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Anyush by Martine Madden


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One of our Books of the Year 2014.

A compelling, heartrending tale of love, loss and survival intertwined within the factual base of the Armenian genocide. This thought provoking story is set in a period of atrocities that may not be known to many, yet the author has the ability not only to transport you through time, her vivid descriptions engage all of your senses, shaping the land and people around you. You witness the very best and the very worst of people; while throughout a fledgling love fights to exist, to grow, to survive. The Author’s Notes give insight into some of the actual individuals involved, their stories are equally humbling and inspiring. This is a novel for your book shelves, to read again and mull over, to question - can love really conquer all? ~ Liz Robinson

May 2014 Debut of the Month.

A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher...

'Transporting her reader to Turkey in 1917, the opening of Martine Madden’s debut epic novel Anyush captures that moment when a young woman has doors opening to her; the world is spreading at her feet, despite the shadows of war.

We, the readers, see the portents gathering, but Anyush, the central character, is young and feisty; she has met Jahan, a Turkish officer and their passion is fresh, exciting and forbidden. And Anyush has her dreams, dreams to take her beyond the boundaries of Turkish village life.

The author lets us share in Anyush’s dreams and we are lulled and charmed by a vibrant, colourful wedding scene, where the beautiful Anyush is surrounded by friends, family and admirers; she is swept away in the dancing and the music as her friend starts her married life. But before the wedding ends, the war makes itself known and the dark is rising.

The novel takes a deeply disturbing turn as we find ourselves caught up in the realities of the Armenian genocide which formed part of WWI. Not only is Anyush in denial but so, too, are many others who fail to grasp the evil which is unfolding. By the time events and the destiny of the Armenian villagers are clear, Anyush is in danger of losing everything and everyone she cares about.

Anyush is a heartwrenching odyssey, told in a deceptively simple style, illuminating a shadowy period of WWI history – it is a story of great human suffering which will stay with the reader long after the book has been closed for the very last time.' - Susan Houlden, editor of Anyush

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Anyush by Martine Madden

Anyush is a love story set against the backdrop of the Armenian Turkish conflict of 1915 and the Great War. Anyush Charcoudian is a young Armenian woman living with her widowed mother and grandmother in a small village on the Black Sea coast of Turkey in 1915. Her hopes of becoming a teacher or nurse are cast aside when she falls in love with the handsome Captain Jahan Orfalea, young Captain in the Turkish army. Deciding to seduce the young Armenian for a bet, he falls in love with Anyush and they conduct an affair across forbidden religious and cultural divides. Dr. Charles Stewart, a missionary doctor who comes to Turkey, realises too late the reality of the situation, and makes one last desperate attempt to save the villagers and his standing in his friend's eyes. This is a novel about the unlikely alliances forged in desperate times and the ensuing consequences, but at its heart Anyush is a story about love.


‘A beautiful, haunting and very important work. It’s quite an achievement to recount a part of history that has remained shamefully occluded in such a compelling and illuminating manner, through a story filled with love and life.’ Donal Ryan

‘A deeply touching, powerful and vividly described love story set amidst the barbarism of the Armenian genocide.’ Julia Kelly

‘A vivid and elegantly written page-turner, a haunting love story set against a background of sweeping historical events that shaped the modern Orient.’ Conor O’Clery

About the Author

Martine Madden

Martine Madden was born in Limerick, worked in Dublin and later moved to the United Arab Emirates with her husband John. The stories recounted to her by the Armenian diaspora there prompted her interest in Armenian history and formed the basis of the novel Anyush. Martine returned to Ireland in 1990 and now lives in the Midlands with her husband and five children.

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Book Info

Publication date

15th May 2014


Martine Madden

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Brandon an imprint of O'Brien Press Ltd


384 pages


Historical Fiction
Debuts of the Month
Literary Fiction
Reading Groups
Romantic Fiction
World War One Literature
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