An interesting book.
WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT
Brothers bound by blood but fated to be enemies. Can their Empire survive or will it crumble into myth?
Since his younger brother usurped the Imperial throne, Sultan Murad V has been imprisoned with his family for nearly thirty years.
The new century heralds immense change. Anarchy and revolution threaten the established order. Powerful enemies plot the fall of the once mighty Ottoman Empire. Only death will bring freedom to the enlightened former sultan. But the waters of the Bosphorus run deep: assassins lurk in shadows, intrigue abounds, and scandal in the family threatens to bring destruction of all that he holds dear…
For over six hundred years the history of the Turks and their vast and powerful Empire has been inextricably linked to the Ottoman dynasty. Can this extraordinary family, and the Empire they built, survive into the new century?
Set against the magnificent backdrop of Imperial Istanbul, The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus is a spellbinding tale of love, duty and sacrifice.
Evocative and utterly beguiling, The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus is perfect for fans of Colin Falconer, Kate Morton and Philippa Gregory.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK
The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus byAyşe Osmanoğlu provides an intimate account of the imprisonment of Sultan Murad V, the rightful ruler of the Ottoman Empire, by his brother Sultan Abdülhamid. This imprisonment lasted for twenty-eight years. Not only Murad but his entire family were subjected to this torture. By wrongly proving Murad to be mentally unstable, Abdülhamid banished Murad into confinement in Çırağan Palace. Although the usurper ensured no lack of material comforts for Murad and his family, they were, however, barred from having any contact with any person outside the Çırağan Palace. No one was allowed to visit them, nor did the usurper permit any correspondence with the outside world.
The author poignantly conveys the injustice that Murad endured for twenty-eight long years. She beautifully brings out Murad’s despair at the confinement he was forced to endure. She also expresses the guilt he felt upon seeing his family suffering alongside him. Murad finally succumbed to grief and died in his “gilded cage”.
Before you flee saying the book has a gloomy tone, read further. The inhabitants of Çırağan Palace bravely accepted their fate and carried on with their lives heroically. They kept themselves preoccupied with pursuits of various skills. Murad was blessed with a loving family who took utmost care of him and each other. Ayşe regaled me with exquisite descriptions of the rich interior of the different palaces mentioned in the text. I was also delighted to read about the Turkish cuisine being served at the special occasions in Çırağan Palace.
Moreover, she also depicts the geopolitical conditions of the neighboring nations of Turkey that made the political situation of Turkey precarious and ripe for dethroning and assassination schemes. Thus, The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus is not just a story of a wronged family, but also of the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century.
However, I felt the book to be more of a history novel than historical fiction. Many times, I felt there was an overload of information while at times, I felt the descriptions of even simple activities like conversations between family members went on for pages. This dragged the novel.
Overall, I found The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus by Ayşe Osmanoğlu to be an interesting book. History lovers will find invaluable information about nineteenth-century Istanbul.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Many thanks to Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources for organizing this blog tour. Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book. This does not affect my opinion on the book. I opted to provide an honest review on my blog.
Ayşe Osmanoğlu is a member of the Imperial Ottoman family, being descended from Sultan Murad V through her grandfather and from Sultan Mehmed V (Mehmed Reşad) through her grandmother. After reading History and Politics at the University of Exeter, she then obtained an M.A. in Turkish Studies at SOAS, University of London, specialising in Ottoman History. She lives in the UK with her husband and five children.