Monday, February 24, 2014

The Debt of Tamar by Nicole Dweck

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Read: January 14, 2014

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 seaside 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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My name is Erin Davies and I am a cover slut. I see an attractive jacket and any and all impulse control goes straight out the window. Half the time I throw caution to the wind and don't even read the description... okay more than half the time, but it's my lie, I'll tell it the way I want. 

Now I know I should be ashamed at the shallowness of my selection process, but the truth is I'm not. It isn't a finite rule or anything, but quality jackets generally grace quality content. More importantly though, this tendency leads me to sample a lot of titles I would've otherwise passed without a second thought. Titles that turned out to be well-worth my time. Titles like Nicole Dweck's The Debt of Tamar.

A nontraditional and abstract romance, Dweck's is a beautifully poignant tale of love, loss, and redemption that touches multiple generations over more than five hundred years. Boasting a wide array of characters, I greatly appreciated the contrast Dweck created among the various protagonists and found much to admire in the philosophical complexities of their collective story.

Unfortunately for me, I found one of the novel's greatest strengths was also a significant frustration. I very much liked Dona Antonia Nissim and would have loved to spend hours in her company, but the shifting focus of the narrative quashed that desire almost as soon as it was born. This happened again and again, with Jose, Reyna, Tamar, Murat, Davide, Edward, Selim, Ayda and Hannah. There is an ethereal beauty in the interconnected tapestry of their lives, but I'm a selfish reader and felt somewhat cheated by the brevity of time I was allowed to spend with each of Dweck's brilliantly imagined cast. I understand the nature of this story is not conducive to such treatment, but I genuinely feel their personal journeys have potential beyond that depicted within these pages. 

My petty grievances aside, I found The Debt of Tamar a beautiful story that transcends traditional boundaries with timeless themes and evocative prose. A truly captivating debut that holds much promise for its author.

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Below, people were walking and moving about their business as usual. The gardeners tended the bushes, as though they still believed it were possible for life to grow. Jaffar, along with the other African eunuchs, continued to guard the gates under the mistaken impression that there was anything left on this earth still worth protecting. A bird chirped a contemptuous song of oblivion. White doves brazenly spread their wings and dove recklessly through the wanton sky.
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Check out all the stops on Nicole Dweck's The Debt of Tamar virtual book tour

Monday, February 24
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, February 25
Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, February 26
Review at Unabridged Chick
Thursday, February 27
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Friday, February 28
Review at History Undressed
Monday, March 3
Review at The Written World
Review at The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Review & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry
Tuesday, March 4
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, March 5
Review at Just One More Chapter
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Thursday, March 6
Review at Stephanie Thornton Website
Friday, March 7
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Tuesday, March 11
Review at One Book at a Time
Review & Giveaway at The Eclectic Reader
Wednesday, March 12
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, March 13
Review at Kelsey’s Book Corner
Friday, March 14
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, March 17
Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, March 18
Review at Chick With Books
Wednesday, March 19
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, March 20
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Friday, March 21
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Monday, March 24
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Tuesday, March 25
Review at The Novel Life
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, March 26
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Thursday, March 27
Review at Kincavel Korner
Friday, March 28
Review at The True Book Addict
Review & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Interview at Kincavel Korner

1 comment:

Colleen Turner said...

Wow this book sounds awesome! And I agree with you, I see a gorgeous cover and it calls to me!