Turquoise by Ayshe Talay-Ongan

Posted 23 June, 2012 by Laura in Reviews / 2 Comments

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Turquoise: A Love Story

by Ayshe Talay-Ongan

Set against transcendent love, unrelenting hatred and loyalties to friends and family, Turquoise is the story of an enduring and passionate love affair between Yasmin and Renan, which spans two decades, two marriages and three continents.

Yasmin and her Armenian classmate Ani were oblivious to ethnic differences during their school years in Istanbul. Years later they run into each other, and Ani introduces Renan, her husband, to Yasmin. At that moment under the blazing autumn skies, as Yasmin locks eyes with Renan, she knows that she has come upon her destiny. But political tensions in their land soon force Renan, her secret love, and his family to immigrate to Sydney.

A few years on, Yasmin’s diplomat father is appointed as the Turkish Consul General to Los Angeles where the family faces a devastating tragedy that will impact their lives in ways unfathomable. She is now forced to make a choice between passion that defines her and reason
that guides her.

When so much is stacked against Yasmin and Renan, how can love possibly triumph?

I was approached about reading this book b the publicist and decided to give it a go because I enjoy love stories. I will say I was surprised by how long it was, but the story mostly makes up for that. It also took me a little while to realize that this book was not set in the present. That detail could have been something I simply overlooked. I had a hard time getting my feelings in order by the end of the book, but I’ll come back to that later. I can say that it made me feel a huge range of emotions, but I was mostly sad or frustrated.

I immediately loved Yasmin. I’m not sure what about her drew me in, but I loved her character. There were definitely things that she went through that hit home with me, so maybe I felt some sort of bond with her through those. As the book progressed, she made some questionable decisions, but I never hated her for them. In fact, I think they made her character more complex and real. I wish I had been able to learn more about who Renan is. Because the book is told from Yasmin’s perspective, I only loved him because she did. He always seemed like a great man on the surface, but that was it. He was a surface character. Most of the supporting characters felt that way to me, with the exception of Yasmin’s mother.

The plot is definitely engaging, but it’s not a page-turner. It’s a long, slow account of Yasmin’s life and love affair with Renan. There are parts, during their respective marriages, when Renan is barely present. Those were the parts I struggled with. I went into this wanting my love story, and this is a frustrating one. Yasmin and Renan spend years dancing around their love for each other because they feel an obligation to their families. I had to sometimes remind myself that this was more than a love story. There was a lot concerning Yasmin’s family and that was just as engaging as her love with Renan. The part I had the most trouble with was when Yasmin married. I hated that man from the start (probably due to my allegiance to Renan), so it was almost agony to watch her marry him.

Turquoise is a book that takes patience. It’s one that you savor, rather than race to finish. It worthwhile though. Yasmin is a complex character that feels very real. The plot, though it sometimes made me sad or angry, was very realistic. I recommend this to readers of literary fiction.  

★★★☆☆

I received this book from the publicist in exchange for an honest review.

Sid Harta Publishers, 2012
Paperback, $24.95
IBSN 9781921829062


AysheTalay-Ongan_authorheadshot

About the Author

Ayshe Talay-Ongan is an emeritus academic and still teaches in various forums. She is the author of three textbooks in developmental psychology. She lives in Sydney with her family and Simba, her cat. Turquoise is her first novel. Its sequel, Emerald, is currently under way.

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2 Responses to “Turquoise by Ayshe Talay-Ongan”

  1. what period is this set in? It sounds interesting, but I’ve had that feeling when reading where i wanted to get back to the actual love story. I am glad you connected with the protagonist.

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