The Ottomans developed a highly organized society with many traditions. However, the writing and publiscing of “memoris” was not one of them. Even the most illustrious Grand Vizier did not avail his personal diary to others for perusal (even if he ever did put them in black on white.)
This is what makes Leyla (Saz) Hanımefendi’s book rather unique. She was taken into the “Harem” of Sultan Abdülmecid at the age of four and left Çırağan Palace only to be married. She is the only woman who wrote (or rather dictated to her son) her actual experiences of life at the Çırağan Palace where Sultan Abdülmecid reigned. Her references to many incidents, from the untensils used to the Ladies’ Orchestra make this book interesting both to the layman and to the historian. Her great sense of propriety and andmiration for the way of life she enjoyed at the Palace (despite the vigorous discipline) is another factor that makes reading these memoirs a joyful experience.