The Stationery Shop
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.

The Stationery Shop Details

TitleThe Stationery Shop
Author
ReleaseJun 18th, 2019
PublisherGallery Books
ISBN-139781982107482
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Contemporary, Cultural, Iran, Romance, Adult Fiction, Adult, Literary Fiction

The Stationery Shop Review

  • Elyse Walters
    January 1, 1970
    LONG ....BUT NO MAJOR SPOILERS....There is much to like about “The Stationary Shop”, where we are taken back to the year, 1953 when Mossadegh was the Prime Minister in Iran, during political devastating-havoc. Many people in Iran loved Mossadegh. They believed he was their democratic leader who had the courage to stand up to foreign powers wanting their oil. Mossadegh was ‘hope’ for the many people in Iran who believed in him. They felt he was the right man to achieve democracy. The anti-Mossade LONG ....BUT NO MAJOR SPOILERS....There is much to like about “The Stationary Shop”, where we are taken back to the year, 1953 when Mossadegh was the Prime Minister in Iran, during political devastating-havoc. Many people in Iran loved Mossadegh. They believed he was their democratic leader who had the courage to stand up to foreign powers wanting their oil. Mossadegh was ‘hope’ for the many people in Iran who believed in him. They felt he was the right man to achieve democracy. The anti-Mossadegh folks were angry - they thought Mossadegh was a communist and many not only wanted to replace him - plotting against him for General Zahedi as post-coo Prime Minister replacement - they wanted Mossadegh dead. Demonstrations got ugly and frightening. Protesters were shouting “Marg Bar Tudeh”....death to Mossadegh. History had never been more frightening- dangerous and ugly. The protesters managed to enter Mossadegh’s house... but he managed to escape through a window to a neighbors. The coup d’Etat conspirators looted the prime misters house - burned some of the contents -completely destroying his house. The coop had succeeded. The world would be changed the world forever. The political history written by Marjan Kamali, is clear, accurate, uncomplicated, straightforward, and easily accessible.....making this a great book choice for anyone who is unfamiliar with the political history & culture of Iran. This novel would make a a great pick for American High School and college students. The history was written simple to understand - yet frustrating for many in Iran to understand why American government had a hand in the coup. I spent several months in Tehran in 1974....I cherish my memories ....with some crazy stories and great times! Back to this story.....During the summer of 1953, a couple fell in love. Roya and Bahman were 17 years old. Both bright educated students. They were engaged to be married. But for reasons - (much for the reader to ponder), they never married each other. Bahman literally vanished from Roya’s life on the very same day that they had planned to meet at Sephah Square at Cafe Ghandi.....the same cafe where Roya first tasted coffee during the New Year holiday: ‘Nowruz’. Bahman ordered them both a steaming Italian espresso with cream. Passing on Roya’s normal drink - tea - to try coffee - wasn’t the only change for Roya during the most memorable summer of her life. Everything was changing fast and faster since falling in love with Bahman. Her thinking opened politically in ways they never had until she fell in love with an activist. She planned to secretly marry Bahman at the office of Marriage and Divorce...a few weeks before their real wedding. But on August 19th, 1953....when demonstrations - and violence in the streets were at an all time high....during the overthrow of Mossadegh....the day hundreds were killed...Roya was alone waiting for her fiancé. August 19, 1953, they were going to marry - meeting at their favorite cafe, but Bahman never showed up. Roya and Bahman first met in a Stationary/ Book store Shop, run by Mr. Fakhri. Mr. Fakhri used to refer to Bahman as “the boy who would change the world”. Symbolically....the title of this book will be clear in many more ways than one, once the reader is finished reading it all. Four and a half years after the coop...four and a half years since Roya and Bahman were to marry....Bahman was working at a petroleum company....married to another women....with a baby on the way. I found it shocking and sad to learn about Bahman’s job. The suspense of why - how come - and what happened- that broke up Roya and Bahman, will keep you guessing to the end. Time kept moving on....Roya and her sister Zari came to California- both having received an international scholarship at Mills College in Oakland....( a small private college not far from UC Berkeley).... Our own daughter went Mills College.......and UC Berkeley.I kept thinking about how political demonstrations changes people ....I thought about the protesters against the Vietnam war when I was attending UC Berkeley. Time keeps moving on.....Bahman - and Roya - both senior Citizens - looked back on their summer - of love - during political chaos. ...August 19, 1953 is a day neither had forgotten - Time ‘still’ keeps moving on....Sixy years later....Bahman wondered what his generation learned. He had worked hard to do all the right things to bring about political change… Democracy… but in one day, in one afternoon, foreign powers and corrupt Iranians destroyed all his dreams. What had he learned? What regret did he have? Getting older....Roya married Walter. Her sister Zari married Jack. Both sisters married Americans...had children .....jobs ....