Last Letter from Istanbul MOBI ☆ Last Letter eBook

Last Letter from Istanbul Being a fan of Victoria Hislop’s books I was looking forward to reading Last Letter from Istanbul by Lucy Foley Set in Constantinople in 1921 it tells the tale of a forbidden love between Nur and Medical Officer George Monroe I started reading this on Sunday afternoon It’s an easy read and I couldn’t put it down It’s well written and so descriptive you could almost imagine yourself there tasting the local delicacies or feeling the breeze from the BosphorusI thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading from this author Thank you to NetGalley Harper Collins UK and the author for the chance to review Described as ‘an epic story that vividly captures the heartbreaking turmoil of forbidden love against a richly drawn backdrop of a legendary city steeped in history and myth’ Last Letter from Istanbul is a book that encouraged me to carry out a little bit of research as the history of Turkey is something I know very little about In 1921 Istanbul as we now know it was known as Constantinople a city that has seen so many changes over the centuries a city steeped in a history that carries with it the turmoil of a people I recall watching a program that the wonderful Joanna Lumley presented entitled ‘Joanna Lumley’s Greek Odyssey’ and in one episode she spoke with a man who recounted his memories from when the borders were set up between Greece and Turkey when neighbourhoods were torn apart and where there was the forced mass migration of a ethnic culture I shed tears as I watched that program as the inhumanity of this time was so evident in this old man’s face Beyond that I really had no idea of any of the historical details from that time Reading Lucy Foley’s book although a fictional tale stirred my interest again in this eraBy 1921 the Allied soldiers had well established themselves in the city of Constantinople The local inhabitants remained fearful with many also carrying a great hatred against these invaders The Allies took over their homes and buildings taking up residence in what were once the grand homes of Turkish traders and successful business people For one inhabitant Nur this occupation and the war leading up to it has taken everything from her Her gentle brother a teacher never returned home from fighting and is now presumed dead Her mother is unable to cope since and struggles daily to deal with her loss Nur now resides in cramped living conditions with her mother grandmother and a young orphaned boy who Nur has committed herself to looking after Nur’s only little bit of pleasure is her very occasional and very secret visits to her old family home across the Bosphorus riverBefore the war Nur lived a happy and very comfortable existence in a beautiful mansion a place where she had a wonderful upbringing with warm childhood memories But following the war and the occupation of her beloved city all that changed as her home fell under the authority of the British Army and was transformed into a hospitalOn one of these secret visits Nur is discovered by Dr George Monroe a medical officer in the British army and to Nur a sworn enemy This is not to be their first encounter and as a reader we witness how their tentative but very delicate relationship develops over a period of timeLast Letter from Istanbul has a number of stories running in parallel as we get different perspectives from five individuals Nur The Traveller The Boy The Prisoner and George We experience the searing heat of an occupied Constantinople in 1921 but we are also transported back to the brutal elements of the Winter harshness of the Russian front We witness the horrors of the Egyptian Desert with the relentless sun’s insufferable burning of it’s captors and we accompany a man making his journey across Europe back to a place that holds many many memoriesThe story of Nur and George and all the other characters in this novel are interwoven against the most spectacular backdrop of mysterious and far flung locations Lucy Foley writes such beautiful prose Her descriptions are so very vivid Last Letter from Istanbul is not a fast paced page turner but a slow burning tale of passion secrets and lies It is a book that encompasses the writings of many authors whose work I have admired with the atmospheric visuals of a Victoria Hislop novel and the comparable writing in one man’s story that are reminiscent of a Paulo Coelho novel to the brutal and graphic story that for me was a reminder of Sebastian Faulk’s great novel BirdsongLast Letter from Istanbul is a compelling and sweeping tale that crosses decades and takes the reader on a captivating journey through the tumultuous history of a nation that has struggled to maintain an identity a nation that struggles to find peace Atmospheric Evocative Wistful Foley has an exuisite talent for evoking the very essence of place and time; her delineation of setting is lyrical elouent and she uses it beautifully to illuminate a facet of history I was heretofore totally unaware of But a story that should in theory have been compelling felt otherwise entirely aimless Last Letter from Istanbul is a slow moving meandering slog that never achieves anything Also is the title an irrelevant nod to Last Letters from Stalingrad?To get to the crux of things my main criticism is that there is very little by way of plot Now this alone does not necessarily present a problem provided that the novel can offer an aspect to compensate In this case there was none This is certainly not a character study; the characters lack emotional complexity or personality and are otherwise too numerous and indistinguishable to be memorable The narrative is unengaging repetitive unnecessarily convoluted and saturated with exposition and filter words; such a relatively simple story shouldn’t take the wrong side of 500 pages to convey The staccato style multiple perspective