This has been on my to-read pile for several years now. I finally got my hands on a hardback copy and read it, without remembering why I put it on my list in the first place.

It might have been on a historical fiction kick, and truthfully, this story that interweaves several different time periods together as a Jewish family and the descendants of Suleiman the Sultan meet up over different time periods does contain some interesting history.

Particularly the beginning, wherein Portuguese noblewoman who must act Catholic but is a secret Jew — Doña Antonia Nissim, her daughter Reyna, and her nephew Jose, escape from Portugal  to be sheltered in Turkey–is very, very interesting. But just as I got invested in Reyna and Jose’s forbidden love story, the book jumps to the next set of descendants.

And then it ends up with Selim Osman, the final descendant of the Sultan and Hanna Herzikova, the child of persecuted Jews meeting up in New York. I was mesmerized by Selim’s relationship with Ayda, but the part about Hannah and the hospital and the painting….I skimmed. It just didn’t flow for me or quite make sense coming so close to after Ayda saving him.

So a bit uneven. The historical bits were much more interesting to me, possibly because of my lack of knowledge of the lives of Turkish Jews, than the WWII and later bits.

Advertisements