This book came highly recommended from my friend, Amy. She was not wrong. This story cannot simply be categorized as historical fiction. It is that, but it is also literary fiction at its finest.
Starting out in the 16th century and spanning time and the globe from Spain during the inquisition to the Ottoman Empire through WWII Paris and on to present day America, the book shows us how we all come from somewhere and truly have lived many lives through our ancestors. It also shows that love transcends time and that sometimes things do not turn out quite the way we would wish them to, but it's the little things that make life worth living and cherishing.
I found myself especially drawn to the characters. I felt an emotional connection and their triumphs and tragedies really struck at the heart. Sometimes a story comes along that is just right and this is that story.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. It is a remarkable debut novel and I'm really looking forward to Ms. Dweck's next book.
About the book
Publication Date: February 4, 2013
Devon House Press
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-threatening 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.
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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.
For more information visit Nicole’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Thank you to the author and to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for letting me post my review after the tour ended.
A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for providing it.