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Between Love and Honor [Kindle Edition]

Alexandra Lapierre , Jane Lizop
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jamal Eddin Shamil is only eight years old when he is stolen from his native Caucasus Mountains and whisked away by Russian soldiers to the glittering court at St. Petersburg. There Czar Nicholas takes a special interest in his exotic Muslim hostage, the eldest son of Chechen warrior chief Imam Shamil. In St. Petersburg, Jamal Eddin is immersed in imperial life, educated alongside the czar’s own sons and gradually maturing into the consummate courtier. Through it all, he remains true to the Muslim faith of his father—until he falls in love with a beautiful Russian aristocrat. To marry her he must convert to Christianity, a sacrifice Jamal Eddin is prepared to make for the woman he loves. But he doesn’t realize that there are greater forces at work, forces that have lain in wait for Jamal Eddin to come of age and serve the purpose for which he was groomed. And when he is called to return to his native land and take his rightful place as leader of the Muslims, Jamal Eddin must choose: reject his people to follow his heart or abandon his bride to fulfill his duty.

Based on an astonishing true story, Between Love and Honor is a sweeping historical novel in the grand style of Alexandre Dumas and a breathtaking love story of sacrifice and devotion.

Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Alexandra Lapierre

Question: What inspired you to write this story?

Alexandra Lapierre: I have always been interested in people who have done incredible things and yet been completely forgotten by history.

In the case of Between Love and Honor, I found a true story that is not only an extraordinary adventure, but a moving human drama of a young man caught between two cultures, Muslim and Christian, striving—mightily--to live with integrity and be part of both. Interestingly, Jamal Eddin’s struggle and his story illuminate much of what is still going on in a part of the world that is, for the most part, poorly understood. On top of all this, Jamal Eddin fell madly in love with a remarkable young woman, and their tragic tale of star-crossed love was also an inspiration.

Q: In the course of your research, what was the most surprising thing you learned?

AL: The biggest shock came when I finally got hold of Lisa’s diary.

I had heard that Jamal Eddin had been in love with a Russian aristocrat, but I simply did not believe it. I thought this detail was too good to be true. It was impossible that a young woman from an aristocratic family should have been given permission to wed the son of a rebel, a man who was Russia’s sworn enemy. And yet when I finally got Lisa’s diary, a document I chased for months more out of sense of due diligence and professional conscience than anything else, I was stunned. Though she was writing as an old woman, one who had since been twice married and had children, it opened with her recollections of Jamal Eddin! On the eve of the Russian revolution, it was this chapter of her life that she wanted to share with her grandchildren.

Q: As a biographer and writer of historical fiction, what qualities do you look for in prospective subject? What kinds of personalities do you most like to write about?

AL: I am obsessed by people who truly dared to live, men and women who took their destinies in their own hands. For example, Fanny Stevenson, the woman who would become the wife of the writer Robert Louis Stevenson, moved with her three children to Paris in order to become a painter. For a single mother in the 19th century, possessed of neither fortune nor connections, this was unthinkable. When she fell in love with Stevenson, she was eleven years his senior and he was no famous writer, just a kid dying of consumption. But she loved him, and against all odds married him, and was not only his muse but his partner. Another of these daring souls is Artemisia Gentileschi, the 17th century Italian painter. She lived at a time when there was simply no possibility that she could have a career; legally, women belonged to men, therefore she could not buy her paints, sign a contract, or travel. But thanks to her genius and determination to become the best painter of her day (not the best female painter, mind you, but the best painter. Period.) she broke all the rules, and her work is still admired today.

Q: You've won many awards for your writing--which honor is most meaningful to you and why?

AL: This is difficult to say, but being elected Woman of Culture by the City of Rome was very moving. I have always dreamed of being a cultural go-between; it is no accident that I am so drawn to Jamal Eddin, who is a true bridge between worlds. To be chosen by a country not my own was a particular honor. The same was true when, in the United States, I was made a member of the Association of American University Women. I like to believe that we need not be circumscribed by our own nationalities and countries of birth, that it is possible to be a citizen of the world… This is also why I am so determined to learn languages: you cannot understand a culture without understanding its language.


