Title: The Debt of Tamar: A Novel
Author: Nicole Dweck
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Published Date: September 8th 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction, Adult Fiction
Page Count: 304
My Rating: ★ ★ ★
Bestselling author Nicole Dweck brings to life one of history's greatest yet overlooked stories of love and resilience.
In 2002, thirty-two-year-old 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 that 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.
From a 16th-century harem to a seaside village in the Holy Land, from Nazi-occupied Paris to modern-day Manhattan, Nicole Dweck's The Debt of Tamar weaves a spellbinding tapestry of love, history, and fate that will enchant readers from the very first page.
"Though the currents of the universe would always push man toward his fate, even a simple-minded trout can sometimes swim against the tide."
This story spans from 16th century Portugal and the Ottoman Empire, Nazi occupied Paris in the 1940s, Present day Turkey and United States of America. While this might sound like it would make the whole story very confusing with so many different time periods and culture changes it never was. Dweck did an amazing job of intertwining the stories together and made them all fit together very nicely and made it so you never got confused on who the characters were.
The story starts in the 16th century with the burning of unrepentant Jews. With this we meet Doña Antonia Nissim, her daughter Reyna and nephew Jose who are Jews living a "fake life" so they can stay safe and not get injured. We get to see their escape into Turkey with the help of Sultan Sulieman the Magnificent. Fast forward the story until Jose's and Reyna's daughter is almost grown and falls in love with the Sultan's son Murat. This makes Jose make a tough decision which makes the debt. Thus, causing the Sultan's curse.
We then jump to present day Turkey where we meet Selim Osman, the last living descendant of the Ottoman Sultans. We also meet Ayda who is a side character that we learn a little about and then don't hear from her again until the end. I'm not going to lie I really did struggle with Selim as a character due to how he was so closed off and didn't want to let Ayda in even after they had been together for quite awhile. I also didn't like how he kept very important information from her. Having said that though because he did keep some information from her, we were able to meet Hanna. With Hanna is where we get taken to Nazi occupied Paris and get to learn what happened to Reyna and Jose's daughter and how her family continued on. With Hanna also the Sultan's curse is finally broken and Selim is able to go about the rest of his short life as a happy man.
While there was an undertone of sadness throughout the whole story it was never overtaking due to the happy family moments that would happen.
Overall I really enjoyed this story and I can't wait to see what Dweck writes in the future.
I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.