Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Latest review of "April and May"

The August 2010 edition of the Historical Novels Review says of April and May

  [after a brief description of the plot]    ....an unusual setting, a tense love story against a background of political intrigue and deadly danger. Some of the details of life in a Turkish household are lovingly described, especially the gorgeous fabrics, but I would have liked more about the city itself and its life. Similarly, the final danger Rose encounters is muted, over almost before it began. Nevertheless, this is a good read and a satisfying love story for those who like suspense and physical danger alongside the romance.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Ottoman elements

The first section of April and May takes place in a wealthy seaside Turkish home, called a yali. These mansions were mainly built of wood and the upper stories overhung the ground floor. They had many windows and so were light and airy inside. The ground floor would only have windows in the inner walls, around the courtyard. On the upper floors lattices covered the windows to ensure privacy.

 The Selamlik was the salon where male visitors would be received for a meeting with the man of the house.
The Harem was the women's quarters and the only men admitted into those rooms would be members of the close family.

This picture of ladies in their part of the house is by Osman Hamdi Bey. He went to Paris to study Law but gave it up to become an artist, studying under two French Orientalist painters. If you like his style of painting, type his name into Google for a marvellously rich series of portraits. He was not only an artist but an incredibly talented statesman and archaeologist.