Looking forward to the joys of connubial bliss, newlyweds Lady Emily and Colin Hargreaves set out toward Turkey for an exotic honeymoon. But on their first night in the city, a harem girl is found murdered—strangled in the courtyard of the Sultan’s lavish Topkapi Palace. Sir Richard St. Clare, an Englishman who works at the embassy in Constantinople, is present and recognizes the girl as his own daughter who was kidnapped twenty years earlier. Emily and Colin promise the heartbroken father they’ll find her killer.As a woman, Emily is given access to the forbidden world of the harem and quickly discovers that its mysterious, sheltered walls offer no protection from a ruthless murderer. Soon, the Valide (mother to the Sultan) is found strangled with a silken bowstring and the head Eunuch is brutally slain. When the killer strikes again, kidnapping a concubine and threatening to kill her unless Emily agrees to meet him in secret, she cannot wait for Colin or the authorities to come to her rescue. In a heart-stopping finale, Emily must rely on her own sharp wits if she is to stop a killer bent on taking revenge no matter how many innocent lives he leaves in his wake.
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When I first started working on the ideas for Tears of Pearl, I had expected there would be strict limits to what I could have Emily do in Constantinople. Like most contemporary Americans, I assumed women--particularly Western European women--wouldn't be able to move effortlessly through the city, wouldn't have any access to the sultan or the harem. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, whose husband was the British ambassador to the Ottomans in the early 18th century, wrote a series of letters that radically opened my mind. She visited with the sultan, bathed with his concubines (and revealed that the Turkish baths were not, in fact, lascivious and degenerate), and became familiar with the city and its culture. Her letters were greatly influential to subsequent English women travelers, who followed her example and explored the Ottoman capital with abandon over the next two centuries. In the 19th century, Lady Layard, another British ambassador's wife, became close friends with the sultan, dining with him and his family, watching him play with his children in the harem, and making frequent visits to the palace. As accuracy is of vital importance to me, I was thrilled to see there was historical precedent that made it possible for me to send Emily into these places without having to stretch credulity.About the Author:
The daughter of two philosophy professors, I grew up surrounded by books. I was convinced from an early age that I was born in the wrong century and spent much of my childhood under the dining room table pretending it was a covered wagon. Even there, I was never without a book in hand and loved reading and history more than anything. I studied English Literature and Medieval History at the University of Notre Dame. Writing is a natural offshoot of reading, and my first novel, And Only to Deceive, was published in 2005. I'm the New York Times Bestselling author of the long-running Lady Emily Series as well as the novel Elizabeth: The Golden Age. One of the best parts of being an author is seeing your books translated, and I'm currently in love with the Japanese editions of the Emily books.
I played nomad for a long time, living in Indiana, Amsterdam, London, Wyoming, Vermont, Connecticut, and Tennessee before settling down. My husband, the brilliant British novelist Andrew Grant (I may be biased but that doesn't mean I'm wrong) and I now divide our time between Chicago and Wyoming. He makes sure I get my English characters right, and I make sure his American ones sound American.
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