Tuesday, March 18, 2014
The Debt of Tamar by Nicole Dweck…
During the second half of the 16th century, a wealthy widow by the name of Doña Antonia Nissim is arrested and charged with being a secret Jew. The punishment? Death by burning. Enter Suleiman the Magnificent, an Ottoman "Schindler," and the most celebrated sultan in all of Turkish history. With the help of the Sultan, the widow and her children manage their escape to Istanbul. Life is seemingly idyllic for the family in their new home, that is, until the Sultan's son meets and falls in love with Tamar, Doña Antonia's beautiful and free-spirited granddaughter. A quiet love affair ensues until one day, the girl vanishes.
Over four centuries later, thirty-two year old Selim Osman, a playboy prince with a thriving real estate empire, is suddenly diagnosed with a life-theatening condition. Abandoning the mother of his unborn child, he vanishes from Istanbul without an explanation. In a Manhattan hospital, he meets Hannah, a talented artist and the daughter of a French Holocaust survivor. As their story intertwines with that of their ancestors, readers are taken back to Nazi-occupied Paris, and to a sea-side village in the Holy Land where a world of secrets is illuminated.
Theirs is a love that has been dormant for centuries, spanning continents, generations, oceans, and religions. Bound by a debt that has lingered through time, they must right the wrongs of the past if they're ever to break the shackles of their future.
What did I think? Anytime I have an opportunity to read historical fiction that blends an exotic landscape and a love story that spans centuries, I'm in. And that's what The Debt of Tamar promised on first sight. What made it even better is that author Nicole Dweck delivered an amazing story and beautiful, lyrical writing!
The opening of the story introduces us to the family of Dona Antonia, a wealthy woman living her life in Portugal 1542 A.D. with her daughter Reyna and nephew Jose. The Royal family comes calling to arrange the marriage of their son and Reyna. Wouldn't you think that Dona Antonia would be thrilled? The fact of the matter is that Dona Antonia holds a secret that we are just going to learn about in the most horrifying way, and that secret precludes her from blessing any marriage between the Royal Family of Portugal and her daughter…
Thus begins the saga of Dona Antonia's family. And a story that held my attention from the very start. It is a telling tale of persecution, prejudices, fear and love. And the fact that the story spans centuries makes it all the more appetizing. I liked the historical perspective of the different prejudices and tolerances experienced in being Jewish in the different countries and times. And I liked the exotic locals, which were painted so well. The characters were so alive, and the dialogue felt real.
If you enjoy historical fiction, put this on your TBR list. If you enjoy family sagas that continue through generations and centuries, you will enjoy this. A nice touch is that Nicole Dweck did a great job of seamlessly putting together. Sometimes you can get lost with the characters and their connections when you are talking centuries, but not in this story.
Great story, well written and held my attention… The Debt of Tamar gets an A in my book.
P.S. I LOVE the cover! Isn't is beautiful?!
About the Author…
Nicole Dweck is a writer whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country.
As a descendant of Sephardic (Spanish) refugees who escaped the Inquisition and settled on Ottoman territory, Dweck has always been interested in Sephardic history and the plight of refugees during the Spanish Inquisition. The Debt of Tamar, her debut novel, was a two-time finalist in the UK’s Cinnamon Press Novel Award Competition. It has also received an honorable award mention in the category of Mainstream/Literary Fiction from Writers Digest and was the highest rated book for two weeks running on the Harper Collin’s “Authonomy” website. It has claimed a #1 Bestseller spot in the Amazon Kindle Middle East Fiction category, a #1 Bestseller spot in Amazon Kindle Jewish Fiction category, and has been included as one of the “Hot 100″ Kindle bestsellers in the category of Historical Fiction.
Dweck holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters Degree in Global Studies with a focus on Middle East Affairs (NYU) . Her non-fiction articles have appeared in several magazines and newspapers including The New York Observer and Haute Living Magazine.
She lives in New York City with her husband and son.
You can learn more about Nicole at her Website and can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads!
I want to thank Amy of Historical Fiction Virtual Tours for inviting me to participate in The Debt of Tamar's Virtual Tour! I thoroughly enjoyed the read!