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The Aviary Gate Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The style of writing is languorous and beautifully descriptive - it matches the setting perfectly. It gives a fascinating insight in how the west perceives harems and what goes on behind the scenes.
All I can say is: find a copy, read it and then see what you think about it. Some people, like the previous reviewer, would not like it, but others, like me, will love it, purely because the style is so very different.
Katie Hickman is a fantastic researcher and has written some excellent books, notably her Daughters of Britannia book which excels at giving a voice to women who are seen in so many instances, but hardly ever heard.
The story brilliantly weaves historical fact with romantic fiction. It was an insight into Eastern culture and harems that few of us would ever have otherwise had. I couldn't put the book down but at the same time I didn't want it to finish so I'd carefully meter my daily reading.
Honestly, if you're looking for a sensory book that will play up to your senses, intellect and romantic nature, then The Aviary Gate has to top your list.
That's not to say that I didn't enjoy it, because I did. Hickman has clearly done her research because the tale is well-written and richly described, and unlike other reviewers, I thought it portrayed the claustrophobia & creepiness of the Sultan's harem very well. I thought that the story of Celia Lamprey (the heroine set in the 16th century) worked very well. What I felt the story lacked was a plausible modern day heroine. For me, she was quite two dimensional, lacking depth and indeed likeability. The manner in which her romantic feelings were described did not seem real to me. If her part had been more engaging, I would have rated this book as a four star read.
Well worth reading nonetheless.
Ben Kane, author of Hannibal: Enemy of Rome.
There are two time frames used in the novel; the current day story of historical researcher, Elizabeth Staveley, is used as a tool to provide the background to the more interesting historical section. Elizabeth finds a fragment of a manuscript suggesting that Celia, an English girl, may have been ship-wrecked by pirates at the end of the sixteenth century and subsequently sold into the harem of Sultan Mehmet III of Constantinople (now Istanbul). The novel follows a few months in Celia's life in 1599. Having been bought by the Sultan's favourite concubine, as a gift for her mother-in-law, we follow Celia's rise within the harem and the intrigue and sceming that goes on within those walls.
Paul Pindar is her fiance and assumes her drowned in the ship-wreck, until his cook, John Carew, chances to see her while visiting in the palace. Both the historical and the modern time frames then follow these characters in a search for the outcome of this love match. Did Paul manage to rescue Celia from the harem? What were their ultimate fates?
While parts of this novel were excellent (such as the description of the gelding of a young boy so that he might become a much prized eunuch), other parts were less well written. The modern story, in particular, had a rather chick-lit feel to it.
In discussion, our book group hilighted many incidences of dubious behaviour or inconsistencies, and I have to admit that these criticisms were valid. Some of these instances did detract from my reading, but mostly my enjoyment of the novel allowed me to ignore them.Read more ›
But what you're left with at the end is the feeling that Elizabeth and Celia never found emotional fulfilment in their lives - not Celia, from her absentee and rather vapid beau - and definitely not cheated-on Elizabeth. Instead, viewed from a few weeks away, the book looks more like a love-story *between* Celia and Elizabeth, and not necessarily a platonic one either, as hinted at by the novel's steamy harem settings. I find it interesting that the story I remember is different to the one I read... that Katie Hickman has managed to conjure all this in the shimmering air above the book is really something special.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an intriguing historical novel. I am personally becoming a little weary of the format that has a historical story intertwined with a modern day story - I'm not always sure... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Peter Godfrey
Well written with 16th century intertwined with modern day. Was recommended by a friend and it did not disappoint. Read morePublished on 20 May 2014 by Mrs. V. O'Connor
I bought this having seen the you tube clip of the author talking about the inspiration behind it and thought it sounded fascinating.
I was deeply disappointed. Read more
Enjoyed the story ,having been i the palace recently it was all very real to me .loved the movement between agesPublished on 25 May 2013 by Rosario lenihan
Interesting weaving of historical and current times. Particularly pertinent to one of the branches of my ancestry research. Clearly well-researched and written.Published on 18 April 2013 by Vivien Turner
I really enjoyed this interesting historical novel, I enjoy very much reading about this era but mainly the books cover British history so it was great to have an insight to what... Read morePublished on 28 Jan. 2013 by H. Akkary
I haven't read this book yet, but am looking forward to it. Would recommend to friends and family.Good seller. Thanks.Published on 24 Jan. 2013 by Amazon Customer