Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani


Completion Date: June 2007
Pages: 384
Publication Year: 2007
Purchased in 2007

Reason for Reading: Michelle Moran, author of Nefertiti, recommended it, saying that it was her favourite historical fiction novel and I am always looking for a good recommendation.

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.
I read a fair amount of historical fiction, and I have to say, this is one of the more original historical fiction novels I have ever read. Most of the historical fiction that I have read takes place in Canada, the United States, Egypt, or the United Kingdom. This is the first time I have read a historical fiction novel, that I remember, set in 17th-century Persia.

During the 17th-century in this region, it was a male-dominated society. It is still this way in many Middle Eastern countries. In this novel, a young girl watches a comet shoots across the sky, and when it has passed life begins to change for her very drastically. She should have been finding her husband and moving on with her life, but her father dies unexpectantly and suddenly her and her mother have nothing. She has no dowry to find a husband, and they have no one to farm for them, so they are just barely getting by. A kind man comes to the village and asks them if there is anything he can do for them, and the mother implores him to track down her deceased husbands half-brother in the hopes that he will take them in and help them get back on their feet.

When they move from their village to the rather large Isfahan, life changes drastically for her and her mother. Suddenly they are not in control of their own household, and have to take orders from the wife of their father's brother. She is not very sympathetic, and looks upon them as new slaves for her household. She does not really know anything about domestic work, but she does have ideas about how it should be done. They live in riches, but she is always afraid that there will not be enough, so she is always looking for oppurtunities to gather more wealth for her husband.

Her niece opens up what she hopes will be a great business venture when a wealthy man asks to marry her. It is not a regular wedding, though, the marriage would only last for three months, and then he can request more time with her every three months after that. It could turn into a regular marriage, but in the process she will lose her virginity and this can jeopardize future relationships. It is a chance that her mother is willing to take because it will give her money. Her aunt wants it to happen because it could meet more business for her rug-making husband.

This book is about a girl in a very strict culture wishing for something more. She wants to be a rug-maker like her uncle, but that is not an oppurtunity that is allowed to women. Her uncle helps her, though, teaching her the tricks of his trade and allowing her to help him. When things get complicated with her marriage arrangement, she must decide on a safe course of action or one where her safety net could disappear. She has to decide whether her own future is more important than the safety the marriage is currently providing her with. This is a book about a girl that dares to break the rules of her society to better herself and live out her dreams.

Parting Thoughts: I loved this book! It was by far one of my favourite reads this year, as I stated in my Thusday Thirteen of favourite reads so far this year. It is a different sort of read for me, and a very worthwhile one at that. Especially considering it is her first novel, I think she did a wonderful job. I look forward to reading more from her and I strongly recommend this book.

In Other News:
Do not forget to get your pictures or emails in to be entered into Colleen's Contest on Twisted Kingdom to win an advanced reading copy of The Bleeding Dusk. Still not sure if Gleason's book are for you? My review of Rises the Night and The Rest Falls Away. I am sure that The Bleeding Dusk will be just as enjoyable.

3 comments:

  1. I'm so excited to hear you enjoyed this one. I just got an ARC of this and I'm really looking forward to it.

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  2. It was so nice to read a book with a setting that is not typical of historical fiction. I am glad that this book was brought to my attention. :)

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  3. Thanks for interesting information. I'm relly want to read this book

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