( we get lots of juicy stories about living in America as an Iranian).....From the SF Bay Area ...to New England....it seemed no matter how many years went by - births...events... happiness and tragedies... when Roya was alone in her thoughts....Bahman was who she reflected on. I felt incredibly sad for people who worked hard for good changes in the world, but then saw themselves as failures, or worse....dead.I felt even sadder ....when I learned the why’s and ‘what happened?” It’s amazing to think about how one WORD can be ‘life-changing’. Iran was a complex nation in 1953 - still is. History repeats itself...Politically charged.... In 1979 Iran had its Islamic Revolution- no longer ruled by the Shah - but religious clerics. This was also a wonderful story exposing the many complex relationships - the challenges facing cultural traditions vs. progressive changes - love and loss. Young-adult-coming of age - falling in love and all the influential complexities including parents - in-laws - siblings - friends - aging (memories, ailments, regrets, sorrows, perspective)Besides Iranian political history being brought to life, which historical fiction readers will appreciate...fans of romance novels might enjoy this book as well. Universal themes include family, and friends.....with ‘love’ being at the heart of everything that really matters. If you enjoy Persian food.... there are many wonderful dishes being served. Yum!Besides being a very engaging enjoyable book.....this story is timely - given the political relations between the United States and Iran today. Kudos to author Marjan Kamali! Terrific heartfelt storytelling - written with intimacy and compassion.....This book - a lovely tribute - offers an understanding of life for Iranians and Iranian-Americans.Thank you Marjan Kamali. I plan to read more by this lovely author.Thank You Netgalley and Gallery Threshold
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  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    Look at love How it tangles With the one fallen in love Look at spirit How if fuses with earth Giving it new life Five lyrical, heart-wrenching/ripping/breaking into pieces, soul shaking, perception changing, revolutionary, magical, eternal love stars!The list of the things you need urgently after you finish this book are:- Rolls of toilet papers, napkins, paper towels, anything helping you out to clean the nasty evidence of your ugly cries!-Fresh air! So you can howl at the moon like a wolf for Look at love How it tangles With the one fallen in love Look at spirit How if fuses with earth Giving it new life Five lyrical, heart-wrenching/ripping/breaking into pieces, soul shaking, perception changing, revolutionary, magical, eternal love stars!The list of the things you need urgently after you finish this book are:- Rolls of toilet papers, napkins, paper towels, anything helping you out to clean the nasty evidence of your ugly cries!-Fresh air! So you can howl at the moon like a wolf for getting rid of bottled up emotions, anger, frustration.-Punch bags and gloves! Some of the characters on this book will piss you off so much as you remember their name (She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named!!!), use the punch bags instead of your lovely house walls or glasses!- A good comedy movie or TV series to binge watch! Because you're gotta remember, there are still funny things in life!-Eat pasta, chocolate to rise up your blue mood!- Stay away from Zanax or any other prescribed pills, hard liquors which could deepen your depression. Try smoothies, ice cream or softer drinks!- Good make up products to hide your puffy red eyes! This story was started in Tehran, a stationary shop, it's a place where its owner Mr. Fakhri, helps the young people for their political awakening and fight for reformist changing of their country but it is also the safe place of book lovers who want to devour the words and broaden their intellectual minds. Young Roya, book-worm, 17, comes to the stationary shop to find herself, her own words and meets Bahman Aslan ( Aslan means lion, Bahram is mostly brave, passionate character just like his last name). As soon as they met, they understood that their life would never be the same. They fell in love when they were 17. They got engaged and against Bahman's mother's rejection who were suffering from psychological problems, they planned to get marry at the summer as the political turbulence commotion, danger of upcoming coup rising like Damocles' sword over their heads! But one day, Bahman and his family disappear and Roya can only communicate with him by the letters hidden inside the books with the help of Mr. Fakhri. Finally young lovers decide to get marry and meet at the square to go to the mayor's office with their documents. Roya waits for Bahman, witnesses Mr. Fakhri`s dying because of a political commotion at the square. And then she gets a letter from Bahman that says he wants to break up with her. Devastated Roya, decides to go to the US for college education and fresh start for her broken heart with her sister. So this is 60 year old story of two lovers who have broken up , tried to gather their pieces of their broken hearts, gone to their separate ways to move on their lives and finally they got back together after 60 years to have their closure !But you know that lovers don't finally meet somewhere.. They're in each other all along! As like Bahman ans Roya! I cried so much! I hurt so much! I cursed so much! This is a poignant, emotional, life changing and heavy story to absorb, digest properly about passion, ideals, dreams, sisterhood, traumas, betrayal, abortion, loss, devotion, trust, friendship, psychological issues !I still feel lumps on my throat! Especially final pages are so hard to continue! But it's totally worth it! Because this is an incredible journey about faith, love, beautiful Rumi poems!I enjoyed every second of it.I'm so lucky that I received this amazing complimentary ARC from the publisher, courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange of my honest review! I think it's safe to say I loved this book so much and again thanks to NetGalley to help me meet this gifted writer!
