This is definitely a book which you cannot judge by its cover. Set in the late 1800´s, this book follows the life stories of 3 young women from very different backgrounds. Mary, the U.S. presidents daughter who bucks the system by making friends with her slave, Constanze who finds herself in a harem in the Ottoman empire after watching her family slaughtered and her mother taken and tortured, and Spera, a Ukrainian Jew fighting to survive ethnic cleansing and brutality. And what is the tie that binds these 3 different tales of very intelligent women together? Politics, industry and the rail road, of course! That huge corporate, western front on which industry relies and which has always been either loved by or aggressively battled by the populace which it affects.
This is not a book I would have normally chosen for myself to read. The beginning of this book is absolutely brutal and definitely only suggested for mature audiences, metal stomached, adults (I would not recommend this for the under 30 crowd) that understand the history of brutality against women and men of all ages during that time period. I had a difficult time understanding why this book is so brutal, until I read the authors biography. The pen name is a pseudonym which reflects the authors heritage. It suggest a Jewish- Spanish identity of the authors family history in Gaza and Hebron, stretching back hundreds of years. The biography states that the authors family were victims of ‘Ottoman imperialism and Islamic supremacism’, which is very clearly depicted in the book.
Now, that being said, there are good plots in the book and the violence does level out a bit and the plot thickens once you get a bit further into the book. The author has done their homework, as the depiction of the times, politics and way of life is incredibly accurate.
If you are interested in purchasing this book in either e-book or paperback format, it can be purchased at amazon here:
*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this e-book in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
Thanks for reading!