The islands have been inhabited for as long as Constantinople itself, so it seemed feasible to give my hero a home on Buyukada, the largest island. Research to decide where and what style of house, was indeed a pleasure for me. The villas are delightful but traditionally they are made of wood and so are not generally very long lasting.
There are only a couple left old enough to represent a building typical of the 18th Century. Judging by this engraving, the older villas were large and elaborate - very suitable for my hero's mother, who is a Turkish princess.
Fortunately for Olivia in Scandalous Lady, the hero's yali is always kept in good order for when members of the family visit from France. Selim sends Olivia here as a place of safety. In his mother's house, she is protected by the laws of hospitality from the Sultan's plan to dispose of her.