sigh. i really wanted to like this book of two parallel love affairs - one from the 16th century and the other present day. it had all the right elements...meticulously researched, nicely written, desperate lovers, and a harem? wow...now maybe i could learn something! but it just didn't click for me. i never connected with celia, the young englishwoman sold into slavery after surviving a shipwreck, and paul, her merchantman betrothed, even less. never felt the love, esp. since they do not share one scene in the novel. i was confused by the many characters in the harem - who seemed to all be named the same; in fact, few of the characters in the book are fully realized, save elizabeth, our present day (and sad sack) graduate student. it was just a big "eh" for me. i spent a good part of the novel confused about who was who and who was spying on whom and i reached a point where i just didn't care. i feel guilty about that...but am not sure why. and for a book about a harem, i didn't get why 1) there was rarely any sex (not that there's anything wrong with that!); and 2) our heroine, celia, is only summoned once!