Broken Rhapsody: Ruya 1

The first in a three-part series (A Retake on War and Csardas to follow), Broken Rhapsody marks the beginning of an epic spanning four generations of a family as they live in various locations in Italy, Hungary, Turkey and France.


Istanbul, 2004

At a crowded dinner party, we meet Ruya: a young woman hungry for love who is scared to open her heart, an exceptionally talented artist who no longer paints.

Devastated after the loss of another loved one, she decides to write a book about her great-grandmother Alex - a book that is to change her life.


(Please click on the images for an excerpt from the book)


Alex's story takes us back to the turn of the 20th century.



And Ruya wrıtes ...

Alex, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy Hungarian gentry family, sails through a happy and carefree childhood and adolescence with her twin sister Magda and older brother Karoly. Like her siblings, she is highly talented and goes to the best art school in the country. She is engaged to Rudi, the only man she loves. Her active and colourful life is the envy of everyone. 


The bright picture, however, gradually fades for Alex as Rudi delays their marriage plans.

Rudi, a successful Jewish lawyer and a financier, is handsome, rich, athletic and infamously known as the most eligible bachelor in Budapest - even after his engagement to Alex. An ambitious businessman, an adamant tennis player and a huntsman, he has no time for women, not even for his fiancée.

When Alex's brother Karoly leaves for Paris, and her sister Magda gets married, she feels totally deserted and desperately wants to set up a family of her own.

No longer able to tolerate Rudi's procrastination of their wedding, Alex takes an impulsive decision: she marries Aziz, a Turkish friend of her brother Karoly, and moves to Istanbul.

Aziz, the great-grandson of one of the prime ministers of the Ottoman Empire, is a well-groomed and charismatic gentleman who becomes a father-figure to Alex.



In Istanbul, Alex’s life soon proves to be much different than she imagined it to be. She finds it hard to adapt to this new culture. Her husband's passionately possessive love and jealousies make her feel imprisoned in a golden cage.


Despite the happiness her two daughters give her, Alex misses her family, her hometown, her friends, her freedom ...

... until one day, with the onslaught of the Second World War, she comes across Rudi and everything changes yet again.

In the clutches of an impossible love affair, she is torn between her sense of responsibility to stay with her family and her desire to run away.


And Ruya Stops Writing ... 

Ruya gives up writing her book, reasoning that it is not worth telling the story of a life with only an imagined happy ending - a life like a broken rhapsody, a rhapsody without the happy Csardas.

But then a dream inspires her to carry on, a dream that fills her with hope.

Istanbul, 2006



Read a summary of A Retake on War in pictures

Read a summary of Csardas in pictures