I have to look at this novel from two perspectives, one as a work of a fiction and two as a vehicle for the history that was being fictionalised. If this novel did anything at all for me it exposed my ignorance. And I felt ashamed. Novels like this are important regardless of how well they are written or constructed because they give voice to a series of events that might not be widely known.
I was ignorant of the atrocities perpetrated on the Armenian people. And I owe an immense debt of gratitude to Martine Madden (and Real Readers) for enlightening me. This book made me cry, not for the love story contained within but for the suffering and cruelty inflicted on the Armenian people and after completing this book I have researched Armin Wegners photographs.
As to the novel itself I suppose it is not the best-written book I have ever read and there are aspects of the narrative that I felt I’d read before in terms of plot construction and so some of the outcomes were not surprising or dynamic. The main characters are pretty solid for the most part but there are some who are there just to further the plot and don’t come across as real as Anyush herself and Jahan. I enjoyed the inclusion of Dr. Stewart’s diaries and letters as they enabled a focus on the fact that this book was not merely a love story.
To say I loved this book is wrong but it moved me immensely and it will stay with me for a very long time.