Dining in the Harem

HIS OBSESSION, my debut historical novel from Siren BookStrand, (http://www.bookstrand.com/his-obsession) hit the Top 30 Bookstrand Best Seller list yesterday AND I received my first reader review – A FIVE STAR. I’m SO excited.

HIS OBSESSION relates the adventures of Emeliese Alexander, a student at an elite Parisian finishing school, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the pirate Republic of Bou Regreg (Rabat which is in what is now Morocco was the capital.) Devastated by Robert Montclair’s betrayal and doomed to live in a pirate’s harem, Emmy created a life for herself and her unborn child believing that she would spend the remiander of her life enslaved. 

 The paintings of Rudolph Ernst were an inspiration for the descriptions of the harem where Emmy lived.  Ernst was a prominent painter in the Orientalist School of the 19th century which portrayed the rich, foreign, and somewhat salacious culture of the Ottoman Empire and North Africa. Unlike most artists, Ernst – a Vienna native who lived in Paris – traveled extensively in the area and painted from personal observations. It is doubtful that Ernst would have been allowed into the harems that he painted. The painting – The Meal – depicts the master’s family eating together. Islam allowed him four wives and as many slave concubines as he could afford. The children, even the young males, lived in the harem with their mothers. Notice they are eating with their hands out of a central dish. They use their RIGHT hands to reach into their dish. Their LEFT hands are reserved for other activities. I’m sure Emmy in HIS OBSESSION would have demanded a spoon. BTW, thanks to my husband who worked in Saudi Arabi for two years and contributed bits of trivia included here. Tomorrow, more Orientalist paintings. Rita Bay

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Dining in the Harem

  1. That’s wonderful, Rita! Well done. I love the Oriental paintings.

    • Thanks so much, Romy. I’m going to edit it to add about eating out of a central dish. They use their RIGHT hand to get their food. Their LEFT hand is reserved for other activities. My husband lived in Saudi Arabi and contributed trivia included here. Rita

  2. I have the book and am looking forward to reading it. The harem has always fascinated me. Mostly because we know so little.

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