Destiny is a strange concept. It can, at one point, bring two people together, tear them apart and then bring them back together centuries later.
The Debt Of Tamar by Nicole Dweck, is about a couple brought together during the 16th century, pulled apart and then brought back together in modern-day New York City.
In the 16th century Ottoman Empire, Murad is the Muslim heir to the throne. Tamar is the daughter of the prince’s most respected counselor. She is a Jew whose parents barely escaped the flames of the Inquisition. They are young, in love and eager to start a life together. But despite her parent’s loyalty and appreciation of the new life they have built in Turkey, having a son-in-law who is not of the Jewish faith is not something they are looking forward to. Tamar is sent away. Murad spends the rest of his days pining for the love his youth. He dies many years later with the all too brief memories of their time together fresh in his mind.
Centuries later, Selim Osman is the last living heir of the ruling family of the Ottoman Empire. His life has not been an easy one. Upon hearing a medical diagnosis of cancer, he flies to New York City for treatment. In the hospital room in New York with Selim is a man with a heavy past. His daughter, Hannah, an artist, is trying to crack the code that is her father. Hannah and Selim are brought together, as were Murad and Tamar centuries before. But the past has a way of inserting itself into the present and Hannah and Selim must contend with both.
This book was recommended to me and I am glad it was. If the sign of a good book is that I wished for a slightly longer train ride, then this is a good book. Writing a historical novel is a challenge for many writers, as there is a delicate balance between an engaging narrative and ensuring that the details of the period are accurate. Ms. Dweck conquered that challenge seemingly without a struggle. While the last few pages bewildered me, overall, it was a great read and I highly recommend it.