was in my opinion unnecessary It hinders the momentum of the novel than it extends its scope none of the characters were ever given the opportunity to develop their own personal story fully The result is a rather sterile and bloodless narrative that never matures into something even vaguely emotionally compelling despite the harrowing events depicted Last Letter From Istanbul delivers little of what is promised by the synopsis laudatory blurbs etc This has been hailed as a “timeless love story” riddled with “haunting secrets” and yet the ‘romance’ to me is achingly bland simply because the two characters in uestion didn’t seem to connect on any sort of emotional level The claim to romance is specious at best As for the ‘secrets’ the mild twist for me was far too little too late Last Letter From Istanbul is another of those books that I persevered with just to see whether it would ever improve For me it didn’t The historical context is interesting but I would have appreciated it had Foley valued economy and clarity Ultimately the lengthy descriptions overpowered what little command the story itself held rather than complementing it couldn't really get into this book and bond with the characters This was my final book of 2018 and the best read to end the yearPg 25 'Sometimes now the old life seems as remote as one read about in a book But this afternoon it seems very close at hand an assault of memory' We meet Nur a young woman living in Constantinople her beloved Istanbul a city brutally overtaken by the Allied Forces She yearns for the life she lost and is reminded daily of the changes she sees the Allied soldiers laughing and taunting her fellow people She is surrounded consumed by her justified bitterness She knows the enemy and judges those who refuse to see the truth those who have accepted their great losses But she also knows that in the face of these losses she has tasted real freedom as well as great ineuality Her liberation has come at a price She is a teacher now and a child's guardian she understands duty and responsibility What then when circumstances have her uestioning her core values? What would her father have said? Or her little brother who was forced to fight in his country's war? A sorrowful war changes a country forever changes its people can the trauma be reversed? Forgiven? Is there room for love in such a hateful sphere?From beginning to end this story had captured my heart I felt broken at its end This book will leave its mark on you it's brave heartbreakingly ordinary and yet altogether timeless in its delicate exploration of a history that is not as lovely as you first think Enjoy this let yourself be swept awayLucy Foley writes with careful regard for her choice of words and it makes the story cautiously inviting Her rich storytelling the intricate weaving of character perspectives but ultimately the belief and hope in humanity makes this a beautifully memorable story As a young Muslim woman myself I felt a kinship with Nur I understood her inner battle rebel uietly or not at all? We shared similar values though I was brought up in a far conservative and religious household And yet I had tasted indepemdence far earlier I possessed the same self confidence But I too was aware of the limits my culture dictated the expectations and I haven't always been permitted to do as I wish I wonder had she been raised as I was would she have made the same choices? I'm going to be recommending this book for a long time Istanbul 1921 Each day Nur gazes across the waters of the Bosphorus to her childhood home a grand white house nestled on the opposite bank The days of her happy memories are now dead The house has been transformed into an army hospital it is a prize of war in the hands of the British As Nur weaves through the streets carrying the embroideries that have become her livelihood Constantinople swarms with Allied soldiers a reminder of how far she and her city have fallen The most precious thing in Nur’s life is the orphan in her care – a boy with a terrible secret When he falls dangerously ill Nur’s world becomes entwined with the enemy’s Nur must return to where she grew up and plead for help from Medical Officer George MonroeWell this is an incredibly boring read I could have uite happily put this down and not finished it and I really do not think I would have minded But persevere I did and I am not sure it was worth it I will start with the positive and that is Foley transports the reader to Constantinople the streets and people come alive and I could really envisage it Of course Foley had a wondrous location to recreate and the scenery descriptions are about the only thing I liked of this book Positive aside and I return to the plot or the non existent plot Okay there is a small plot but it is dealt with incredibly uickly and even then Foley had dragged it out longer than needed there was no immediate pull for me into this book and I was never really gripped by anything or wanted to keep picking up the book This really was a case of me forcing myself to finish itI do not really mind if a book has little plot as long as the characters are good and I can enjoy getting to know them and following their lives Sadly the characters in this are really not developed Some of the characters are not even named Foley does have a good reason for this which becomes clear but it meant I had no clue who they were built no connection with them and uite frankly I got confused as to who each of them were Then this brings me to Nur and George ah named characters I thought but no I still did not get a clear picture of who they are a little background is given at the end and I mean right at the end but it is too little too late Disappointingly the characters are just not developed and I could not root for them‘Last Letter From Istanbul’ just is not for me the scenery is lovely and the history well explained but there was