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The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani
The Blood of Flowers is set in 17th-century Persia and is narrated by a 14-year-old girl who starts the novel working on the turquoise dye to color a carpet she's making that will become part of her dowry. When her father unexpectedly dies, the girl and her mother are forced to sell the carpet to move to the capital of Isfahan. They're forced to become servants to her uncle, Gostaham, a famed carpet designer who works in the court of the Shah Abbas the Great. The girl becomes an expert carpet maker while learning to read and write from a neighborhood girl. Her uncle's wife, however, manipulates her into a secret marriage that might undo all her dreams. Anita Amirrezvani's debut novel has received positive reviews with the San Francisco Chronicle saying, "The Blood of Flowers is simply a stunning debut. One can't help but want to return to the charming main narrator and the entrancing tale of her quest for independence and self-reliance, her daring and honest exploration of love and desire for love, and above all the profound discovery, as Gostaham reminds her, that she 'must begin to understand [her] own worth.'"