This month I’m celebrating the publication of my debut novel, HIS OBSESSION, from Siren BookStrand (http://www.bookstrand.com/his-obsession). The novel relates the adventures of Emeliese Alexander, a student at an elite Parisian finishing school, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the pirate Republic of Bou Regreg (Rabat which is in what is now Morocco was the capital.) Devastated by Robert Montclair’s betrayal and doomed to live in a pirate’s harem, she created a life for herself and her unborn child, until her rescue.
The paintings of Rudolph Ernst were an inspiration for the descriptions of the harem where Emmy lived. Ernst was a prominent painter in the Orientalist School of the 19th century which portrayed the rich, foreign, and somewhat salacious culture of the Ottoman Empire and North Africa. Unlike most artists, Ernst – a Vienna native who lived in Paris – traveled extensively in the area and painted from personal observations. Many of his paintings were portraits of real inhabitants of the area. It is doubtful that Ernst would have been allowed into the harems that he painted. This painting, the Favorite with the subtitle of Girl and Man, depicts a master with a concubine/slave. The man is painted much taller and in a superior, powerful stance unlike the girl who is smaller, younger and submissive. This month at ritabay.com features the Barbary pirates, their victims, their homes and harems. Today, there’s another Ernst painting in addition to the one featured here. Next week, more Orientalist paintings, Rita Bay