cheryl's Reviews > The Oracle of Stamboul

The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas
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's review
Dec 29, 2010

it was amazing
Read from December 29, 2010 to January 02, 2011

(neglected to post this written in Feb 2011 right after reading the advance copy supplied by Harper...)

In this debut novel, the author introduces us to Eleanora, a girl whose 1877 birth is accompanied by signs and who grows into a precocious and talented young girl. She is born as her small town is being invaded and her mother dies moments after naming her daughter. Eleanora is raised by her father and step-mother (her mother's sister) in a small town until she stows away to accompany her father on a trip to Istanbul. Her story there intersects with a low-level statesman, an American professor, and the Sultan of the fading Ottoman empire.

The book is simply lovely. The prose is well-crafted and the characters multi-faceted. I want to share tea and scones with Eleanora, a brilliant young lady who does not fully understand her gifts and who is looking for stability and familial love. I can relate to Eleanora's love for reading and passion for the characters in the books she read (furtively at first, thanks to her aunt's ideas of educating girls). The author clearly shares this joy of books and it comes through at every turn. He has crafted a tale for book lovers and for people who believe in the power of the written word and the spirit of wisdom.

On a side note, my book is an advance reader's edition so it might not hold true in all cases, but I appreciated the book's physicality as well. It is a 300 page paperback and its rough-cut edges feel perfectly matched to the content and spirit of the book.

Highly recommend.

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