by: Nicole Dweck
Publication Date: February 4, 2013
Devon House Press
Devon House Press
Dona Antonio Nissim daughter is being courted for marriage from the royal family. Having to keep turning them down and running out of excuses she decides to send her family away before their secret is revealed. Her daughter, Reyna and her nephew Jose have no idea that Nissim has been hiding the fact that they are Jewish. They flee to Turkey where along the journey Reyna and Jose fall in love. This is where the true story starts, with the birth of their daughter Tamar. Because the family is taken in by the Sultan and Jose elevated to a high position in the court, Tamar is raised and educated in the harem alongside the sultan’s heir, Murat. Of course, these two fall in love but Jose knows that this cannot happen. He concocts a plan to send his daughter away, but not before Murat was able to give Tamar a beautiful ruby ring. Murat not knowing what happened to his love believes himself cursed which continues on until present day.
The heart of the story is good. Unfortunately the structuring was a bit confusing. There was a lot of rewinding and fast forwarding going on making it hard to connect with anyone’s story for very long. I did finally understand by the end when the author tied everything. The best part of this story is all the history that is intertwined in here. We get to live in 16th century Spain, Turkey, Israel, France and a glimpse into the life of an orphan of the Holocaust. That is a lot of information packed into this book and I think the author did the best that she could with it. I think it is a great start to a promising author.
Nicole Dweck is a writer whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country.
As a descendant of Sephardic (Spanish) refugees who escaped the Inquisition and settled on Ottoman territory, Dweck has always been interested in Sephardic history and the plight of refugees during the Spanish Inquisition. The Debt of Tamar, her debut novel, was a two-time finalist in the UK’s Cinnamon Press Novel Award Competition. It has also received an honorable award mention in the category of Mainstream/Literary Fiction from Writers Digest and was the highest rated book for two weeks running on the Harper Collin’s “Authonomy” website. It has claimed a #1 Bestseller spot in the Amazon Kindle Middle East Fiction category, a #1 Bestseller spot in Amazon Kindle Jewish Fiction category, and has been included as one of the “Hot 100″ Kindle bestsellers in the category of Historical Fiction.
Dweck holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters Degree in Global Studies with a focus on Middle East Affairs (NYU) . Her non-fiction articles have appeared in several magazines and newspapers including The New York Observer and Haute Living Magazine.
She lives in New York City with her husband and son.
For more information visit Nicole’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.