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Review – The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani

blood-of-flowers

The Blood of Flowers
by Anita Amirrezvani
368 pages
Published June 2007
Historical fiction

I don’t know where I heard about this book, but I’ve had it on my BookMooch wish list for. ev. er. And it hasn’t come up for me to mooch, so I broke down and investigated this newfangled thing called a library, where you get to borrow books. For free! I know! Brilliant, right?! Someone should have thought of this like, oh, ten years ago.

The Blood of Flowers is about a 14-year-old girl in 1620 Persia. She lives with her family in a little village in the country and her parents are anticipating that she will soon be engaged. It’s at this time that her father gets sick while working in the fields and passes away, leaving his wife, Maheen, and daughter in a perilous situation. Even though they have a field that they work, without the husband to help harvest the field, they received very little grain from the father’s share of the planting. Rather than starve, they sent a message to the father’s half brother, Gostaham, who invites mother and daughter to come live with him in Isfahan.

The daughter, who is never named, has a skill of knotting rugs; though being a woman, learning more in this trade would be extremely difficult.

Gostaham does very well with his own rug making business and agrees to teach the daughter what he knows. Gostaham’s wife, Gordiyeh is demeaning and condescending to Maheen and her daughter, and they have no hope of escaping this situation without a dowry for the daughter. The daughter strikes a deal with Gostaham to make her own rug, and he loans her the money to buy the wool. The colors she chooses are not complimentary, and in a fit of frustration, she cuts up the progress she has made on the rug, wasting all the wool. She was going to sell the rug to start saving her own dowry, but now she’s incurred the ire of Gordiyeh.

At this time, the daughter gets a marriage proposal, but not for a typical marriage, for a sigheh, which is kind of like renting a wife. Legally, they would be married for the length of the sigheh, in this case, three months, but after the three months, the man can either renew the sigheh or not. This makes the daughter almost worthless, as once she agrees to the sigheh, she not only has no dowry, but she’s lost her virginity as well.

After one renewal of the sigheh, the daughter decides she must take her fate into her own hands or she will be dependant on the whim of others for the rest of her life. So she does! Take her fate into her own hands, that is. And while I won’t give away the ending, let me just say that I was guessing what the ending would be up until the very last pages. I love it when books do that.

The daughter is headstrong, and even though she learns from each mistake, she continues to make bad decision after bad decision. I loved this. So real! How many of us have had our AHA! moment after our first mistake (most likely none of us), and how many of us have had our AHA! moment after making lots of mistakes, some of them mistakes we’d already made, while simultaneously listening to someone say (while wagging their finger), “I told you so!” If you’ve ever had a hard time learning a lesson, you’ll understand the daughter’s impetuousness, all the while cringing at mistakes you probably would have made yourself.

I really enjoyed this book. At first I thought it was “simple”, but as I dug a little deeper in order to write this review I realized there is a lot going on under the surface, and I think this book would benefit from a discussion on the author’s leaving the protagonist nameless, the culture, the Iranian stories told throughout the book, the various relationships the daughter has, the idea of a sigheh, the book’s title, sexual satisfaction, and really anything else that a book club could discuss. Reading it for myself (as opposed to a book group), I tend not to take such a deep look at a book, but rather, enjoy the story and get immersed in the book, which this book allowed in spades.

Rating: 88 out of 100

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| Tags: , , , , 13 comments »

13 Responses to “Review – The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani”

  1. Amy

    Nice Review! This was one of my favorite books from last year.

    Here’s a link to my review.

    Amy
    http://readingtoolate.net

    [Reply]

  2. Melody

    I enjoyed reading this book, Trish! I’m quite intrigued by their culture, their history and everything… and I like the protagonist because she’s so headstrong and brave IMO. I’m looking forward to reading more by this author.

    [Reply]

  3. Corinne

    I won this one in a giveaway and I’m saving it for a challenge for next year 🙂 I’m glad you liked it!

    [Reply]

  4. veens

    Awesome! I want to read it too now !

    [Reply]

  5. Marg

    I really enjoyed this book when I read it as well. I am looking forward to seeing if the author comes out with something new soon.

    My review can be found here

    [Reply]

  6. Ladytink_534

    Yep, I don’t know what I would do without my library lol! There are carpets from this era in a few museums around the world. I would love to be able to see them.

    [Reply]

  7. Heather J.

    As you know from my review, I listened to the audio version and it was FANTASTIC. I highly recommend it. Glad you enjoyed it.

    And the library?! Hmpf, go figure. ~LOL~

    [Reply]

  8. Heather

    Great review! I totally want to read this book too.

    [Reply]

  9. Darlene

    Great review. I have this one on my nightstand and will be reading it in one of my various challenges next year.

    [Reply]

  10. Fyrefly

    I remember seeing a review for this somewhere in blogland a while ago, so it has been on my BookMooch wishlist for just about forever as well.

    Li-ber-ry? Hmmm. I’ve heard of this thing you call a library, but somehow my giant stack of mooched TBR books reach out little guilty tendrils and grab me by the ankles most times I head out the door with the intentions of reading a library book instead of one of them.

    [Reply]

  11. S. Krishna

    I really enjoyed this one as well! Nice review!

    [Reply]

  12. Teddy

    Wonderful review Trish! This one is on my TBR.

    [Reply]

  13. The Blood of Flowers (Dochter van Isfahan) by Anita Amirrezvani « The Armenian Odar Reads

    […] Haven Heather at Age 30+… Trish at Hey Lady! Reading Matters Historical Tapestry Amanda at the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge Blog […]

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