Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Aviary Gate by Katie Hickman

Mystery, History, and Love Story during the Ottoman Empire

Haunting & refreshingly different, the story begins when a small scrap of old manuscript, dating to 1599, is accidentally discovered among the texts of Elizabeth’s studies. Elizabeth feels she must learn the fate of Celia, the betrothed daughter of the ship’s captain after his ship has floundered & Celia has been captured & brought to the Sultan’s harem. So begins our student’s research, delving into the realm of the Sultans and Harems of the old Ottoman empire in her search for what became of Celia, whose life was obviously the focus of the original manuscript.

This book is an easy and fascinating read, hard to put down. The chapters are well-defined so that switching over the 400 years from the happenings of the past to current times is as smooth as one could wish for. Rather than distracting, this shift makes the story more powerful and flowing.

The book is well-written, great continuity in both centuries and very informative as well. Katie Hickman’s research is very well done and there are many real people represented in the book as well as the fictional characters. This is no over-the-top sensationalized piece of fiction. I will not give away the main thrust of the story, but definitely recommend the book as a well-painted portrait of a different life. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be watching for future books from this author.

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