Praise for ‘A Recipe for Daphne’

A Recipe for Daphne by Nektaria Anastasiadou (Hoopoe, 2020)

An American-born traveler to one of Istanbul’s oldest communities receives an unexpected welcome in this heart-warming and romantic debut. Fanis is at the center of a dwindling yet stubbornly proud community of Rum, Greek Orthodox Christians, who have lived in Istanbul for centuries. When Daphne, the American-born niece of an old friend, arrives in the city in search of her roots, she is met with a hearty welcome. Fanis is smitten by the beautiful and aloof outsider, who, despite the age difference, reminds him of the fiancée he lost in the 1955 pogrom. Kosmas, a master pastry chef on the lookout for a good Rum wife, also falls instantly for Daphne. She is intrigued by him, but can she love him in return? Or will a family secret, deeply rooted in the painful history of the city itself, threaten their chances? This story of love, hopeful beginnings, and ancient traditions introduces a sparkling new literary voice sure to transport and entertain.


A Recipe for Daphne makes you laugh and cry.”—Library of the Dept of Greek Philology, Democritus University of Thrace

“In weaving together a delightful present-day romantic drama with a more profound narrative about reckoning with and making peace with the past, A Recipe for Daphne proves deeply satisfying.”—Vanessa H. Larson for The Washington Post

“At times as sweet as Istanbul’s pastries, at others as bitter as its coffee, the love stories that run through A Recipe for Daphne reveal how a decades-old tragedy still haunts the city’s dwindling Greek community. If you have ever been to Istanbul, you will recognise its sumptuously written characters and places. If you have not, it will make you want to go immediately.”—Hannah Lucinda Smith, author of Erdogan Rising: The Battle for the Soul of Turkey

“A meditation on identity and the scars of history. Through her rich characters, the Rum people’s painful history over the last century also comes to light.”—Durrie Bouscaren for Public Radio International

“A unique work that re-imagines histories, inverts narratives and engages in the subtleties of human identity, without ever losing the lightness and gracefulness of its touch, or indeed the aroma of the culinary delicacies it evokes, A Recipe For Daphne is a ground-breaking, multifaceted novel that begs to be re-read innumerable times.”—Dean Kalimniou for Neos Kosmos

“Anastasiadou’s skillful blending of the ghosts of the historical past with the joys of living in present-day Istanbul sets this novel apart from everything else that Greeks, Jews and others have written about life in the erstwhile cosmopolitan port cities of the Eastern Mediterranean.”—Prof. Alexander Kitroeff, author of The Greeks and the Making of Modern Egypt for Pappas Post

“The pages of Anastasiadou’s novel shimmer with the romance of Istanbul, and her vivid prose evokes its magical melange, even as her characters wonder how to hold on to their vibrant but dwindling world….In the searching conversations that give this novel a pulse, its characters unspool the twists of Turkish history that brought light or darkness, pondering aloud over what this portends for their future.”—Anne-Marie O’Connor, author of The Lady in Gold, for The Markaz Review

“I read this charming, shrewd and enlightening first novel in two compulsive sittings, fascinated by how an entirely different slice of Istanbul opened up within the pages. A Recipe for Daphne is a delight from start to finish.”—Caroline Eden, author of Black Sea

“Award winner Anastasiadou successfully blends romantic machinations among a group of Greek Orthodox Christians in Istanbul with a keen portrait of a community…living in the city since at least the 300s CE…Good reading for all.”—Library Journal

“Istanbul comes alive through the nostalgic experiences of the people in Anastasiadou’s debut, A Recipe for Daphne, where she presents a thriving minority community that has endured unique trauma and repression . . . redemptive, powerful.”—Chicago Review of Books

“Istanbul’s charming presence is felt in every scene, fleshed out with generous depictions of all who populate it, from cashiers to street cats…. A Recipe for Daphne is a delightful novel about finding home in foreign places.”—Forward Reviews

“The love story at the heart of A Recipe for Daphne is not between the two main characters, but between the main characters, and the author, and Istanbul. The Istanbul that Nektaria Anastasiadou is so clearly smitten with is not the Istanbul of tourists, or the Istanbul of Orhan Pamuk, but an Istanbul that has simultaneously nearly disappeared and is everywhere you look.”—Claire Sadar for Ahval News

“The book features vivid characters and evocative descriptions woven together in a romantic drama that touches on the painful history that has indelibly shaped the lives of the Polites, the Greeks of Constantinople.”—The National Herald 

“The book’s playful tone, its clever use of language by borrowing idioms from one language and implanting them in another, the witty description of people and places complement, rather than distract, from the dark ghost of the pogrom.”—Nazlan Ertan for Duvar English

“This is a story about intersections, the entanglement of people, cultures, and languages meeting and evolving. There are lines that divide, but there is life in between those lines where we find Anastasiadou’s enchanting characters.”—Manal Shakir for Arab News

“When I finished I immediately wanted to demand the sequel because I missed Anastasiadou’s endearing people, and her fascinating city, so much.”—Alison Jean Lester, author of Lilian on Life

“An exquisite novel set among the last remnants and proud carriers of the ancient forgotten culture of Byzantium . . . Full of humour and compassion, playfulness and fascinating insights.”—Rana Haddad, author of The Unexpected Love Objects of Dunya Noor



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