Praise for Between Love and Honor:

"This is a beautiful book based on strong research, illuminated with very successful novelized touches.” -- Jean Soublin, Le Monde

"Built as an adventure novel, but based on rigorous work of research, this book tells the true story of a noble and powerful man torn between two cultures and two loyalties. . . . The result is a fascinating epic." -- Robert-Yves Quiriconi, Associated Press

"This powerful novel is the result of colossal research serving an exalted plot." -- Nathalie Six, Le Figaro Littéraire

"A novel in the grand style of Alexandre Dumas, where the magic of the story blends with love, war, religion… A total success!" -- Philippe Vallet, France Info

Product Details

  • File Size: 754 KB
  • Print Length: 538 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1611091454
  • Publisher: AmazonCrossingEnglish (April 10, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006YYGWF8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,103 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting Story of Man Caught Between Two Cultures July 14, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a gripping true story of a young man trapped between two cultures, two religions, and two fathers, who must finally chose between them. His choice will mean losing everything that one culture has to offer him.

As the novel opens, a strange scene is taking place in 1855. A lieutenant from the Russian emperor's army is being handed over to a group of Muslim warriors in the Caucasus Mountains in exchange for some Russian women and children who have been taken hostage by the Muslim warriors. The story then goes back in time to explain how the lieutenant ended up in this situation.

Jamal Eddin is the oldest child of Shamil, the Lion of Dagestan and Chechnya, a Muslim spiritual and military leader who has fought a decades-long war to keep his people independent of the Russian empire. Jamal is handed over to the Russians as a child hostage at age 8, and then kidnapped and raised as the adoptive son of the Russian emperor. Both of Jamal's fathers -- his biological father and his adoptive father -- are personally heroic and kindly men to those in their inner circles, but also cruel and bigoted rulers, who can be merciless even to those close to them. Each father wants Jamal's complete loyalty.

We follow Jamal's struggle from childhood to adolescence to young adulthood, trying to hold on to his memories of his Islamic past while adapting to a confusing life in a brutal Russian military school and being a favorite of the Imperial family at court. Just when Jamal seems to have adapted completely to the Russian Christian culture and has fallen deeply in love with a suitable fiancee, he is recalled to the Caucasus. Jamal must decide: will he refuse to be exchanged for the women and children hostages, and retain his increasingly happy life in Russia?
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars couldn't put it down April 25, 2012
I've now read this book in english as well as in it's original french, and absolutely loved it. I find the english version true and precise. The story itself is moving, and the historical context helps one understand a little better the bitter conflicts that continually tear the region apart. couldn't put it down; I strongly recommend Between Love And Honor both for to fans of history and lovers of good romance. great job!
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91 of 109 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
1.5 stars (I don't quite hate it, but 2 stars seems too generous.)

I'm sorry, but I just have to throw in the towel. I gave it the ol' college try (which is a phrase I've used before, but this time is apt as I'm actually going to college; part-time, true, but it counts and... I'm babbling, so I'll be moving on). I gave myself until 150 pages for the story to finally get good and capture my attention/imagination, but it never happened. One hundred and fifty pages in, I put the book down and almost sobbed with happiness because I didn't have to keep trying anymore.

