The Blood of Flowers


For those of you who are cosmically tired of the endless spate of historical fiction set in Ireland/England—yes, there is more to the world—The Blood of Flowers will provide a welcome haven. Prepare yourself to be transported to the mysterious and colorful realm of 17th-centuryIran!

Although the setting is exotic, the story is familiar. A poor young woman living a rural life comes of age to marry, but her father dies, leaving the family destitute. She and her mother are cast upon the charity of wealthy relatives in the great city of Isfahan, where they are coldly put to work as servants. In her village, the girl has learned how to knot carpets, and her mind swims with colors and designs. Her uncle has become wealthy as a designer of carpets, and some of his business comes from the legendary Shah Abbas the Great. The uncle shows interest in the girl and allows her to watch as he works. He also teaches her about color and design. Unfortunately, a wealthy customer takes an interest in her, too, and she is forced into accepting a sigheh, a temporary form of marriage which leaves her without security and still a slave to her relatives.

This is not a happily-ever-after story in the romantic sense. The heroine’s struggle to find a way to live independently and to satisfy her creativity in a repressive and male-dominated society makes compelling reading.

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12 of the best stories selected from the 2012 Historical Novel Society Short Story Award







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