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    5 starsMy goodness. Another beautiful and enthralling read in a year full of them for me! I am going to be brief as the less said the better for potential readers of this wonderful novel.The Stationery Shop (the perfect title for this story) is set in two timelines—1953 and 2013. I would estimate, however, that 90% of the story takes place in 1953, including, believe it or not, the epilogue. Our protagonist is Roya, a young woman who turns 17 years old in 1953. She meets her first love, Bahman, 5 starsMy goodness. Another beautiful and enthralling read in a year full of them for me! I am going to be brief as the less said the better for potential readers of this wonderful novel.The Stationery Shop (the perfect title for this story) is set in two timelines—1953 and 2013. I would estimate, however, that 90% of the story takes place in 1953, including, believe it or not, the epilogue. Our protagonist is Roya, a young woman who turns 17 years old in 1953. She meets her first love, Bahman, in a stationery shop run by a kind man eager to nurture young people who come in looking for knowledge. Both Roya and Bahman love poetry. The 1953 setting is Tehran, Iran, which is in political turmoil. The author’s research is obvious as we are presented with what Iranian life was like at that time, including the culture, the state of the unstable government, and the accompanying unrest. We also get a flavor of Persian food. And a most touching young romance.Things do not go as hoped and much grief and sadness ensues. To say more would risk saying too much. What happens to these people involves social mores of the time, mental illness, lies and deceit, familial wishes, deep regret, and again, political unrest. This is NOT your usual young romance - in no way, shape or form. Ultimately, although I felt drained at the end, we get understanding, compassion, acceptance and an abundance of love in many different forms. The Stationery Shop, a most moving and unforgettable tale with exceptional characterization, gets all the stars and is highly recommended.
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  • Susan Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    I decided to read this after reading reading the enthusiastic review from my GR friend, Elyse. Unfortunately I didn't respond in the same manner. There are parts of it that I really liked and parts that just drove me up the wall. I don't know if it's because I am old and cranky but the romance section just dragged out so long I wanted to scream. It just went on and on. I know many people like that so this could be the book for you. I was more interested in the political situation of Iran in 195 I decided to read this after reading reading the enthusiastic review from my GR friend, Elyse. Unfortunately I didn't respond in the same manner. There are parts of it that I really liked and parts that just drove me up the wall. I don't know if it's because I am old and cranky but the romance section just dragged out so long I wanted to scream. It just went on and on. I know many people like that so this could be the book for you. I was more interested in the political situation of Iran in 1953. There was a democratic Prime Minister overthrown by the Shah, backed by the Americans. That was fascinating. In fact it was that political situation that broke up the young lovers, Roya and Bahman. Bahman is a staunch supporter of the Prime Minister. The couple meet at a Stationery Shop that also operates as a post office for young lovers. Roya is determined to read all the foreign translated novels. Bahman enjoys the poetry. The romance blossoms and blossoms and blossoms. I did enjoy the food descriptions. It all sounded quite delicious. I also liked the story of the two young sisters traveling to America on scholarship to Mills College in the Bay Area. It was quite interesting to read of them making new lives in America. This could have been a better book. for me, if there was less romance. Thanks to Net Galley for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
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  • RoseMary Achey
    January 1, 1970
    The Stationery Shop is a place you will want to visit again and again! In this skillfully plotted novel author Marjan Kamali introduces us to the violent upheaval leading up to the fall of Mossadegh in 1953 Iran. Against this political unrest we are introduced to a wonderful cast of characters you will immediately bond. I would argue fate is also a major character in the novel.The novel’s true beauty lies in its capacity to emotionally move the reader. You cannot read this story without feeling The Stationery Shop is a place you will want to visit again and again! In this skillfully plotted novel author Marjan Kamali introduces us to the violent upheaval leading up to the fall of Mossadegh in 1953 Iran. Against this political unrest we are introduced to a wonderful cast of characters you will immediately bond. I would argue fate is also a major character in the novel.The novel’s true beauty lies in its capacity to emotionally move the reader. You cannot read this story without feeling something. I predict the book will touch a vast majority of readers in a way they did not think a novel capable. Due to the fact the story begins in Iran and the American audience has little experience with this setting, the rise of this novel may be slow. Word of mouth will play a major role in expanding book sales. How many times have you picked up a book you might normally bypass because a trusted reading friend raved about it? Consider me your trusted reading friend and pick this book up on June 18th when it is released. Visit The Stationery Shop and I guarantee it will be one of your favorite reads of 2019!
