In The Blood of Flowers, we are transported to 17th century Iran, into the life of our unnamed narrator. With the death of her father, she and her mother are put into a very precarious situation, and when the food runs out, they finally must rely on the charity of their extended family. Not only must they move to the city — to the brilliant Isfahan, jewel of Persia, but they must live as second-class citizens in their own household. Our narrator’s love of carpet making is slowly encouraged as she is also forced to choose between a degrading life and a life of just plain hard work. Not much of a choice.
This is the second time I’ve tried reading this book. The first time it didn’t grab me from the beginning, so I put it down, but THIS time, I found myself quickly enthralled with the time period and customs of the story. Our narrator is rash — talented yet too quick to make important decisions, and more than once, the consequences are severe. But she always means well, and I kept reminding myself of how young she was to have such heavy responsibilities. I liked reading about her interactions with her world — the intricate and beloved process of carpet weaving and the layers of rules about clothing and social status. The author weaves in several authentic Persian poems and stories into the narrative and while sometimes I rushed through them, other times they added to the flow of the action.
I ended up really liking it. I liked the journey of our narrator and the conclusions she came to about what she really wanted for her life. Several rather steamy scenes in the middle might turn off some readers, as our narrator learns about her own version of “married” life and tries to decide what makes her most happy. As a piece of historical fiction about a fascinating and ancient place, I enjoyed this read.
Rated: High for several explicit sexual scenes.