Sunday, 11 August 2013

A home for my hero

The Princes' Islands are situated at about an hour's sailing time from the European side of Istanbul. They are a peaceful haven, where wealthy Istanbullus have a summer villa, or if not rich enough to own or rent one, go for a few days holiday in a hotel.  The journey by boat sets the mood - no racing along the motorway, it is a restful interlude. 

When you disembark, the peaceful atmosphere continues. There are no motorised vehicles on the island. Transport is either by bike or by horse drawn carriage. The roads are really quiet.


The villas are mainly set back in beautifully tended gardens.

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. 


  1. I loved this post, Beth. What a beautiful, romantic, inspiring place, and what a great setting for a story. The mansion in the painting is simply stunning. There is always something special about islands, isn't there?

  2. You're quite right, Marie, when you're on an island, life is different and inspiring. Buyukada is delightful and part of the charm is that it's so small.

  3. Wonderful post Beth and love the photos. As always fascinating and so captivating.