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  • Jennifer S. Brown
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not a very emotional person--I'm usually left dry eyed when others are sobbing over books all around me--but this novel gutted me in the very best way possible. I am wowed by The Stationery Shop.The story of Roya and Bahman begins when they are teenagers in 1953 in Tehran. The two fall in love, meeting in secret at the Stationery Shop. They become engaged, although the political upheaval around them and family demands threaten to tear them apart. The two decide to marry anyway, but when Roya I'm not a very emotional person--I'm usually left dry eyed when others are sobbing over books all around me--but this novel gutted me in the very best way possible. I am wowed by The Stationery Shop.The story of Roya and Bahman begins when they are teenagers in 1953 in Tehran. The two fall in love, meeting in secret at the Stationery Shop. They become engaged, although the political upheaval around them and family demands threaten to tear them apart. The two decide to marry anyway, but when Roya goes to meet Bahman for their wedding, he doesn't show up. The story then moves forward--through the 1950s, into 2013--as we trace Roya's life, which has the mystery of Bahman's rejection constantly dangling over it. In 2013, they meet again in the United States, where Roya settled. The details in this novel are exquisite. Kamali has a light touch--never does the story feel weighed down--but she paints a rich portrait of what life was like in Iran in the 1950s, with the foods, the smells, the customs. The setting is as beautifully drawn as the characters. Kamali also includes the Iranian politics of the time in an incredibly seamless manner. The upheaval plays a large part in the story but doesn't weigh it down. (In 1953, Iran was on the brink of revolution as the Shah was in power but in direct conflict with Prime Minister Mosaddegh, all the while a Communist faction looked to gain a foothold in the government.) This novel, which I read courtesy of NetGalley, is one I didn't want to end. The images are haunting, the story both heart-breaking and uplifting. It's a story of love and family and the things we give up and the losses we deal with. I am now eager to search out more books that take place in Iran. In the meantime, I can say that though the year has only just begun, this will absolutely be one of the best books of 2019.
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  • Karis
    January 1, 1970
    Yes, this book is technically a romance, but what I loved the most was how it opened my eyes to the Iranian culture, to the complexity of living in a land constantly in political upheaval. For the first time, my heart identified and ached for a generation of people I had never truly concerned myself with before.I loved the simple parts too— the food and customs, the smells, the taarof extreme politeness and small talk, the deeper meaning conveyed in conversation through the Farsi language, even Yes, this book is technically a romance, but what I loved the most was how it opened my eyes to the Iranian culture, to the complexity of living in a land constantly in political upheaval. For the first time, my heart identified and ached for a generation of people I had never truly concerned myself with before.I loved the simple parts too— the food and customs, the smells, the taarof extreme politeness and small talk, the deeper meaning conveyed in conversation through the Farsi language, even the rallies and seeing the extreme divisions of political opinion. At first I’ll admit it was only those things I enjoyed; Roya’s romance and story itself I wasn’t that invested in, but as she grew older and all the different POVs and time jumps worked to write a fuller and broader story than just Roya’s, I grew more and more engaged in the story. And it was Roya and her new eyes in taking in California and America and later her grief in losing her daughter Marigold that captured my heart. It was Bahman and his letters that made me mourn for everything that had happened in his country, the disappointment in fighting for a cause and seeing it destroyed. (And, wow, just read a little on the history of the 1953 Iranian coup d’etat, and see if your heart doesn’t ache as an American over our involvement in the coup.) But… there were some parts I was uncomfortable with in this book and didn’t enjoy. Roya still loving Bahman while married to Walter, or the fact that every book published now days feels as if it needs a gay side character or Mr. Fakhri’s 1916 POVs that were rather uncomfortable to read, to say the least. So, I’m grateful for this book in a lot of ways, but at the same time, I wasn’t 100% comfortable with all the content. Four stars for the way it drew me in. FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for promotional purposes from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.
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  • Joan Happel
    January 1, 1970
    This is historical fiction done right! The Stationery Shop is the beautifully told story of Roya Kayhani, a 17-year old lover of Persian poetry and Bahman Aslan, an energetic young man already known as a political activist. The two meet in Mr. Fakhri’s stationery shop and begin to fall in love. Despite the objections of Bahman’s class-conscious mother, they become engaged. Their passionate romance is set against the political passions of 1953 Iran. Roya and Bahman decide to marry and arrange to This is historical fiction done right! The Stationery Shop is the beautifully told story of Roya Kayhani, a 17-year old lover of Persian poetry and Bahman Aslan, an energetic young man already known as a political activist. The two meet in Mr. Fakhri’s stationery shop and begin to fall in love. Despite the objections of Bahman’s class-conscious mother, they become engaged. Their passionate romance is set against the political passions of 1953 Iran. Roya and Bahman decide to marry and arrange to meet, but a coup d’état against Mossadegh causes chaos in Tehran and Bahman does not show. Heartbroken, Roya decides to go to college in America where she meets and marries a young Boston law student and settles down. Sixty years later, she discovers that Bahman is a resident in a nursing home nearby. Roya decides to visit him and finally piece together the truth about their ill-fated story.A deeply moving plot and wonderfully drawn characters make this novel a pleasure to read. The sights, sounds and aromas of 1953 Tehran permeate the first part of the story, while Roya’s heartache, resilience and determination to go on with her life fills the later parts. The historical events in Iran and the fate of some of those involved are a fascinating backdrop and very relevant to today’s politics. Fans of historical fiction, women’s fiction and romantic fiction will find this a great read. Moving and heart-achingly beautiful, please don’t miss this one.Thank you to NetGalley and Galley Books for the e-ARC.
