Saturday 12 October 2019

#BookReview – The Lost Seed of the Pomegranate (The Victorian Journals of a Mother and Daughter) by Gillie Bowen @AmuseBouchecook

The Lost Seed of the Pomegranate
(The Victorian Journals of a
Mother and Daughter)
By Gillie Bowen

New Year's Day 1879.  In a carriage, Emily is on her way to her wedding.

She and Ernest could not be more opposite. An orphan, she was educated at boarding school, courtesy of her wealthy grandfather. Now twenty-one, she is a confident and independent thinker.
Her beloved Ernest grew up surrounded by a dense family of London Quakers, whose beliefs dominate their lifestyle.

Emily faces her new life with apprehension.  Will she adapt to the confines of Ernest’s tight-knit family?  Or will Ernest fulfil his dream to emigrate to Australia, where she will face the unknowns of colonial life?

What will be the future of the child she carries?  A daughter who will break her mother’s heart, but will go on to face tragedy herself?
‘The Lost Seed of the Pomegranate’ is based on the true story of two Victorian women faced with heart-wrenching decisions which will have life-long consequences.

“Australia... That’s where dreams come true.”

Dreams. Emily Saunders had plenty of those, although she had never countered on Australia being one. But now she shares Ernest’s dreams. They could do it. They could really do it. They could leave old England behind and start a new life, far away.

However, the birth of Emily and Ernest's so desperately wanted first child had been traumatic and dangerous. Emily had not had the energy or the health to look after her precious little girl, nor did she feel the great emotional wave of love that other mothers felt because unfortunately, she was never given a chance to. Living in the same house as her husband’s family, Emily finds herself pushed to the background of young Lilian’s life. Ernest’s sisters will not let Emily be the baby’s mother, and her young daughter has been turned against her. But once they were in Australia, and Lilian was under her care, then Emily would be able to become the mother she knows she can be. But first, they have to get there.

Determined not to see their dreams go up in ashes, Emily and Ernest make their plans and buy their tickets, but will fate and Ernest’s overbearing and obnoxious sisters stop this dream from becoming a reality?

From the ringing bells of St. Botolph-without-Bishopsgate Church to the temperate air of Adelaide, Australia, The Lost Seed of the Pomegranate by Gillie Bowen is the poignant and unforgettable account of Emily and Lilian Saunders' lives.

What an emotional rollercoaster, The Lost Seed of the Pomegranate takes you on, and the fact that it is based on actual people made it all the more heartbreaking. 

I instantly connected with Emily. Emily is a wonderfully warm and caring woman who Bowen has portrayed with a graceful sensitivity and a vivid sense of realism. Bowen has with great care and diligence, told her ancestor’s story, and what a story it is. I was swept away by this tautly gripping and fast-moving narrative. Time ceased to matter as I became immersed in this rich tale of complicated family dynamics, and the hopes and dreams of a young family. Believe me, the pages of this book practically turn themselves.

Bowen has captured the very essence of life during this era. Not only is this book rich in historical detailing and authentic to the period that it is set in, but it also captures the attitudes and perceptions of people during this time. There is a hierarchy to the family dynamics where one must respect their elders no matter what, which I thought came across as very real in the telling and very factual as to how things were. I thought the Saunders' family was fabulously portrayed. 

I was particularly interested in Bowen’s depiction of Twining Tea, and she allows us to catch a glimpse of what it was like at Twining’s during this era. I thought Bowen’s depiction of Mr Richard Twining was masterfully portrayed. I enjoyed reading about him and his company.

As with all good stories, there is a villain in the tale, someone who makes your skin crawl. I despised Ernest’s sisters, Annie and Alice. Their cruel and vicious psychological manipulation of Lilian was absolutely deplorable. My heart bled for Emily as she desperately tried to form a relationship with her daughter despite the sisters unwanted and cruel interference. I did try to feel compassion for Annie and Alice, and I tried to understand the reasoning behind their actions, but to use a child in such a dreadfully selfish way made this very hard. I was fearful for Lilian’s future but also for Emily’s mental health. It was absolutely heart-wrenching. 

I enjoyed The Lost Seed of the Pomegranate very much. I think fans of Colleen McCullough's beloved Thorn Birds will find something highly appealing about The Lost Seed of the Pomegranate.  

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.

Pick up your copy of

 The Lost Seed of the Pomegranate  


Gillie Bowen 

I am the author of 'Beneath African Skies', a novel based on the true story of the Hudson family whose forebears, John Hougham and Elizabeth Hudson, were amongst a band of brave young people known as the 1820 White Settlers. They left their Kentish home in England over 190 years ago to make a new life for themselves in South Africa. Four generations later, in 1918, George Hudson was born in Benoni, near Johannesburg. His sister, Molly, was born fifteen months later - she was my mother. Aged 11 and 9, they moved with their mother from South Africa to Kenya, where they grew up.

In the sequel, 'Breaking African Ties', George & Molly return to their homeland, Kenya, after the conclusion of the Second World War. They now face the 'Winds of Change' as Kenya seeks independence under Jomo Kenyatta. They will live through the horrors of the Mau-Mau Rebellion as their children grow up in a new Black Africa. They must decide if their futures lie in a new Kenya after the fight for African Freedom - or will they retrace their ancestor's footsteps back to England?

I am also the author of 'Forged Exit', a romantic thriller. In 1968 Russian tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia, ending the brief 'Prague Spring'. Czech student Daniela, who has fallen in love with a Yorkshire man during her stay in London, is trapped when the Iron Curtain slams down...

'Towering Expectations' is the first novel in 'The Ville Rose Series' a contemporary romantic drama. Based in London and Toulouse, France, the story follows the love affair between Patricia and Freddy, and its devastating repercussions for them and for those that follow. 'Scandalous Revelations' is book two in the trilogy. We fast forward to 2035 when Patricia's daughter, Juliette, discovers she has a half-sister. The sisters' entangled lives are to face a minefield of scandalous revelations. Will their love and friendship survive their father's infamous and immoral past?

I am the co-author of the best-selling cookbook 'amuse-bouche', a collection of French recipes and photographs adapted for the British and American market. An amuse-bouche, roughly translated, is a 'taste tantalizer' or an 'appetite teaser'. Its purpose is to introduce exciting, unusual flavours in tiny quantities at the onset or in the middle of a meal. 'amuse-bouche goes Latin' was published in 2015 and introduces spicy flavours to these French treats.

 I was born in Nakuru in Kenya and have travelled the world extensively over the years. I am a retired British journalist, now living with my husband in the Loire Valley in France. I love to write, to cook, to entertain and to travel.

Connect with Gillie: WebsiteFacebookTwitter

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See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx