25 June 2015

Review #255: Orhan's Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian

My rating:
5 of 5 stars

"It was not war. It was most certainly massacre and genocide, something the world must remember... We will always reject any attempt to erase its record, even for some political advantage." 

----Yossi Beilin, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister

According to Wiki,

The Armenian Genocide, carried out during and after World War I, was the Turkish Ottoman government's systematic extermination of its minority Armenian population which approximates to almost 1.5 million.

Aline Ohanesian, an Armenian authors, pens a thoroughly spellbinding as well as completely heart-breaking novel, Orhan's Inheritance which centers around the timeline and horrific period of Armenian Genocide in the year of 1915 through an enriching and soulful story of Orhan, who is a young Turkish man, searches for the pieces of his family past after his grandfather leaves their family home to a mysterious woman.


When Orhan’s brilliant and eccentric grandfather Kemal—a man who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs—is found dead, submerged in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits the decades-old business. But Kemal’s will raises more questions than it answers. He has left the family estate to a stranger thousands of miles away, an aging woman in an Armenian retirement home in Los Angeles. Her existence and secrecy about her past only deepen the mystery of why Orhan’s grandfather willed his home in Turkey to an unknown woman rather than to his own son or grandson.

Left with only Kemal’s ancient sketchbook and intent on righting this injustice, Orhan boards a plane to Los Angeles. There he will not only unearth the story that eighty-seven-year-old Seda so closely guards but discover that Seda’s past now threatens to unravel his future. Her story, if told, has the power to undo the legacy upon which his family has been built.

Moving back and forth in time, between the last years of the Ottoman Empire and the 1990s, Orhan’s Inheritance is a story of passionate love, unspeakable horrors, incredible resilience, and the hidden stories that can haunt a family for generations.

Orhan Turkoglu, a young Turkish man, returns to his hometown, when his grandfather, Kemal's sad and mysterious death reaches him. Soon Orhan finds his name as someone who have acquired all the family business instead of his father, and also his family home where his father and Aunt Fatma lived with his grandfather was given to a mysterious lady named, Seda Melkonian, following which Orhan embarks upon a journey to LA to an old age home to rightfully and legally take back his family home from that woman by offering her money. That's all he expected the journey should be, instead it opened a hell lot of family secrets kept hidden under their family home's mulberry tree. Seda's story run parralelly with that of Orhan's where Seda accounts her childhood, and her connection with Kemal, thus gradually filling the gaps of mysteries in the readers' minds as well in Orhan's mind.

The story wavers between two timeline- 1915 and 1990, and the author have skillfully as well as strikingly captured those two significant time periods of history, especially the 1915 timeline, when Armenian Genocide made a mark on the pages of history book with it's horrific circumstances, and the author have graphically as well as intricately layered that time when the Armenian women and children were deported to the Syrian desert without a drop of water or food, and how the Turkish soldiers occasionally used to rape some women and kill the elderly on their journey. Not only the graphic details are brought out by the author, but also she have attached lots of emotions while narrating those moments thus making the readers feel the sharp taste of the pain on their hearts.

The writing is absolutely flawless and that which bears a strong sense of evocative emotions and pain through her carefully chosen words. The author's eloquence is evident from her prose and her engaging narrative style. The to-and-fro swaying storyline doesn't leave the readers confused with the events as the author have strongly depicted both the story with lots of momentum and passion.

The characters, which the readers will feel a deep sense of bond and love for their pain and happiness, are strongly developed and portrayed, and their demeanor, fashion, POV, everything matches with respect to the time. There is a beautiful love story heaped under layers of political war and hatred, though the war separated the Turks from the Armenian Christians, the author bonded them with her love story, that will only feel the readers' heart with gratitude, warmth and respect. In a nutshell, both Seda and Orhan, the two protagonists of the story, are bound to leave an impressionistic mark upon the readers' minds.

The backdrop of the story is something which sets the mood of the authors right into the core of the story. Both Turkey's golden as well as grayish skyline perfectly and vividly depicted in the background. From the food to the lifestyle of then and now with a stark contrast are sharply featured in the back drop, that captivates the readers' minds completely.

The author instils the idea into her readers' minds that past is something that we need to embrace to have a better future and like Orhan we need to give respect to it, so that we can see the new dawn and this story justifies this message strongly.

Verdict: A must-read novel to understand and value your family past and the sacrifices made for it's betterment and that which is sure to keep you gripped till the very last page.

Courtesy: Thanks to the author, Aline Ohanesian, for providing me with a copy of her book, in return for an honest review.

Author Info:
Aline Ohanesian was born in Kuwait to Armenian parents. She grew up in Northridge California and currently lives in San Juan Capistrano with her husband and two sons. Orhan's Inheritance is her first novel.
Visit her here 

Book Purchase Links:


  1. It can always be hard to read books about genocides and it seems like this historical fiction is emotional and also accurate. I can imagine it's not the kind of story you can forget easily. I know if I try it will stay with me for quite the while.


Thanks for your feedback!