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  • Crystal King
    January 1, 1970
    This book wrecked me. Up at midnight, bawling into my e-reader as I finished this book. Kamali knows how to ratchet up the emotions. She also knows how to write a beautiful book, full of incredible prose, believable characters and an intricately woven plot that will have you gasping as it unfolds. When I read books like these ahead of their publication (thanks NetGalley and Gallery!), it is both a gift and a curse--I want everyone to read it NOW but they will have to wait. But oh, that wait will This book wrecked me. Up at midnight, bawling into my e-reader as I finished this book. Kamali knows how to ratchet up the emotions. She also knows how to write a beautiful book, full of incredible prose, believable characters and an intricately woven plot that will have you gasping as it unfolds. When I read books like these ahead of their publication (thanks NetGalley and Gallery!), it is both a gift and a curse--I want everyone to read it NOW but they will have to wait. But oh, that wait will be totally, completely worth it. The story of star-crossed lovers Roya and Bahmin will sit with you for years to come.
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  • Mary Keane
    January 1, 1970
    My heart was with these characters from beginning to end. A wonderful, engrossing, moving story.
  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    The Stationery Shop is a beautifully mastered historical fiction love story that gripped me as soon as I read the opening letter by the senior editor Jackie Cantor. She writes: 'The wealth of feeling it evokes - of young love, of loss and grief, of the valiant but ultimately vain effort to leave the past behind, and of the unexpected connections that can heal us - is so resonant and deeply imagined that I defy anyone who reads it to remain unmoved." Her words alone drew me in and, upon finishing The Stationery Shop is a beautifully mastered historical fiction love story that gripped me as soon as I read the opening letter by the senior editor Jackie Cantor. She writes: 'The wealth of feeling it evokes - of young love, of loss and grief, of the valiant but ultimately vain effort to leave the past behind, and of the unexpected connections that can heal us - is so resonant and deeply imagined that I defy anyone who reads it to remain unmoved." Her words alone drew me in and, upon finishing this story, I admit that I wholeheartedly agree with her. This novel is now being added to my list of all time favorite novels. It stirred such strong emotions in me and has left a long-lasting impression upon me. I cannot possibly write a review that captures this book as perfectly as the senior editor did.
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  • Jim
    January 1, 1970
    When young Roya meets Bahman in a 1953 Tehran stationary and bookshop, love blossoms and the two young Iranian young people plan out their life together after they graduate from High School. But Iran is on the verge of coup that will change the course of the nation and their lives, but for additional reasons that Roya does not discover, until years later.Marjan Kamali has penned a wonderful and engaging story of love, politics, and family with her novel The Stationary Shop. Set against the backd When young Roya meets Bahman in a 1953 Tehran stationary and bookshop, love blossoms and the two young Iranian young people plan out their life together after they graduate from High School. But Iran is on the verge of coup that will change the course of the nation and their lives, but for additional reasons that Roya does not discover, until years later.Marjan Kamali has penned a wonderful and engaging story of love, politics, and family with her novel The Stationary Shop. Set against the backdrop of 1953 Iran, The Stationary Shop is a study of relationships in a society that is rapidly changing and turbulent.Written in a narrative style which moves the reader forward in time to contemporary America and backwards to an Iran of the early twentieth century, this novel is not just a story of two young people, but of families, and a society and nation, that is a turbulent mix of progressive individuals looking who believe in democracy and progress and deeply conservative ones who believe that the long held traditions of faith and family are essential to the stability of society, family, and reputation.The Stationary Shop is a kaleidoscope of issues that readers today can relate to: the political tensions between a progressive hope and force and a traditional belief in a strongly structure society; democracy verse monarchy; traditional family roles verses a desire to pick whom to love and marry especially as it relates to woman's role; and the shadow of what we call today mental illness and its effect on a family.I liked The Stationary Shop for its engaging characters, its study in contrast between families, nations, and societies; and the always powerful hope of love that moves people to make sacrifices and a difference.This novel would be a great read in history and literature classes as well as in reading groups.I rated this novel four-stars on GoodreadsNote: I received an electronic ARC of this novel from the publishers in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review.
