Lukas, Michael David "The Oracle of Stamboul" - 2011
Istanbul, or rather Stamboul, at the end of the 19th century. A young Jewish girl is born in what now is Romania, her mother dies in childbirth and the girl ends up in Muslim Istanbul. She is extremely intelligent and has extraordinary gifts which is not overlooked by important people in the town.
An amazing story like from 1001 Nights, it makes you dream of faraway shores and days gone by. The times are not better, on the contrary, but the life, oh, the life seems so much more exciting.
From the back cover:
"A magical historical novel about an astonishing eight year old girl in the last days of the Ottoman Empire.
It is 1877, on the shores of the Black Sea, and the omens for the newborn Eleanora Cohen are hardly promising. Not only does her mother die in childbirth, but her village is being attacked by the Tsar's Royal Cavalry. However, despite this bad beginning, a sour stepmother and a traumatic journey in the hold of a ship, young Eleanora grows into a remarkably clever but very engaging child. And when a heartbreaking tragedy leaves her marooned in Istanbul, where spies and boarded-up harems and sudden death are as much a part of life as delicious spices, Paris fashions and rosewater, it is Eleanora's extraordinary courage and character which lead her straight to the Sultan’s court, and to her salvation."