The Debt of Tamar by Nicole Dweck

February 19, 2014

When my co-blogger Jenifer told me I had to read this book, I knew it would be a good one. She always knows which ones I will love. Needless to say, she didn't let me down! This was DEFINITELY an amazing book and one in which I couldn't put down. Let's just say I had an unproductive day at work and decided to read this book in a little over 1 day :) This will be added to my book collection in my room very shortly.

This book takes you through several generations, each connecting with one another. It's about cause and effect, choices and consequences. It centers on how one action and its effects can span future generations. I loved seeing how everything was related and how the actions which occurred in the past still had very much of an impact in present day life.

The Debt of Tamar starts off in the 16th century when the Nissim family (Reyna, Jose, and his aunt Dona Antonia) are fleeding to Istanbul to escape religious persecution. From there, they are safe under the protection of Suleiman the Magnificent. There, Reyna and Jose fell in love and after 4 years and 3 unsuccessful attempts, she finally had a girl - Tamar.

As Tamar was growing up, the Sultan's wife, NurBanu Sultana, offered Reyna and invitation for Tamar to be educated inside the harem alongside the other royal children. Without being disrespectful, Reyna and Jose unwillingly gave their consent not knowing that Tamar would live at the harem herself. 10 years pass, and as Tamar grew up she became close to the Sultan's son, Murat. Before Murat was shipped out of the palace (when princes start growing old they are not allowed to stay), they both knew they loved one another and Murat gave Tamar a ruby ring with an inscription on it and stated that in a year they would wed. However, when Jose found out about his daughter's arrangement he quickly sent Tamar off to stay in Tiberius. Jose lied to the Sultan stating that his daughter died of a fever which he in turn told Murat. Murat had a dream shortly after, and after the consultation with a dream interpreter, he found out about the debt. "His forefathers have saved her and her people. The Nissim children will carry this debt through time until it's repaid. When you save a soul, you do so by making it part of your own. When you save a life, you save it forever. Tamar will inherit the debt of her father, and Murat will inherit the deed." Thus begins the tragic love story of Tamar and Murat.

Fast forward to present day to Selim Osman, the sole living descendent of the Ottoman Sultan. He meets the daughter of a French holocaust survivor. Nothing but bad things have happened to Selim so could the love of this couple set them free from an evil that has followed these two families throughout the ages? Will this debt every be repaid?

What a beautiful book! The Debt of Tamar is an experience, it transports you across borders and cultures. Nicole Dweck pulls the reader in from the first page up until the last word. The way she describes the characters, places, and surroundings is so beautifully written they are very easy to imagine. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to escape to another place and time!


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