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SCENT OF BUTTERFLIES: A novel of betrayal ~Dora Levy Mossanen

Monday, February 16th, 2015

“This is all a butterfly’s life amounts to.  Evolving from egg to worm to adult, with nothing better to do than obsess over a quick sip of nectar so as to get on with the senseless frenzy of mating.” (Page 59)

SCENT OF BUTTERFLIES was just the perfect read for a rainy day, knowing that the camellias were blooming and the bulbs pushing upward out of the ground.  Mossanen has written quite a story that includes the garden and the fragrances surrounding not only the flowers but the people as well.  The nose knows and having a very sensitive smelling instrument it was lovely to identify with this trait.

Soraya is a woman of Iran and she was in school during the revolution and the rise of the Mullah controlled society.   She is a tall, blond Jewish woman, the only child of a very, very wealthy family.  Her life includes a father, mother, and a wise old Grandmother – Emerald, who was the jeweler to the Shah and his family.  Her life is as she wishes and includes a best friend who she protects because this friend lost her family and is being cared for by an abusive aunt.  Soraya’s father covers her Parvaneh’s expenses including the private school they both attend.  At age 13-14 Soraya falls in love with Aziz and they are married when she is 15 and of age.  The story begins when they have been married for 20 years and do not have children.  Soraya is a photographer, limited by the mullah’s rules for women in Iran.

With a warning from her Grandmother, Soraya discovers how she has been betrayed and with her safety net in place she leaves Iran for the United States to plan her revenge.  She purchases a mansion in Los Angeles and develops a butterfly garden and a trap for those who betrayed her.   She is aware that she can never go back to Iran and although this upsets her she forges ahead in preparation.

Lots and lots of secrets in this story and Soraya is so in love with Aziz she does not see as clearly what is happening nor that her obsession and perception is controlling an extremely limited view of relationship and adoration.  She is changing to be like the butterfly as she lives in her anger.

The writing was the true gem of this story.  The author states that this story took her years to write, is written and re-written, and is her most personal.  It was just a pure pleasure to read this story and about a different culture.  It had enough fantasy with the incredible wealth involved and yet the fine details were not to be missed.  The political nuances were very descriptive and assisted the reader in finding a way to identify with the characters and understand how the situation created change and new coping skills.  It is valuable to know the story behind the world news headlines.

I say thank you to TLC BOOK TOURS  for sending this book to me for review and to the author for creating a story that I am able to highly recommend.

About the Author (from the book cover)

Dora Levy Mossanen was born in Israel and moved to Iran when she was nine.  At the onset of the Islamic revolution, she and her family were forced to leave Iran and settle in Los Angeles.  She has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of California-Los Angeles and a master’s in professional writing from the University of Southern CA.

Dora is the bestselling author of the widely acclaimed novels HAREM, COURTESAN, and THE LAST ROMANOV, translated into numerous languages. She is the recipient of the prestigious San Diego Editors’ Choice Award and has been featured in various publications and media outlets, including SH’MA, LOS ANGELES TIMES, KCRW, Radio Iran, Radio Russia, and numerous television programs.  In 2010, Dora was accepted as contributor to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

She blogs for the HUFFINGTON POST and reviews fiction for the JEWISH JOURNAL.  She is working on THE VISIONARY, her fifth novel.

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FLIGHT BEHAVIOR ~Barbara Kingsolver

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

One of the parts I like best about Barbara Kingsolver’s writing is her word choice and sentence structure FLIGHT BEHAVOIR did not disappoint.  Those strong descriptive sentences just generated the story from hook to full investment.   I feel fully in sync with her style and I enjoy looking up some of the words to broaden Kingsolver’s intentions.

Nature in all her fabulous beauty is the main character of this book as a big change is revealed to a young woman on her way to staying the same and repeating stifling patterns.  Kingsolver is an extraordinary translator for Mother Earth and her lessons of wisdom, movement and change.  Who knew that a butterfly could be so vibrantly noisy and create new stories in our lives?  These are not just sound bites rather magical eye opening treasures hung from every branch for our witness. FLIGHT BEHAVIOR describes the world freshly from our habitual context.

“…this may be the first novel to realistically imagine the near-term impact of ‘global weirding.’” ~Amazon book reviewer

The story is set in a created town called Feathertown, Tennessee and the human being who is learning from Nature’s story is a feisty young mother named Dellarobia Turnbow.  This young woman is trying to change her life by doing what she knows how to do and by feeling trapped by her love for her children.  Like every mother she wants the best for her children, but doesn’t look to identify what is best for her.  An unsatisfying STUCK experience.   In FLIGHT BEHAVIOR, the butterflies are working to change a situation in their environment which is no longer working for them; in survival mode they are making sweeping changes.   Along comes the vibrant colors and Ovid a Jamaican Butterfly Scientist to introduce new ideas and concepts and bring to light what is happening.

As the butterflies dazzle the community and open possibilities and all those old patterns are brought to light, the community begins to act out in the ways it has been programmed.  The individuals display their natures, their emotions and Dellarobia becomes the scapegoat.  FLIGHT BEHAVIOR is a wonderful study of predictable human behavior also and their amazing responses to change.  We all need to change, it is how we were beautifully created.

Barbara Kingsolver is a powerful teacher, scientist, and wordsmith.  I am sure you will be touched by this story and it will linger with you.  FLIGHT BEHAVIOR is a must read especially for those who do not believe in climate change.  Magnificent!

Sometimes it takes just the right words to influence us to make change, sometimes it takes a sharp poke in the eye to reveal what needs to be rebooted in our systems.  We are being challenged by so many weather and health disruptions in our lives in the present; I think Dellarobia’s changes encourage us to probe our lives further and to focus out beyond the lines in the sand.  She did leave the “stuck in the muds” of her community behind in the flood.

“FLIGHT BEHAVIOR is a painful poke in the eye.”

If you purchase anything from this site from Amazon or Powell’s I will receive a few blossoms in my bouquet.  Thank you.  Donations also welcome.

tlc logo I did not receive a copy of this book from TLC online tours or the publisher.  This book was from my own library.  TLC online Tours did ask me to review this book and are offering a free copy of this book for a comment on this review.

Related Reading:
Barbara Kingsolver this Writer’s Writer
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