Today I have Eris Field and her new novel “Lattices of Love” set to be released June 11th.
Emine Wheeler, a 26 year old Turkish-American professor of psychiatric nursing, wants to be free. She does not want to live any longer behind the lattices of old harem rules. Despite pressure from the Turkish grandmother she adores and her brother to accept marriage to a Turkish man they have approved, Emine is determined to marry for love, like her American father. She vows there will be love in her marriage.
At a psychiatric conference in Amsterdam, she meets Marc, a reticent Dutch psychiatrist who, believing that his colleagues blame him for his wife’s suicide, restricts his life to the safety of work and family that includes a troubled four-year-old he calls his daughter. However, when Emine encounters a problem with registration, he finds himself offering to help her.
Recognizing that Marc is the man of her dreams, Emine turns her back on the harem rule to avoid contact with men outside the family and accepts his help. Later, when Emine is faced with the choice of marrying a man she does not love or damaging her family’s honor, Marc offers a solution, a marriage of convenience. She will have the protection of marriage and he will have a mother for his daughter. Believing that her fierce love for Marc will be enough, Emine accepts only to discover that it is not, and when Marc falsely accuses her of betrayal, she flees. Marc realizes belatedly that he loves Emine beyond everything in his life but will his love be enough to entice her back?
“You came a long way to participate in a one-day conference.” There was skepticism in Kerim Bey’s voice.
“I had another reason for coming.” Marc turned to Rauf. “I wanted the opportunity to tell you that I intend to ask Emine to marry me.”
For a moment, no one spoke and then Grandmother Filiz turned to Emine and asked sharply, “What did he say?”
It was Rauf who answered her. “He says that he wishes to ask Emine to marry him.”
“But we don’t know him. We don’t know what kind of man he is.” Grandmother looked around the room, bewildered. “We don’t know his family,” she wailed.
“I know his family.” Emine stood and moved closer to Marc, who was on his feet now. “I met his grandmother and his daughter when I was in Amsterdam.”
“How did you come to meet his grandmother at a medical conference?” Rauf asked, a note of censure in his tone.
Emine stiffened. “She very kindly invited me for tea.” A white lie but it seemed to placate her grandmother if not Rauf.
“Does he know that she was engaged for almost six months and then broke that engagement?” Kerim’s mother spat out the malicious words setting her tea glass down with such force that brown drops flew over the top staining the pristine tablecloth.
The ivory skin of Emine’s cheeks was stained with embarrassment as she spoke directly to Marc. “She wants you to know that I am considered to be damaged goods on the matrimonial market.”
He smiled gently at her. “Or it could be that you were wise to end the engagement if it was not right for you.”
Grandmother Filiz spoke as though the words were being dragged out of her and she seemed to shrink with shame as she whispered the words. “She has no dowry.” She turned to Emine, then asked in Greek, “Why? Why does he want to marry you?”
Emine ignored her grandmother’s question and turned to Marc. “She wants you to know that I don’t have the chests of silver, crates of china, trunks of linens, and stacks of rugs that a Turkish bride would bring to her future husband.” She held her empty hands out to Marc. “I have nothing to bring to a marriage.” Her voice shook with injured pride as she directed a withering look at Kerim Bey. “Other than my earning capacity and possible ability to produce children.”
“Hmm, I have a house and I inherited enough silver, china, linens and rugs from my mother and aunts to last several lifetimes.” Marc glanced at each person in the room, “A dowry is for a young man to help him get started.” He paused to let his words sink in. “I am not a young man. I do not need a dowry.” He continued. “I do not need a wife’s earning capacity and I do have a child.” Ignoring the others in the room, he removed the tea glass from Emine’s hand and covered her hands with his. He spoke the English words very slowly. “I think you want to marry and have your own home, and I want to marry and have a mother for my daughter.”
A mother for his daughter. His words seared through Emine with such force that even the back of her eyes burned and she closed them to hide her pain. Was that the reason he had come? She’d never felt so mortified in her life. She fought a frantic urge to run from the room as the meaning of his words pulsed through her. He did not love her. He only wanted to solve the problem of his motherless child. How could he shame her in front of everyone? Through the pain, she heard the slight murmur of approval of her grandmother. She opened her eyes slowly to see Grandmother Filiz patting Marc’s arm. Could he have understood her grandmother’s question? Did he know that her grandmother would understand his words and approve the reason he had given?
The pressure of his hands on hers made her look at him, “Do you need time to think?”
For a moment, she saw the naked vulnerability in his eyes and felt her love for him return with a steady beat. This wonderful, proud man had risked humiliation in front of a roomful of strangers. “No, I don’t need time to think.” Her voice was husky. She had promised herself that she would not marry without love but there would be love in their marriage, her love, and it would be enough. “Yes,” she said, regally ignoring the hostility in the room. “I would be honored to be your wife.” She tilted her chin up and gave him a blazing look of love before she dropped her eyes. She was well satisfied by his quick intake of breath.
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