This review was too beautiful to be left in social media so i wanted to make it immortal here!
Thanks a million to Hayley (shelflyfe) for putting her heart out there. Here is how it goes:
Today is my stop on the blogtour for 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗦𝗜𝗟𝗘𝗡𝗖𝗘 𝗢𝗙 𝗦𝗖𝗛𝗘𝗛𝗘𝗥𝗔𝗭𝗔𝗗𝗘 by Defne Suman. Thank you to Jade at House of Zeus for having me along on the tour, and for sending me a proof copy of the book.
𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗜 𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗿𝗴𝗲𝗱 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝘀𝗵𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗱𝗶𝘀𝗲 𝗹𝗼𝘀𝘁
𝗧𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝘀𝗮𝗶𝗱 𝗺𝘆 𝗻𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗮𝘇𝗮𝗱𝗲.
𝗢𝗻𝗲 𝗵𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝘆𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘀 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗽𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗺𝘆 𝗯𝗶𝗿𝘁𝗵
𝗕𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝗼𝗳 𝗺𝘆 𝘀𝗶𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲
𝗛𝗮𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲.
The Silence of Scheherazade tells the story of four families – a Levantine, a Greek, A Turkish, and an Armenian family – in the ancient city of Smyrna, in the wake of World War 1.
𝗔 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆 𝗶𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝘁𝗼𝗹𝗱 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗱𝘀 𝗮𝗹𝗼𝗻𝗲. 𝗗𝗼𝘇𝗲𝗻𝘀, 𝗵𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗿𝗲𝗱𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝘂𝘁𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝘁𝗮𝗶𝗹𝘀 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗱𝘀. 𝗢𝗻𝗹𝘆 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲 𝗺𝗲, 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝗵𝗮𝘀 𝗴𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝘂𝗽 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗱𝘀, 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀.The story opens in September 1905, at a moment that impacts all four families, and sets them on a trajectory, sealing their fate:
Scheherazade is born, from a Mother who is high on opium, and at the same time an Indian spy arrives, sent on a secret mission by the British Empire – not that he seems to be a very good spy!
𝗜𝘁 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗺𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗵 𝗼𝗳 𝗦𝗲𝗽𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿.
𝗕𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗮 𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗱𝗶𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗦𝗲𝗽𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿.
𝗜𝘁 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗱𝗶𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗮𝘂𝘀𝗲, 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗻𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗜 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗯𝗼𝗿𝗻, 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗶𝘁𝘆’𝘀 𝗱𝗼𝗺𝗲𝘀, 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗿𝗲𝘁𝘀, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗶𝗻𝘆 𝗵𝗼𝘂𝘀𝗲𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗰𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗰-𝘁𝗶𝗹𝗲𝗱 𝗿𝗼𝗼𝗳𝘀 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲 𝗴𝗼𝗹𝗱. 𝗦𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝘆𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘀 𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗿, 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗯𝗲 𝘃𝗼𝗺𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗳𝗹𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀 𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲 𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗿𝘆 𝗺𝗼𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿.
The story itself is a great historical fiction tale, and it is clear that Suman has put a lot of research and passion into The Silence of Scheherazade.I especially liked the depiction of the family units, and the culture and customs that surround them. I always love hearing and learning about other customs, and this really added to the characterisation and immersion for me. It made the families seem very real.
𝗗𝘂𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝘂𝗻𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗵𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗵, 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗳𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗵𝗮𝗱 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗴𝘂𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗱𝗼𝗼𝗿𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗽 𝘀𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗯𝗿𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝘀’ 𝘀𝗼𝘂𝗹𝘀 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱𝗻’𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗶𝗻, 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗴𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗵𝗮𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗱𝗼𝗻𝗲? 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗴𝗵𝗼𝘀𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗞𝗼𝘀𝘁𝗮 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗠𝗮𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗶 𝗵𝗮𝗱 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗻𝘂𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗵𝗮𝘂𝗻𝘁 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗻𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗰𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗻𝘆 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗵𝗼𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗲𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮 𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗳 𝘆𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘀.
The scenery and settings are also beautifully portrayed by Suman, and give a real sense of time and place.
The atmosphere that these descriptions add feels tangible, and really contributes to the reader’s engrossment in the story.𝗜𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗺𝘂𝗴𝗴𝘆 𝗽𝗼𝗼𝗹𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗻𝗲𝗶𝗴𝗵𝗯𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘀 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗴𝘀 𝗵𝗮𝗱 𝗹𝗼𝗻𝗴 𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗮𝘄𝗮𝗸𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗯𝗲𝗴𝘂𝗻 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗿𝗼𝗮𝗸. 𝗚𝗿𝗲𝘆 𝗰𝗹𝗼𝘂𝗱𝘀, 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗱𝗿𝗮𝘄𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗹𝗼𝗮𝗱𝘀 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗮, 𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝘀𝗰𝘂𝗱𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼𝘄𝗮𝗿𝗱𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗺𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀, 𝗯𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗶𝗻 𝗮𝗻 𝘂𝗻𝘂𝘀𝘂𝗮𝗹 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗲𝗻 𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁.
The tension and heightened anxiety of a city and community on the cusp of World War 1 are well captured by Suman.
There is a sense that there is turmoil throughout Smyrna, but also further abroad, and that some big changes are coming.
This sentiment feels like it is forever present, as there is still discontent the world over, from both the young and the old.𝗜𝘁 𝗶𝘀𝗻’𝘁 𝗼𝗻𝗹𝘆 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗮𝗳𝗶𝗿𝗲, 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗵𝗼𝗹𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱. 𝗦𝘂𝗹𝘁𝗮𝗻𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝗰𝗮𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗵𝗼𝗹𝗱 𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀. 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗱𝗶𝘀𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲. 𝗪𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲, 𝗳𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘂𝗻𝗲’𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗲𝗹 𝗰𝗮𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗻.
Scheherazade herself is a very interesting character. She is a mute, and grows up as a witness to the grief, death and destruction that is enacted on her city.
In a similar way to her namesake (the narrator of One Thousand and One Nights), she presents her story to us, so that we too can bear witness to the destruction of her city.
𝗔𝗵, 𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗧𝘂𝗿𝗸𝘀 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽 𝗘𝘂𝗿𝗼𝗽𝗲. 𝗘𝘂𝗿𝗼𝗽𝗲 𝘀𝘂𝗰𝗸𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗺𝗮𝗿𝗿𝗼𝘄 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗯𝗼𝗻𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗰𝗿𝘆 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗘𝘂𝗿𝗼𝗽𝗲. 𝗟𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗳𝘂𝗹 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗴𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁 𝗢𝘁𝘁𝗼𝗺𝗮𝗻 𝗘𝗺𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲. 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮 𝘀𝗵𝗮𝗺𝗲.I’d recommend The Silence of Scheherazade to fans of historical fiction, as it is an interesting and beautifully told story.