This is the first novel from Amie O’Brien, but she would tell you her characters are constantly nagging her for their future installments. Madly in love with her husband and children, she hopes to spend more time petting horses, reading books, and pursuing her addiction with world travel.
I don't believe my eyes have ever beheld a more spectacular view than that of the Dolmabahce Palace. It was, without a doubt, the most surreal feeling to explore the same hallways, same ballrooms, and garden paths that Leila would have trod.
But standing inside one of the grand living spaces and seeing the sunlight sparkle against the water in the daylight was breathtaking. I just stood there, moments on end, taking it all in.
It was impossible to stay there overnight, so I conducted my research by renting a room for 3 nights in what used to be the grand vizier's mansion. Also located right on the water and only a small stretch down from the palace, it was everything I could have ever imagined and more.
The Merchant’s Pearl
He said nothing, just looked back to the window, but I noticed a smug smile.
He gestured to the Bosphorus. In awe, I placed a hand on the cool pane of glass. The water looked as if it were practically below our feet. There was only a small strip of land between the palace, white iron gate, and the low, concrete sea wall. If anyone were in a boat coming from the opposite direction, I would swear it would have to look like a floating castle to their naked eye.
“It’s unbelievable.” I let out a little sigh.
“Have you not ever seen it before?”
“No. How could I? We came in by carriage.”
“Yes. I guess you wouldn’t have seen it so close like this. The land side, that’s where the Forbidden Gates are and where everyone like you enters.” He cleared his throat. “Sorry, what I meant to say was…that’s where your dormitory lies. Everyone else would enter by the Shore Gate, or perhaps, the Treasury Gate—not the Harem Gate.”
“How do you sleep at night with such a vision right outside your window?” I asked, peering out at the vast, still waters that gently licked up against the smooth wall. “The reflection of the torch lamps, it’s like the water itself is on fire.”
“I manage. I suppose after enough years even this becomes commonplace.”
“Well, that is a great misfortune, Sire. It is truly the loveliest sight my eyes have ever beheld. And I’m afraid I don’t give credit to much.”