Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review: The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas

Young Eleonora Cohen, a Jewess born in 1877, is a girl of many talents. She can read and write in 7 languages, she learned to read and memorized entire books by the age of eight. Eleonora is a quiet, reserved girl who loves to read and is constantly thinking.

When her doting father, Yakob, plans a business trip to Stamboul, Eleonora does not plan to stay behind in the care of her resentful aunt and stepmother, Ruxandra. She stows away in one of Yakob's trunks. It is there, on the shores of Bosporus, Eleonora meets her father's business partner and friend, Moncef Bey, and realizes a new life awaits her.

This new life includes tragedy, an American Tutor who could be a spy, and meetings with the Sultan Abdulhamid II.

Let me first start by saying I don't love historical fiction. I don't know why, I just usually don't necessarily enjoy it.

I had heard that the beginning of The Oracle of Stamboul was a little slow, and I found this to be the case. Luckily I pushed through and found the jewel within.

The writing is simply fantastic! The descriptions were natural and flowing. I felt like, for a time, I was tucked into this world or warm sunshine where everything smelled like lilacs with a hint of orange. I was a little hesitant to enjoy a book where the main character is 8-years-old, but as you will find, she is no ordinary girl. And truly, this is no ordinary book.

The jury is still out on whether or not I appreciated the ending, but I suppose it's the only way Eleonora would have wanted her story to end.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher through the Goodreads Firstreads program.

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