nothing to keep my interest or get excited about I struggled a lot to get into this one There were a LOT of perspectives and time jumps which made it difficult for me to get sucked into the story; I felt like it was darting around too much and I couldn’t focusI also found the tone of the book a little pretentious at times I don’t know what it was exactly that bothered me; I think it was just trying too hard to be this piece of great literary fiction but it did not succeed The writing got uite convoluted and irritating at timesIn terms of characters I didn’t really feel like any of them were very fleshed out I didn’t feel invested in their lives and found them all to be forgettable I felt totally apathetic towards them allAs for the plot I was promised a sweeping historical romance but this was non existent I don’t know maybe I went in with the wrong expectations but I thought there would be some level of intimacy between Nur and George There was none Not until the very end of the book was there a flicker of something but even then there was no chemistry whatsoeverSo sadly I didn’t enjoy this book I’d say I was fairly bored most of the time Maybe it’s partly my own fault for expecting something of a romance but I also don’t think the book was marketed accurately Though I’m still super grateful to the publishers for sending me a free copy and the accompanying gifts Nur has been brought up as the cossetted daughter of a wealthy Turkish man She is accustomed to reaching for the next fig than struggling to survive as she must do following WW1 Instead of a return to normality the bungling allies carve the map and create years of future harm in this case by occupying what they rename as ConstantinopleAn unassuming kind Scottish doctor has volunteered to serve at the local military hospital This is the basis for a love story and dance of keeping within decorous rules which are constantly changing Nur had never worn a veil but it is now considered a sign of respectability in a woman who encounters the occupying enemy – even when he does her less harm than her own familyThis is a breathtaking story which needs a lot of patience because of the silly fashion for breaking the continuity to keep it bite sized presumably for the perceived limited attention span of the reader With four strands of narrative jumbled together one of which is over 40 years later than the others it is very frustrating I just hope when the next fad comes along the book is reissued in a form worthy of it It is very good and the descriptions are really elouent This is a story of IstanbulConstantinople in 1921 during the Allied Occupation A sad but beautiful ode to the people who claimed it as their own and those who occupied it after the war It is about a young teacher who saved one of her Armenian pupils from genocide took care of her elderly grandmother and mother and learnt the hard truths of what war really was from all sides She had to come to terms with some truths that was hard to stomachand forgive The ending elevates this book to something serious and realistic Yes reality at its finest The story nevertheless will capture the heart and mind of the historical fiction afficionados Lyrical prose takes the reader on this unbelievable journey of lesser known history The prose entice the reader into continuing for instance the birds swarming into the garden to feast on the pomegranates are described as a carnival of sound a choas of wings Yet one desciption had me a little baffled the water is elouent The water talks babbles sings tells a story? At least it made me think I loved it though I enjoy this author's books so much that I've read three of them in a short period of time This was the second one and once again an excellent book Historical fiction with an enticing love element thrown in to keep the romance junkies or rather historical romance junkies close to the story Lucy Foley writes women fiction Her work is characterized by women's suffering and well developed male characters The main theme of her books are the promotion of love without marriage of single women independence without the bondage of marriage Love is always challenging and relationships is never guaranteed a happy ending What IS happiness after all right?I really LOVE this author's stories The plots can be confusing at first but the stories are solid especially the endings It's nearer to literature than just a light read I would say but accessible enough for anyone to dive in and discover of the world we are living in Picturesue and atmospheric Heartfelt and memorable A very good read indeed A must read I would say An epic tale that vividly captures the turmoil of forbidden love set against the rich backdrop of a legendary city steeped in history and mythThe perfect read for fans of the sweeping historical novels of Santa Montefiore Victoria HislopConstantinople 1921Each day Nur gazes across the waters of the Bosphorus to her childhood home a grand white house nestled on the opposite bank Memories float on the breeze – the fragrance of the fig trees the saffron sunsets of languid summer evenings But now those days are deadThe house has been transformed into an army hospital it is a prize of war in the hands of the British And as Nur weaves through the streets carrying the embroideries that have become her livelihood Constantinople swarms with Allied soldiers – a reminder of how far her she and her city have fallenThe most precious thing in Nur’s new life is the orphan in her care – a boy with a terrible secret When he falls dangerously ill Nur’s world becomes entwined with the enemy’s She must return to where she grew up and plead for help from Medical Officer George MonroeAs the lines between enemy and friend become fainter a new danger emerges – something even threatening than the lingering shadow of war

About the Author: Lucy Foley

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