Published by Back Bay Books on June 5th 2007
Genres: Historical, Women Lit
In 17th-century Persia, a 14-year-old woman believes she will be married within the year. But when her beloved father dies, she and her mother find themselves alone and without a dowry. With nowhere else to go, they are forced to sell the brilliant turquoise rug the young woman has woven to pay for their journey to Isfahan, where they will work as servants for her uncle, a rich rug designer in the court of the legendary Shah Abbas the Great.
Despite her lowly station, the young woman blossoms as a brilliant designer of carpets, a rarity in a craft dominated by men. But while her talent flourishes, her prospects for a happy marriage grow dim. Forced into a secret marriage to a wealthy man, the young woman finds herself faced with a daunting decision: forsake her own dignity, or risk everything she has in an effort to create a new life.
This wouldn’t have been a book that I would have purchased for myself but I was pleasantly surprised with it. I had a lot of ill feelings and thoughts because the synopsis makes it seem like the main character is going to go through hell, and trust me she does, but it is not quite as dire as I first thought and my unease drifted away as I read.
The story is actually a magnificent one, although, maybe a little drawn out at the beginning. But the plot itself is quite interesting as we follow our main character through some rough times and through some bad choices of her own, and some from others. I was quite interested not only in her but also her life. I really liked her and even though the story didn’t flow quite effortlessly, my want to know more out weighed the desire to put the book down.
I think the smaller stories in between the plot threw me off quite a bit as well. Although they made me curious, sometimes they didn’t seem to have any reason whatsoever for being told in this particular book. By the end some of them made sense while others seemed to just be placed in the story for fluff.
There are some situations where some of the minor characters just make me want to pull my hair out, but they are all very well written. I really enjoyed reading about her uncle the most, although I wish he had a bit more of a backbone but he was a saving grace in her life, for sure!
All in all, especially for being a book I normally would not have picked up, this was a total surprise. I’m really excited that we read this for my book club and I’m sure I will read more from this author.