The Blood of Flowers

The Blood of Flowers

by Anita Amirrezvani

Jodi Roberts: A lyrical tale of ancient Persia depicting the difficulties faced by the female gender in a male ruled society. This lovely story details the difficult life of a young woman raised in rural Persia who is suddenly forced into the larger city and a household that doesn't want her or her mother. I enjoyed this tale of ultimate triumph, though I felt the ending was a bit rushed and I wished for more! Certainly worth the time.
Rating: ****

Judy Stanton: Set in the 17th century in Iran, The Blood of Flowers explores the life of a young girl whose is forced to flee her village for the city. Living under the protection of an uncle, she grows to learn and love the art of rug making. I like the way the author weaves old tales into the story, though, sometimes, I was looking for them to enlighten me about the book's events, and just couldn't seem to link the two. The plot was a bit too predictable for my taste, I like being suprised rather than having my expectations met. While the protagonist undergoes personal growth, the book leaves you wondering if Iranian customs and values have changed as far as their impact on the status of Iranian women today.
Rating: ***

Arlene Almas: "First there wasn't and then there was. Before God, no one was" - this is the way the narrator's widowed mother begins all the folk tales she relates so vividly to her daughter in 17th century Iran. Without a breadwinner after the narrator's (we are not given her name) father dies, mother and daughter must travel to the marvelous city of Isfahan to live with her father's half brother Gostaham and his wife Gordiyeh, who are quite well-off. Gostaham, a carpet maker and designer, runs a workshop which provides beautiful carpets for the Shah and his harem, as well as taking on private commissions. The narrator has considerable skill at carpet-making herself; she learns much more from her uncle, and develops the ability to design and create exquisite carpets.

Of course she has a personal life going on as well, becoming friends with Naheed, a wealthy girl who has fallen in love with a handsome polo player (which must be kept secret from her family, of course), and being forced by her aunt and her unfortunate financial circumstances to agree to a "sigheh," a short-term renewable marriage, with a rich horse breeder. But our narrator is a strong-willed, independent-minded young woman who eventually creates a new life for herself, her mother, and her true friends. I found this book fascinating and highly recommend it.
Rating: *****

Dale Israel: This debut novel takes place in 17th century Iran. When the unnamed narrator's father dies, she must negotiate her own future as she is left without a dowry. She is forced to work as a servant in her uncle's house. Her uncle is a rich rug designer and the young woman blossoms as a brilliant designer of carpets. I really enjoyed this book as it paints such a wonderful picture of what life was like for women living in Iran during this time period. The protagonist is so endearing and I admired her spirit and determination to succeed when her life was so difficult. I rarely give books a five star rating unless they're absolutely "delicious" (i.e. Pillars of the Earth, Memoirs of a Geisha,etc), but this was a very enjoyable read. It was engrossing and a quick read. I recommend it.
Rating: ****

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