A novel by Orvilla Gregg Ünel
Set in the tumultuous period between the Russo-Turkic war and the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Lebriz tells the story of Nesrin, a shy Circassian beauty who’s rushed into a loveless marriage with a powerful landowner's son. By twenty-five, she is the mother of two beloved children, but is forced from her home by constant abuse at the hands of her cruel and callous husband. Her children, Jemil and Lebriz, are soon given away by their father to the Sultan’s emissaries, to be taken to Istanbul to serve in the palace. Jemil is sent to a military household, where he’s taught to forget his past in favor of a glorious future as a warrior, while beautiful Lebriz is sent to the gleaming Yildiz Palace to be groomed as a servant in the Sultan's harem.
"Told mainly through the eyes of Lebriz, who becomes a favorite in the Sultan's harem, and her mother, who never stopped looking for her, the novel lets the reader live through the Russian devastation of Circassian villages, the opulent royal harem, and the end of the Ottoman Empire. The fate of the empire is intimately tied to the fate of these women and the reader is drawn along like a silk scarf slipping through the hand. "
Jenny White, author of the Kamil Pasha mysteries