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  • Samidha Kalia
    January 1, 1970
    *A copy of the book was provided by the publisher, Simon and Schuster Canada, in exchange of an honest review.* 3.5 🌟🌟🌟.5 This book was one emotional roller coaster ride. The book compares itself to The Notebook and The Kite Runner, and I think it was more similar to The Notebook than the latter. Nonetheless, it was very interesting. This book is set in 1950s Iran, during the country’s peak period of tension regarding democracy or monarchy. The romance was set against a vivid environment of c *A copy of the book was provided by the publisher, Simon and Schuster Canada, in exchange of an honest review.* 3.5 🌟🌟🌟.5 This book was one emotional roller coaster ride. The book compares itself to The Notebook and The Kite Runner, and I think it was more similar to The Notebook than the latter. Nonetheless, it was very interesting. This book is set in 1950s Iran, during the country’s peak period of tension regarding democracy or monarchy. The romance was set against a vivid environment of change, conflict, and creativity. The youth were changing, the old societies were changing, it was easier to marry into an upper class family, the customs were waning. I think more than the story, the setting was a very fascinating part of the plot. "Another rally. Another political demonstrations where people screamed. Barricades had been set up at the front of the square. People chanted pro-Mossadegh slogans as a megaphone blared." We follow the lives of Roya and Bahaman, from 1950s to 2013. The Stationery Shop along with destiny were almost characters within the text because they held so much value in the story and within the characters' lives. The first-love atmosphere was beautifully captured by Kamali. As long as the story was focused on Roya and Bahaman I thought there was a momentum  that was keeping it from being dull. Roya was a naive seventeen year old who was willing to risk her life so she could be with Bahaman. And Bahaman was a politically active youth who wanted Iran to have a democracy. He was the “boy who will change the world”. The aspects I most liked about the book were its easily distinguishable secondary characters: Zari, Mrs Aslan, Mr Fakhri and so on. I also liked the focus on culture, roots, and traditions. I liked that equal importance was given to the revolution and the romance, rather than using the revolution as a tool to set the romance. "It was tradition to visit relatives in the thirteen days following the first day of spring. They called upon elders first and then worked their way down the age." However, somewhere mid-way the book became utterly boring.  I think the biggest challenge while writing a book is to get the reader through the middle pages where the maximum action takes place. Unfortunately, this book made me completely loose interest in the story somewhere in the middle. Not only did it start pandering to stereotypical love-over-seas story line but it was also not very well thought-out. I mean, I am genuinely not interested in the mundane life of Roya and how she teaches her white friends to appreciate and eat Iranian food. I wanted a skim through of her life; instead I got a diary entry for each year. Although, I would recommend this book for its diverse set of characters, and the beautiful story, as well as for the setting and culture – I must warn you it might be a tad bit tough to read the part in the middle. PeaceSamidha********Copy provided by the publisher, Simon and Schuster Canada, in exchange of an honest review.*3.5 stars.RTC!Phew, what an emotional ride it has been. Following along the lives of Bahman and Roya, and a culture eerily similar to my own.
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  • Anna Luce
    January 1, 1970
    ★★✰✰✰ 2 stars Maybe I shouldn't have read this alongside a book by Elif Shafak...a writer who brilliantly evoke multiple cultures and cities populating them with vastly differentiating, and realistic, people. Although in The Stationary Shop there are glimpses of a talented writer, the writing was incredibly repetitive with an abundance of clichéd phrases and observations. The few scenes which managed not to make me roll my eyes were the ones which revolved around cooking. Perhaps I was hoping fo ★★✰✰✰ 2 stars Maybe I shouldn't have read this alongside a book by Elif Shafak...a writer who brilliantly evoke multiple cultures and cities populating them with vastly differentiating, and realistic, people. Although in The Stationary Shop there are glimpses of a talented writer, the writing was incredibly repetitive with an abundance of clichéd phrases and observations. The few scenes which managed not to make me roll my eyes were the ones which revolved around cooking. Perhaps I was hoping for a story with a greater focus on the political conflict in 1950s Tehran but The Stationary Shop is first and foremost a love story. This love story features many clichés and banalities which seem more fitting of a soap opera. Many of the 'key' plot points were predictable and demanded a huge suspense of disbelief, such as (view spoiler)[ the two lovers not realising that their final letters had been written by someone else, this pages after the narrative has informed us that Roya could always recognise Bahman's writing. Really?! Consistency, where are you? (hide spoiler)]. The story follows as Roya spends most of her life pining away for Bahman, and that's about it. The revolutions, wars, and marriages that occur are merely a prop to this lacklustre love story which was filled by saccharine declarations and obstacles that were frankly laughable. And I am sick of reading of 'evil' mother-in-laws. That the story then tries to use mental illness as the instigator for this character's evil actions was little more than a cheap trick. Kamali should have trusted her readers more rather than reiterating the same things time and again. A lot of pages repeat the same information using exactly the same words, and I was frustrated by this constant 'spoon-feeding'. We get it! There are paragraphs and paragraphs that are just useless or poorly phrased and add little to the narrative. The story makes completely avoidable, and unnecessary, things happen to its characters as a way of making readers 'feel bad' or sympathize with them..which didn't really work for me. Roya was a boring character whose main characteristic is that she loves Bahman. Bahman is a poorly rendered character whose spotty characterization makes for a really unbelievable love interest. The characters rotating around Roya alternate between being bland and cartoonish.Overall, this books was frustrating. Not only is everything that happens in this story is predictable but the way in which the narrative reveals major plot points is incredibly grating. I probably won't be trying other novels by Kamali anytime soon... Read more reviews on my blog
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  • Carrie Nellis Crisp
    January 1, 1970
    This was so beautifully written but a emotional novel . To me it hit home with untreated mental illness or depression hurting so many people . Many of us gather the strength to move forward and learn to forgive . This story is about a young teenage couple who fell in love in 1953 during a political battle in Tehran accidently in a Stationary Shop . They had their future planned out but lies and deceit changed everything for this young couple . As time goes by they both get the answers they longe This was so beautifully written but a emotional novel . To me it hit home with untreated mental illness or depression hurting so many people . Many of us gather the strength to move forward and learn to forgive . This story is about a young teenage couple who fell in love in 1953 during a political battle in Tehran accidently in a Stationary Shop . They had their future planned out but lies and deceit changed everything for this young couple . As time goes by they both get the answers they longed for .
