Sunday, May 23, 2010
APRIL AND MAY
It is May 1804 and Tom Hawkesleigh is engaged on urgent secret business for the Sultan. The last thing he needs is for three English ladies to arrive at the embassy, demanding help, especially when he finds that one of them is Rose, the girl he has been trying to forget.
Rose is no better pleased to meet up with Tom, the man who abandoned her.
But life in Constantinople is bewildering and dangerous. And the Sultan's chief minister, Kerim Pasha, draws Rose into the secret plan. Danger follows even when Rose returns to London. Tom is desperate to help but she remains fiercely independent. Yet, underneath, as she discovers what drove Tom away four years previously, all her barriers come down. But by this time it may well be too little too late...
Istanbul [as Constantinople is now called] is a magical city and one I've been visiting for over forty years. One day, while crossing the Bosphorus in an 'ordinary' ferry boat, I saw a small wooden caique with red and gold cloth draped over the cabin and being rowed by a dozen sturdy young men in traditional costume with sleeveless red jackets. It's a tourist attraction and costly, but it must be a wonderful experience to glide from Europe to Asia in such a way. Of course, I had to make use of a caique in my story.
Having a Turkish husband, I've been fortunate to experience much hospitality in many homes and many different regions of Turkey. I've tried to convey the sheer kindness of the welcome they give to visitors.