The author obviously did her research. There's a great deal of historical detail: cultural, military, religious, geographical. And it's done in a way which doesn't beat you over the head in a "look at me and all the research I did!" sort of way. Yet, for all that, it didn't capture me or immerse me in either the setting, the story, or the characters. Writing about a culture completely foreign to me, the author failed to connect me to the story even on a basic human level--it started foreign and it stayed foreign. As I read, I couldn't help but keep thinking about Conn Iggulden's masterful Genghis series and compare his writing to Lapierre's. Both stories deal with cultures completely foreign to Western lifestyles and mores, Iggulden's with the Mongol empire of the late 12th and early 13th centuries, Lapierre's with the Muslim tribes of early 19th century Chechnya; both stories are well researched.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So Disappointing August 5, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I don't usually give bad reviews, I can usually find some redeeming quality about a book but this one is just that bad. I had such high expectations for this book and it fell so short of them. I have a fascination with Russian history especially precommunist history. I liked that this story was a novelized true shory or based on a true story and you can certainly tell that the author did her research on the beliefs of the Islamic tribes of the time. However the author was unsuccessful in editting the book so it is palatable for readers. It almost felt as if I was reading a text book. Ms. Lapierre keep pounding her facts into the prose rendering it almost unreadable. I get it the reader has to know how Jamal was raised and his sense of honor when he comes to have to make the difficult choice at the end.

The biggest disappointment of this book was it was not balanced, that is there was so much writing about Jamal's life before he was taken prisoner it was like 2/3 pre-prisoner and 1/3 of the book is Jamal's life after being taken prisoner. The book description makes it seem like a big component of this book is the romantic interest but again that a fell short. As I said this story is based on a true story and the lady in question wrote her own story about her romance with Jamal I would much rather have read that one, it might have had more human elements.

I could go on about how bad this book was but then I would be too much like the author. Ultimately I did not like this book because nothing about it drew me in, I always felt like I was just reading words/text not a story, the book had no heart. It was only sheer willpower and the hope that the book would redeem itself kept me going to the end.

If you are interested in this story do yourself a favor and read it on Wikipedia, you will be saving yourself time and money.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars I like the premise if this book but it's too long ...
I like the premise if this book but it's too long with some really long drawn out pointless descriptions of nothing. I think you can skip alot of the chapters and not miss much . Read more
Published 8 days ago by Elysa Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Published 12 days ago by Tammy Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Between Love and Honor
Facinating story and also heartwrenching. Jamil's life struggle as to where his allegiance should lie and the impossible decision he had to make in the end really touched me. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Connie Merican
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fantastic research. I regularly re-read extracts of the book and reflect on the actual religious warfare...
Published 1 month ago by Lisbet Hansen
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling story
I almost didn't buy this book because of the negative reviews. I decided to buy it because the story sounded interesting. I'm glad I decided to buy it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Louise O'gara
5.0 out of 5 stars History comes Alive!
Amazing book. I hadn't realized that it was actual history - what a fascinating piece of history! The author really made the time period come alive and feel what the main... Read more
Published 1 month ago by CSI
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
The book starts at the final scene, and then flashes back, so the outcome is known.
It was enjoyable, but some of the characters were confusing. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Adam Howell
5.0 out of 5 stars On the level with Dr Zivago.
I loved this book, I would love to see this book made into a movie. A good love story with battles and Russian History.
Published 2 months ago by joanne g. homer
3.0 out of 5 stars A different subject for me
I skimmed through the first part after having read the review. The story is good but such a sad ending. Too bad honor was not rewarded.
Published 3 months ago by Violet
3.0 out of 5 stars Too long for denouement
What could have been a thrilling love story took over 50% of the book to reach. A tragic story to say the least, this account was well written, but with little character... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Suzanne G
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More About the Author

French novelist and biographer Alexandra Lapierre is a graduate of the Sorbonne and the University of Southern California. Her best-selling books have been translated worldwide, including two titles in English, "Fanny Stevenson" and "Artemisia," and have garnered her numerous awards, including the best book of the year by the readers of Elle magazine for her biography of American pioneer Fanny Stevenson. She was voted Woman of Culture by the city of Rome, Italy, and has been nominated Chevalier in the "Order of Arts and Letters" by the French government. Her most recent work, "L'Excessive," was an immediate best seller in Europe and is being developed for a television series. Alexandra Lapierre lives in Paris.

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