Top positive review
Good, engrossing story - educational to boot
Reviewed in the United States on July 2, 2016
This is a interesting book. Those who don't like it (see their 1 star reviews) take issue with the writing style. I would say the style is journalistic. The psychological and character exploration tends to be somewhat subtle - similar to an impressionist painting where messages and information are sometimes hinted at -- without allowing the reader to delve deep and identify with the characters. But this is not a flaw - unless the reader is expecting a different writing style. So, this fault is rather the fault of the reader's own expectation.
The story is very captivating and educational. It's great to read and learn about the WW II experience and actions of a country other than England, France, Germany, and the US. Turkey deserves a great deal of admiration for its efforts to protect its citizens regardless of religious beliefs. It's to be hoped that this book will inspire the country to remain true to its commitment to its citizens of all faiths -- something that can't be taken for granted today.
As to the story, it's principally about 2 sisters who took different paths in life - one with a traditionally-accepted marriage with social prestige and the other who chose a Jewish man and was disowned by her family. The one with the traditional marriage suffers from the guilt borne of her own jealousy of her younger and taller sister - despite her own celebrated beauty. Her deep seated guilt turned her into a cold wife and mother. With the help of a psychiatrist - who actually fell in live with her - she may be able to rise out of that long unacknowledged jealousy and guilt and save her own motherhood and marriage. The other sister is somewhat opaque from the psychological angle. She is intelligent, strong-willed, and compassionate - something of a superwoman. She moved with her husband to France hoping to establish a life far from ostracism of the families but instead found herself in occupied France, where the noose of danger was tightening around Jews of all nationalities living in France. Her struggle is not a psychological one like her sister's but the real and physical danger and degradation based on her husband's faith.