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  • Jenifer
    January 1, 1970
    If you like historical fiction spanning decades and tales of star-crossed lovers add this book to your 2019 TBR pile (and perhaps add an extra box of tissues to your shopping list, too.) What I really loved about this novel was how Marjan Kamali brought the culture and traditions of mid-20th century Iran to life. Reading this book made me want to find the nearest Persian restaurant and led me in search of recipes for the melon ices Roya sips at their wealthy friend Jahangir's tango party. The sc If you like historical fiction spanning decades and tales of star-crossed lovers add this book to your 2019 TBR pile (and perhaps add an extra box of tissues to your shopping list, too.) What I really loved about this novel was how Marjan Kamali brought the culture and traditions of mid-20th century Iran to life. Reading this book made me want to find the nearest Persian restaurant and led me in search of recipes for the melon ices Roya sips at their wealthy friend Jahangir's tango party. The scenes that center around food- cooking, eating, discovering- are among the most beautifully written parts of the book and are often the means by which Kamali's characters connect. I also loved the descriptions of the Stationery Shop, which almost feels like a beloved character itself throughout the book. Seeing its story arc come full circle near the end of the book brought tears to my eyes. Thank you to Gallery Books and Edelweiss for providing me with a free review copy.
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  • Olivia & Lori (The Candid Cover)
    January 1, 1970
    Full Review on The Candid CoverThe Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali is a book that stays with you long after reading. This historical fiction is a love story that starts during the 1953 Iranian coup d’état. Roya and Bahman are fantastic characters and the cultural aspects of their lives are enjoyable to read about.Having not learned much about the history of Iran in the 1950s, this book is a real eye-opener to the events that lead to the ousting of the country’s democratic leader in 1953. Roya a Full Review on The Candid CoverThe Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali is a book that stays with you long after reading. This historical fiction is a love story that starts during the 1953 Iranian coup d’état. Roya and Bahman are fantastic characters and the cultural aspects of their lives are enjoyable to read about.Having not learned much about the history of Iran in the 1950s, this book is a real eye-opener to the events that lead to the ousting of the country’s democratic leader in 1953. Roya and Bahman are teens who have fallen in love during this dangerous time, and their story is heartbreaking and intense.❀ EMPOWERING CHARACTERSBoth Roya and Bahman are incredible to read about. Roya’s family is very close-knit and quite determined that she and her sister will become something big one day. The motivation that their father gives Roya and her sister to become educated is amazing. Also, Bahman is so intriguing, as he is very politically active and quite charismatic. It is easy to see how Roya falls for him and never stops loving him despite all of their hurdles.My favourite aspect of The Stationery Shop are the descriptions of food. Roya enjoys cooking for others and takes pride in her Iranian upbringing. There are so many scenes in the novel where she shares her love for a taste of home. Kamali will leave her readers wanting to try some of these incredible dishes as well.❀ HEARTBREAKING STORYThe Stationery Shop is an epic historical fiction that describes a time that is not discussed enough in literature. This is a story that will break hearts and enlighten its readers at the same time. Definitely one that I highly recommend.
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  • Madeline
    January 1, 1970
    You should read this book if:1. You want to be swept off your feet by the familiarity of young love and the power it holds. 2. You appreciate cultural novels written by authors who have a place in that culture. 3. You love connecting to characters, and when your heart swells and aches with them. Bahman and Roya are 17 and in love, a feeling that many of us have known before. Set against the political unrest that encased Iran in 1953, their relationship blossoms. But then, by a trick of fate, the You should read this book if:1. You want to be swept off your feet by the familiarity of young love and the power it holds. 2. You appreciate cultural novels written by authors who have a place in that culture. 3. You love connecting to characters, and when your heart swells and aches with them. Bahman and Roya are 17 and in love, a feeling that many of us have known before. Set against the political unrest that encased Iran in 1953, their relationship blossoms. But then, by a trick of fate, the day they are destined to meet to bring their love to law, they are separated. Two lovers meant to meet once again continue down their paths, isolated from one another. This book was pure magic to me. I walked into this novel thinking I would learn a bit more about Iran, about politics, and that the romance in the middle would be insignificant. I wildly underestimated what was to come. The reason I loved this book so much was because of how incredibly attached to the characters I became. I even became attached to the food and the places. I grew up in a small town in MA and I actually believe that Duxton was based on my own hometown Duxbury in at least name. If I wasn't already so invested in this novel, that would have officially done me in. Every inch of this book was exquisite. From the intimate scene of cooking Persian food to the grappling with grief and loss. It is human and beautiful, and well worth a read. Thank you to NetGalley and the lovely publishers who have allowed me to experience this ARC in return for honest feedback.
