“Without toi, there’s no moi.” ― Janet Skeslien Charles, The Paris Library
By 1939 Odile couldn’t ask anything better from her life. A new job at American Library in Paris brought her not only joy but many great new friends. Her relationship with the family couldn’t be better, loving parents and supportive twin brother. And of course, nouvel amour, that took her breath away. Odile’s happiness was short-lived as her beloved country and city were occupied by Nazi’s and her idyllic life came to an end. As the War progressed and brought sorrow into her life, Odile began to make decisions that affected the lives of the ones she dearly loved.
By 1983 Odile found herself in a new country, living a new lonely life when a knock on the door gave her an opportunity to make an impact on a young girl’s life. Meeting Lily and getting to know her family, and later supporting the young girl thru grief and grand change in her young life made Odile take a look back at her life, and for the first time open up and tell her story, and share her shame.
Odile and Lily’s friendship warmed my heart. Despite the significant age difference, they learned a lot from each other’s character. I wanted to love this novel, the build-up to Odile’s final twist in the novel was grander than the actual ending to her Parisian affair. It was a good but slow read. I read the book in my free time but I didn’t free my time to read the book. Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books publisher for a free and advanced copy of the novel.
I enjoyed parts of the book. Although I am not in my forties, however, I found many similarities between my and the author’s experiences. Overall the book was very entertaining and offers some good guidance. I have expected the book to be more educating, however, the author’s writing was focused on her personal experience and outcome. I found good info in the book. It was like discussing my own experience with a friend.
I did feel bad for the author, she went thru a rough experience not just pregnancy-wise, but more mental discouragement and judgment. It is sad to see there are people who would judge the new mother because of her age. And instead of accepting the judgment, an author took this experience and made it into a book. I applaud her for her sense of humor, for standing up to the “bullies” and proving that motherhood may be challenging in the forties, but not less exciting and enjoyable.
Good and quick read. Thank you NetGalley for a free and advanced copy of the book.
“An intelligent, kind, understanding, openhearted, candid, talented, generous, emotional and grateful woman who cares about the soul rather than the body; who is not carried away with ordinary glimmers such as money, prone to science and art; in short, a perfect woman.” Pavlo Zahrebelny
Tatars’ attack on Ukrainian villages was a typical incident back in the 1500s. During one of the attacks on Rohatyn, Nasty among other young men and women was taken into slavery. On the day of the attack, Nastya was on her way to the church, to wed. Young Nastya’s beauty was immediately noted by Tatars, which resulted in better treatment. Once in Istambul, instead of giving up hope for the future, Nasty decides to learn the language and new tradition in order to be sold into a better home as a maid. As the luck shined on the Ukrainian slave, she was purchased by the highest house in the whole Ottoman Empire and joined Sultans Harem.
It took a very short time for Nastya to meet Suleiman. And even less time for the Ottoman Emperor to fall for a beautiful and smart Ukrainian girl. Nastya used Suleiman’s affection to become the Haseki Sultan, and eventually filled the space in his heart. After converting to Islam, she became the chief consort and legal (and ONLY) wife of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. She has become one of the most powerful and influential women in Ottoman history.
Her road to power was not easy. But determination, strong will, intelligence rewarded her with the power she never hoped to achieve. She was cruel and stony-hearted and would execute anyone who stood in her way. But she opened her heart and arms to the poor and less fortunate. Her legacy keeps thriving.
Phenomenal story of a simple Slovak girl who made a huge impact on the Ottoman Empire. Great and fast read full of many interesting facts of Slovak and Ottoman history.