Seraglio by Janet Wallach
A Novel

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Transporting readers to the menacing yet majestic world of eighteenth-century Turkey, biographer and Middle East expert Janet Wallach brilliantly re-imagines the life of Aimee Dubucq, cousin of Empress Josephine, in her first novel Seraglio.

At the age of thirteen, when en route from France to her home in Martinique, Aimee Dubucq is kidnapped by Algerian pirates. Blonde and blue-eyed, the genteel young girl is a valuable commodity, and she is soon placed in service in the Seraglio - the Ottoman Sultan’s private world - in Topkapi Palace. As Dubucq, renamed Nakshidil ("embroidered on the heart") discovers the erotic secrets that win favor of kings and deftly learns the affairs of the empire, she struggles to retain her former identity, including her Catholic faith. Overtime Nakshidil becomes the intimate of several powerful sultans: wife to one, lover and confidante to another, and adoptive mother to a third. Her life often treads the tenuous line between sumptuous pleasures and mere survival until her final years when she is awarded control of the harem as the valide, mother of the Sultan.

With phenomenal research and a mesmerizing voice, Janet Wallach provides a powerful and passionate glimpse of East-West history through one woman’s distinctly European eyes.

About Janet Wallach

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A frequent contributor to publications such as The Washington Post Magazine, JANET WALLACH is the author of Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell, Chanel: Her Style and Her Life, and three books on the Middle East (co-authored with her husband). She divides her time between New York City and Connecticut.
Published January 21, 2003 by Nan A. Talese. 336 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Forbidden to venture beyond the palace walls, watched day and night by court eunuchs, and denied even the rudiments of education, the women filled their days by bathing, receiving instruction (from the eunuchs) in every imaginable sexual technique, and gossiping.

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(Jan. 21)Forecast:This novel might easily be lost in a sea of similarly titled and jacketed historical romances, but Wallach's reputation as an author of serious nonfiction and an expert on the Middle East (she and her husband, John Wallach, have coauthored three books on the region) should help ...

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