The Debt of Tamar by Nicole Dweck was definitely a bit different from my "normal" type of book. The deep history in Jewish/Turkish/Persian history though with ties to modern day though made me intrigued.
Basic summary without spoilers:
The story starts in 1542 Portugal and follows a wealthy Jewish family runing to Istanbul to escape religous persecution. From there it sets up the stage of a tragic love story between Tamar and the sultan's son, Murat, and how it leads to a curse which then affects the rest of Murats and Tamars families. In the second part of the story, we fast forward to modern day Istanbul, the third part is Paris during World War Two, then back to modern day to conclude the book.
I loved the premise. I've found that I enjoy books which connect different family members and different time periods through the ages and seeing them all come together. It's a great way to show how we can connect to the past and how people have always been the same, no matter what time period. I also really loved looking more into the Jewish/Muslim/Christian dynamics as well and learning about different pieces of history that I hadn't known much about before.
However, I felt like everything fell just slightly short. I got into the story, but no so much where I couldn't put the book down. The characters were interesting, but not quite three-dimensional enough to make them jump out of the page. Everything seemed to be a little bit simplified. I could see where the author was going and what she wanted the reader to feel and she set everything up well, but I think she could have dug even deeper. While I really enjoyed the set up in the first part of the book and all of the history, I think she should have made it shorter. While reading I had thought these were going to be the main characters, but they weren't at all. I feel like she could have made the first part a prolouge or had it dispersed throughout the book instead of dedicating the first quarter (or more) to these characters. This way she could have given more depth to the WWII and present day story lines and characters which are the ones with whom I felt the reader was supposed to connect with the most
The end was a bit different than I had anticipated (which is rare), but it suited the message the author was trying to express and still gave good closure to the story.
Overall, I gave The Debt of Tamar three stars on Goodreads. While I did enjoy the story and the characters very much, I felt as though she could have dug deeper and made it even richer.
I received my copy of this novel as an eARC free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I am also linking up with Meg for Mingle Monday which can be found here: http://www.lifeofmeg.com/2014/02/mingle-monday-link-up.html