of Sierra Nevada with the blood of their victims.
Amidst the conflict is young Hernando, the son of an Arab woman and the Christian priest who raped her. He is despised and regularly beaten by his own step-father for his ‘tainted’ heritage.
Fuelled with the love of the beautiful Fatima, Hernando hatches a plan to unite the two warring faiths – and the two halves of his identity…
The Last Days of the Bus Club by Chris Stewart
It’s two decades since Chris Stewart moved to his farm on the wrong side of a river in the mountains of southern Spain and his daughter Chlöe is preparing to fly the nest for university. In this latest, typically hilarious dispatch from El Valero we find Chris, now a local literary celebrity, using his fame to help his old sheep-shearing partner find work on a raucous road trip; cooking a TV lunch for visiting British chef, Rick Stein; discovering the pitfalls of Spanish public speaking; and recalling his own first foray into the adult world of work.
Yet it’s at El Valero, his beloved sheep farm, that Chris remains in his element as he, his wife Ana and their assorted dogs, cats and sheep weather a near calamitous flood and emerge as newly certified organic farmers. His cash crop? The lemons and oranges he once so blithely drove over, of course.
The Poet’s Wife by Rebecca Stonehill
Granada, 1920. Free-spirited Luisa and young poet Eduardo fall in love, cementing a bond that can never be broken.
Behind the jasmine filled courtyard, perched amongst houses like clouds on a hilltop, stands a beautiful villa; Carmen de las Estrellas. Beneath its walls live Eduardo and Luisa with their thriving family, but war is looming, casting its shadow over the household.
When Civil War finally breaks out, Luisa and Eduardo must fiercely protect those dear to them. Yet these are turbulent times, and as each of their children begin to make their way in the world, the solace of home cannot shield them from the horrors of war.
The Return by Victoria Hislop
An atmospheric, vibrant and moving tale of pain and passion at the heart of war-torn Spain, from Victoria Hislop, the million-copy bestselling author of THE ISLAND.
Beneath the majestic towers of the Alhambra, Granada’s cobbled streets resonate with music and secrets. Sonia Cameron knows nothing of the city’s shocking past; she is here to dance. But in a quiet café, a chance conversation and an intriguing collection of old photographs draw her into the extraordinary tale of Spain’s devastating civil war.
Seventy years earlier, the café is home to the close-knit Ramírez family. In 1936, an army coup led by Franco shatters the country’s fragile peace, and in the heart of Granada the family witnesses the worst atrocities of conflict. Divided by politics and tragedy, everyone must take a side, fighting a personal battle as Spain rips itself apart.
Granada: The Light of Andalucía by Steven Nightingale
Yearning for a change, Steven Nightingale took his family to live in the ancient Andalucian city of Granada. But as he journeyed through its hidden courtyards, scented gardens and sun-warmed plazas, Steven discovered that Granada’s present cannot be separated from its past, and began an eight-year quest to discover more. Where once Christians, Muslims and Jews lived peacefully together and the arts and sciences flourished, Granada also witnessed brutality: places of worship razed to the ground, books burned, massacre and anarchy. In the 1600s the once-populous city was reduced to 6,000 who lived among rubble. In the next three centuries, the deterioration worsened, and the city became a refuge for anarchists; then during the Spanish Civil War, fascism took hold.
Literary and sensual, Steven Nightingale produces a portrait of a now-thriving city and the joy he discovered there, revealing the resilience and kindness of its people, the resonance of its gardens and architecture and the cyclical nature of darkness and light in the history of Andalucia.
What interesting and amazing books there are set in Granada! If you have any to add to the list, please do so in the Comments below…
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