Today I have a review of The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali, now available from Gallery Books! A huge thanks to Gallery for this stunning copy.
Oh my goodness. This book.
Roya lives in Tehran in the 1950s. She’s a teen brimming with idealism, at a time when it could be dangerous with the political upset in Iran. Roya finds peace in Mr. Fakhri’s book and stationery shop. (Can you even believe? This made this paper and book love over the moon with happiness!).
The store is dusty, warm, and inviting, and Mr. Fakhri is kind. There are fountain pens, bottles of ink, and special papers.
Mr. Fakhri introduces Roya to his other favorite customer, Bahman, with hopes love will develop. Bahman is also an idealist with a yearning for change. They are an instant match and continue to visit the shop together.
A couple months later, Roya and Bahman are to be married, and just before they are supposed to meet, the coup d’etat occurs that changes Iran forever. And Bahman never shows up.
Years pass- sixty years, in fact, until Roya and Bahman are reunited. Roya understandably has many questions for him about where he’s been.
Friends, this book is as lovely as that stunning cover. I savored every word. This reminded me a little of another gorgeous book I read about Iran last year, Song of a Captive Bird, which took place during the same time period. I adored both books.
I enjoyed learning more about the culture of Iran, and especially that tumultuous time in the 50s. The love between Roya and Bahman was effervescent, and I loved that they were reunited for some closure.
Overall, The Stationery Shop is not to be missed for fans of stories about families, cultural/diverse reads, historical fiction, and book and paper lovers like me who love all these other things, too, will be absolutely giddy to read this powerful, emotional love story set on a strong historical backdrop. I’m adding Together Tea, the debut by Marian Kamali, to my cart right this very instant.
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
About the Book:
From the award-winning author of Together Tea—a debut novel hailed as “compassionate, funny, and wise” by Jill Davis, bestselling author of Girls’ Poker Night—comes a powerful love story exploring loss, reconciliation, and the quirks of fate.
Roya is a dreamy, idealistic teenager living in 1953 Tehran who, amidst the political upheaval of the time, finds a literary oasis in kindly Mr. Fakhri’s neighborhood book and stationery shop. She always feels safe in his dusty store, overflowing with fountain pens, shiny ink bottles, and thick pads of soft writing paper.
When Mr. Fakhri, with a keen instinct for a budding romance, introduces Roya to his other favorite customer—handsome Bahman, who has a burning passion for justice and a love for Rumi’s poetry—she loses her heart at once. And, as their romance blossoms, the modest little stationery shop remains their favorite place in all of Tehran.
A few short months later, on the eve of their marriage, Roya agrees to meet Bahman at the town square, but suddenly, violence erupts—a result of the coup d’etat that forever changes their country’s future. In the chaos, Bahman never shows. For weeks, Roya tries desperately to contact him, but her efforts are fruitless. With a sorrowful heart, she resigns herself to never seeing him again.
Until, more than sixty years later, an accident of fate leads her back to Bahman and offers her a chance to ask him the questions that have haunted her for more than half a century: Why did he leave? Where did he go? How was he able to forget her?
The Stationery Shop is a beautiful and timely exploration of devastating loss, unbreakable family bonds, and the overwhelming power of love.
Have you read The Stationery Shop, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR