49. ‘The Stationery Shop of Tehran’, by Marjan Kamali.

Not one of Mum’s books, but one I bought in the airport at Brisbane for the long flight back to the UK at the end of January last. The cover design caught my eye – I’m a bit of a magpie when it comes to bright things – and there’s a plug from Booklist on the front cover that simply says, ‘Kamali paints an evocative portrait of 1950’s Iran and it’s political upheaval .. Simultaneously briskly paced and deeply moving, this will appeal to fans of Khaled Hosseini’.

OK, that caught my attention as well. I know little about modern Iranian history except the bare bones, and I think Hoseini’s ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ is still one of the most deeply moving books I have ever read. So, purchased, popped into my extremely capacious travelling handbag (which usually weighs more than my official hand luggage!), and I settled down to read it on the second leg.

The central character is Roya, a teenage girl living in Tehran with her sister and her very liberated and forward thinking parents, keen for their daughters to gain a good education and pursue careers, preferably in the sciences. Her favourite place to escape the boys pursuing the girls after school, and the political demonstrations, is a stationary shop, and there she meets a politically active and rather handsome boy called Bahman. Their romance blossoms amidst the pencils and the poetry of Rumi, and a few months later, they are to be married, despite Bahman’s mothers disapproval.

They agree to meet at one of the squares in the city one day, but, although she waits, he never appears as chaos erupts and the coup that unseated the last Shah of Iran unfolds. Roya tries to contact him, but eventually, goes to university in California, and begins a whole new life in the States.

A chance encounter almost sixty years later brings them together again, and she, (and we), find out just what happened…and why.

I enjoyed it. Khaled Hosseini it is not, but it had enough twists and turns to keep me engaged, it broke my heart in places, and… I was HUNGRY all the way through thanks to the descriptive passages about delicious Iranian food!

I shan’t read it again though and would love to gift it forward to one of you lovely lot – as always, if you like the sound of it, please get in touch either here or on the Mums Books Facebook or Instagram pages, and I’ll send it to you toot suite!