This novel is so much more than simply a historical fiction novel. This novel was also an wonderful piece of literary fiction, with hints of romance and a story about the bonds of friendship all set in an exotic location.
When this book came across my nightstand for review, I jumped at it. The cover is eye catching and the title hints at something different and exotic feeling, I didn’t even bother reading the description because I was already sold just from what I saw and this novel did not disappoint!
In 2002, Selim Osman, the last descendant of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, flees Istanbul for New York. In a twist of fate he meets Hannah, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor and an artist striving to understand a father she barely knows.
Unaware the connection they share goes back centuries, the two feel an immediate pull to one another. But as their story intertwines with that of their ancestors, the heroic but ultimately tragic decision that bound two families centuries ago ripples into the future, threatening to tear Hannah and Selim apart.
This novel takes the reader all over the world and through history….from a 16th-century harem to a seaside village in the Holy Land, from Nazi-occupied Paris, to modern-day Manhattan, readers will be captivated by the love, history, and fate happening throughout the story.
Everything nearly everything about this book. I loved the generational feel of the novel and the scope of time covered. I loved encountering many different people and tales that worked together to form a larger story if that makes sense. The characters are all memorable and well drawn. One of the things I liked best about this novel was how much the character’s secrets impacted them and shaped their characters. Some times in novels some characters have secrets but the secrets don’t ‘define’ who they are, but in this novel the opposite is true. The secrets that the characters carry with them have long reaching effects and in many cases define who they are. I thought this made the characters complex and intriguing in a different way that is not traditional.
This book was not a long one…..it easily could have been because of the extensive amounts of history it covers. That was one of the things that I thought might have helped this book. While the characters were well developed and interesting, there was so much ‘story’ and history to cover in such a short time that I felt like the book wanted to be longer. I think each character’s ‘journey’ could have been so much more had the novel been allowed to be longer. It was almost like the author tried to condense the novel into a certain amount of pages rather than letting the stories become fully realized.
But other than that, everything else in the novel worked well. The descriptions of the exotic locations were breathtaking! After reading this book I want to visit Istanbul so bad! It sounds so gorgeous! It takes a very talented writer to construct a story of this magnitude but Dweck does a marvelous job creating an interesting, unique story set in an exotic setting, and covering lots of major historical periods that are full of intrigue!
This is a great read if you are looking for something a little different and off the beaten track!
Kindle edition, 304 pagesPublished September 8th 2015 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published February 4th 2013)
- Review copy provided by: Publisher/Author in exchange for an honest review
This book counts toward: NA
- Hosted by: NA
- Books for Challenge Completed: NA
Recommendation: 4 out of 5
Genre: Historical fiction