Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Josephine's Cousin, Sultana, by Prince Michael of Greece (1983).
On Sultana by Prince Michael of Greece (1983), a book used in my dissertation and in The Subversion of Romance in the Novels of Barbara Pym:
Aimée du Buc de Rivéry was the daughter of wealthy plantation owners on the island of Martinique, and cousin to Josephine Bonaparte (well, she wasn't Bonaparte back then). Aimée was sent to convent school in France, but things were get a bit hot in France and she was shipped back home - but the ship was supposedly attacked by Barbary Pirates. Was she sold off to the Ottoman empire and into the Sultan's harem? Was Aimée Nakşidil Sultan, the mother of Mahmud II?
We'll never know, but the legend sure does provide plenty of fodder for the adventurous novelist.
The good: The book is written in the first person, with Aimée at the end of her life reflecting back on her memoirs/diary. Despite my dislike of the first person narrative, it worked very well in the first half of the book with events centered around the intrigues and treachery in the Seraglio. Plenty of dirty dealings, poisonings and knives in the back. (amazon.com)