Eleonora is not just a bright child. Born in a town on the outskirts of the greatly diminished Ottoman Empire, she’s got an adult sense of gravity that only increases as she learns and grows. When she ends up in the ancient river port city of Stamboul, the eight-year-old Eleonora finds herself in the thick of political happenings that will change both the course of her life and the reign of His Excellency, the Sultan.
This is a lovely piece of historical fiction. Told mostly through the eyes of a child, the book also provides a glimpse of the intricate decisions of the Sultan as well as the delicate strength of a girl wise beyond her years. What I really loved was the slightest touch of magical realism, really, just a pinch, enough to make it feel like Eleanora was really on the brink of being someone too much for this world. And the setting with its political intrigue, obscure historical sites and multicultural landscape really captured my attention.
I loved the poetic writing style and the switching of the narrative from character to character. I loved finding out how far Eleonora’s intelligence could go. I loved how clearly these characters valued the written word. My only complaint was that the ending wasn’t as climactic or fleshed out as I would’ve liked, but it still definitely earns a high recommendation from me.
Rated: None. Seriously. Nothing offensive. How amazing is THAT?