Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The Dervish
Frances Kazan

Opus Books
February 19, 2013 / ISBN 978-1623160043
Historic Fiction/ Drama circa 1919

Reviewed by Linda Morelli

Frances Kazan’s new book, The Dervish, takes place in Turkey during the years immediately following World War I. The dramatic conclusion to Kazan’s previous novel, Halide’s Gift, this story centers on Mary, a young American war widow who travels to Istanbul to be with her sister and brother-in-law, who works at the American Embassy. Once there, Mary is swept up in the simmering Turkish revolution hastened by the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in WWI.  Mary, an artist, sees Turkey as country that others can't or won't see – a place where East meets West with its attendant beauty, mystery and different customs. Told in the first person (an older Mary reflecting back on those years), Mary describes her reactions to the revolution and the key role women played in hastening the overthrow of the Ottoman Empire. 

For history buffs like me, Mary’s character is symbolic of America’s evolving but still naïve role on the world stage after WWI, a Wilsonian view of a world of self-determination.  I found that her naïveté serves as a counterpoint to the cynical machinations of the British to dominate Turkish politics and squash the emerging revolution, to which Mary is quite sympathetic. This is not an in-depth historical novel rich in character development and plot nuances, but rather an introduction to some of the key figures in Turkey. Though Mary’s eyes, I had an overview of the swirl of events occurring in Turkey and a fascinating introduction to something with which I was utterly unfamiliar: the place and politics of that time.  Frances Kazan has written a suspenseful story of a little known but significant historical event that deserves to be told. An easy and enjoyable read, The Dervish held me spellbound to the very end.

Reviewer Linda Morelli is the award winning author of three published romance novels. 
Reviewed 2013