Book - 1986
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Baker & Taylor
Recreated from historical facts, this novel tells the story of a young French-American girl sold into the harem of Abdulhamid, who becomes Valide, Empress of the Ottoman Empire

Publisher: New York : Morrow, 1986
ISBN: 9780688043346
Branch Call Number: FIC CHA
Characteristics: 429 p


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EuSei Jun 07, 2012

Quite disappointing book, I couldn’t finish it. There is a repulsive and very graphic scene where a woman "checks" to see if the new 14 year-old white slave is apt to respond sexually to her master... Later on, now turned favorite, Naksh-i-dil has lesbian sex—thanks, but not interested! Mrs. Riboud describes Potemkin as "pouting"! Oh, dear… Also Topkapi has a strange festival where all the harem women get drugged (including the Sultan), eat lost of sweets and have a bacchanal. Tons and tons of descriptions of harem life (what they ate, how they bathed, slept, were shaved, ad nauseam) and the Topkapi, lots of explanations of muslim faith—but almost no story about Naksh-i-dil! Then, as the new Valide (from the ascension of the new Sultan) is a Christian, Naksh-i-dil inexplicably decides to become a muslim! And I can’t believe Naskh-i-dil would have been allowed to keep her rosary. The chapters wander all over creation: from Constantinople to Russia to Paris to somewhere in the ocean, quite confusing and tiresome. Although I don't know enough about the subject of the book, Mrs. Riboud has been accused of plagiarism:


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