Book Review: The Debt of Tamar by Nicole Dweck

The Debt of Tamar

In 2002, thirty-two-year-old Selim Osman, the last descendant of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, flees Istanbul for New York. In a twist of fate he meets Hannah, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor and an artist striving to understand a father she barely knows. Unaware the connection they share goes back centuries, the two feel an immediate pull to one another. But as their story intertwines with that of their ancestors, the heroic but ultimately tragic decision that bound two families centuries ago ripples into the future, threatening to tear Hannah and Selim apart.

From a 16th-century harem to a seaside village in the Holy Land, from Nazi-occupied Paris to modern-day Manhattan, Nicole Dweck’s The Debt of Tamar weaves a spellbinding tapestry of love, history, and fate that will enchant readers from the very first page.


What first captured my attention about this book was that it was first self-published and then was picked up by St. Martin Press. Then of course the cover and premise had me intrigued. As I began to read the story I was instantly drawn in. I was completely selfish with my free time in reading this story. What is best to describe the story when looking at the cover is that it is a multi-generation story.

The story begins in 1544, Portugal. So beautifully portrayed. I was enthralled with Jose and Reyna’s story. Not only that, Dona Antonia-their Aunt-was an outstanding character. I loved reading about her and I was greedy to read more of her life. Alas, her story was short lived. As the narratives shifted to the other generations, I couldn’t help feel sadden by leaving Antonia, Joes and Reyna. Their story was so powerful and can really be written in a novel by itself. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the other stories as well. Each story of the lives of the characters in this unforgettable tale was written beautifully and one can’t help come away with this story with a sense of longing.

One thing that bothered me is that I wanted to know what happen to Tamar.

Wonderfully atmospheric, memorable characters, and exquisite details of centuries told. I’ve rating this book four stars.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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