RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewRadiant and brilliantly crafted ... Isn\'t a typical sports novel ... Resists the easy satisfactions of the sentimental and never settles for simple answers to emotional predicaments faced by her characters ... Elegant ... Poignant.
PositiveThe Tampa Bay TimesWith this new novel, Shafak has given us a work of historical fiction deeply rooted in a particular moment while transcending the time and place of its setting to reimagine a transformative era in all its complexity ... The story's (fictional) protagonist, Jahan, is apprenticed to the great (and historical) Mimar Sinan, a prolific 16th century architect and builder under Suleiman the Magnificent and two of his successors ... The novel is densely episodic... Yet there is great beauty in Shafak's evocations of the era, and the novel can be read as a series of fascinating vignettes on the relationship between art and religion, creativity and devotion ... Nowhere is the novel's sense of place more deftly established than in Shafak's passages on the character of Istanbul ...vibrant, lush and lively, a fitting tribute to the era it so richly reimagines.