The Imperial Harem, Constantinople, 1579
Hannah and Isaac Levi, Venetians in exile, have set up a new life for themselves in Constantinople. Isaac runs a newly established business in the growing silk trade, while Hannah, the best midwife in all of Constantinople, plies her trade within the opulent palace of Sultan Murat III, tending to the thousand women of his lively and infamous harem. But one night, when Hannah is unexpectedly summoned to the palace, she's confronted with Leah, a poor Jewish peasant girl who has been abducted and sold into the sultan's harem. The sultan favours her as his next conquest and wants her to produce his heir, but the girl just wants to return to her home and the only life she has ever known. What will Hannah do? Will she risk her life and livelihood to protect this young girl, or will she retain her high esteem in the eye of the sultan?
An adventurous, opulent and deliciously exciting read, peopled with fascinating, unforgettable characters (a court eunuch; the calculating sultan's mother-in-law; the beguiling harem ladies; and a very mysterious young beauty from Venice who shows up on Hannah's doorstep, causing much havoc), this novel is sure to please fans of The Midwife of Venice and extend Roberta's reputation as one of Canada's most loved historical fiction authors.
"The details of 16th-century life in Constantinople are delightfully portrayed, the storyline is compelling. . . . The Harem Midwife is an entertaining read, sure to please those who enjoyed The Midwife of Venice and certain to find new fans as well." —The Vancouver Sun
"Rich describes the opulence of royal life in Constantinople set against conspiracy and betrayal. There is perfidy amidst the lushness of rooms overflowing with silks and jeweled brocades and infused with the scent of orange blossoms. . . . In Rich's Constantinople, the more heavenly the surroundings, the more treacherous the characters, and Hannah must figure out whom to trust." —Toronto Star
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