Special Feature: The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak

Like many of you, I am always on the look out for new books that come highly recommended by others. Not only do I check in with my favorite book bloggers and reviews for recommendations, but I also consult some of the big celebrity names that are tried and true readers like Reece Witherspoon, Opera, Barak Obama, and now The Duchess of Cornwall.

The Duchess of Cornwall recently released her Reading Room that will explore some of her favorite reads and feature conversations with the authors. She recently released the first four books last week and one in particular caught my eye, The Architect’s Apprentice by Erika Shafak. Some of the other books featured on her list were no brainers like Where the Crawdads Sing and The Mirror and The Light, but The Architect’s Apprentice had more of an exotic and unexpected feel for me which is why I zeroed in on it!

This novel has received tons of praise and has been nominated for some awards. It is a love story with a mystery set in an exotic location in the 1500s. If that doesn’t catch your eye then maybe a description of the characters will entice you…..an animal tamer falls in love with the sultans daughter set within the court and palace walls of the Ottoman empire. It sounds fantastic and I hope you check this one out. I know I plan on reading this one soon!


In her latest novel, Elif Shafak spins an epic tale spanning nearly a century in the life of the Ottoman Empire. In 1540, twelve-year-old Jahan arrives in Istanbul. As an animal tamer in the sultan’s menagerie, he looks after the exceptionally smart elephant Chota and befriends (and falls for) the sultan’s beautiful daughter, Princess Mihrimah.

A palace education leads Jahan to Mimar Sinan, the empire’s chief architect, who takes Jahan under his wing as they construct (with Chota’s help) some of the most magnificent buildings in history. Yet even as they build Sinan’s triumphant masterpieces—the incredible Suleymaniye and Selimiye mosques—dangerous undercurrents begin to emerge, with jealousy erupting among Sinan’s four apprentices.

A memorable story of artistic freedom, creativity, and the clash between science and fundamentalism, Shafak’s intricate novel brims with vibrant characters, intriguing adventure, and the lavish backdrop of the Ottoman court, where love and loyalty are no match for raw power. (summary from Goodreads)


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