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  • Devyn
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from Goodreads.The Stationery Shop is a Venus flytrap.It lures you in with its vivid cover and its bibliophile title and its promise of a powerful love story and its Persian cultural feel. And then...…. IT COMSUMES YOUR HEART AND SOUL. It charms you with kisses and letters and promises, and then wrecks you with a Soo Close and an Almost and a Reconciliation. "Those who are young tend to think that life's tragedies and miseries and its bullets will somehow miss them""The past I received this book from Goodreads.The Stationery Shop is a Venus flytrap.It lures you in with its vivid cover and its bibliophile title and its promise of a powerful love story and its Persian cultural feel. And then...…. IT COMSUMES YOUR HEART AND SOUL. It charms you with kisses and letters and promises, and then wrecks you with a Soo Close and an Almost and a Reconciliation. "Those who are young tend to think that life's tragedies and miseries and its bullets will somehow miss them""The past was always there, lurking in the corners, winking at you when you thought you'd moved on, hanging on to your organs from the inside.""It is love from which we never recover."
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. 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, id I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. 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 neighbourhood 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 favourite 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 favourite 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.This book was a fascinating look into the Persian culture and how love works (or can work) in such a time of upheaval.. that said, I found it very slow and boring and struggled to read I and found myself distracted and wishing the book would end ... while barely into it. As a librarian, if I do not learn something new or get engaged in the characters I do not finish the book as there are too many good ones out there to read and review.(I said that I would be honest!) Don' take my 2star review to be the law and be all of end all ... it may fascinate and entertain you ... it just didn't work for me.NOTE: I cannot link this review to LinkedIn - there is something wrong with the linking/programming and it will not happen.
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  • Anne Wolfe
    January 1, 1970
    This book could have been so much better with some good editing and polishing of an uneven writing style. The first half of the novel is filled with unnecessary repetition. How many times is it necessary to tell us the younger sister sets her hair with newspaper strips to make it wave? It's interesting to read about cooking smells, but the redundancy here never ends. And descriptions of body odors and soap smells? Not necessary. Phrases like "sounds like a plan" and words like "wimpy" are anachr This book could have been so much better with some good editing and polishing of an uneven writing style. The first half of the novel is filled with unnecessary repetition. How many times is it necessary to tell us the younger sister sets her hair with newspaper strips to make it wave? It's interesting to read about cooking smells, but the redundancy here never ends. And descriptions of body odors and soap smells? Not necessary. Phrases like "sounds like a plan" and words like "wimpy" are anachronisms and I know because I grew up in the mid-50's.Marjan Kamali could have written a 4 or 5 star book if the deathless love story had been more believable and less fairy-tale. Descriptions of the life-style, practices and real pictures of parents and Iranian history were so well done that you know the author can do better. And she does, in the second half of the book.Thanks to NetGalley for an early copy and to Simon and Schuster, Gallery Books for a chance to read and review.
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  • Staci
    January 1, 1970
    This is a love story and a story about loss. It’s also a coming of age saga. The backdrop to the story is the political climate in Iran starting in 1953. It touches on the exile of the Shah in 1979 and the story ends in 2013. Roya and Bahman are seventeen and fall in love amidst the political turmoil and chaos that eventually leads to the 1953 coup that ousts prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh. The young lovers are separated and their lives take unexpected (and not so unexpected) paths. This turn This is a love story and a story about loss. It’s also a coming of age saga. The backdrop to the story is the political climate in Iran starting in 1953. It touches on the exile of the Shah in 1979 and the story ends in 2013. Roya and Bahman are seventeen and fall in love amidst the political turmoil and chaos that eventually leads to the 1953 coup that ousts prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh. The young lovers are separated and their lives take unexpected (and not so unexpected) paths. This turned out to be a really beautiful story. I just love, love, LOVED the Persian culture, it made the story that much more interesting. The food ... oh man, it all sounded so YUMMY ... it made me wish there was a Persian restaurant nearby.The politics were very well done. I went into this book knowing very little about Iran’s political history and it was all very easy to understand. It was laid out very well, nothing overly complex or confusing about it. Iran’s struggle for democracy made the perfect backdrop to the Roya/Bahman relationship. Two young people from two different classes, their relationship nurtured and encouraged by a stationer whose first love was thwarted by class disparity and parental/social expectations. It did take a little bit to get into this story. The first part was rather flowery and saccharine but this was very specific to Roya and Bahman’s relationship. The political backdrop more than made up for this. Plus, once time passed and Roya reminisced about her first love, I have to admit that it all actually worked. So stick with it because it is absolutely worth it!I highly recommend this novel. ARC was provided by NetGalley and Simon & Schuster. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this novel.
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  • Lynne Lambdin
    January 1, 1970
    There are very few books turned movie adaptations that I don’t rip apart with my “I read the book before the movie was a thing” arrogance. You know the type. Usually found after the movie complaining about the following: “I’m so mad they left that out!”, “That wasn’t in the book!”, or “If you read the book you would understand!”. That’s me! But The Notebook is my outlier. One of the very few books that were a complete letdown considering the movie. But now that I’ve finished The Stationery Shop There are very few books turned movie adaptations that I don’t rip apart with my “I read the book before the movie was a thing” arrogance. You know the type. Usually found after the movie complaining about the following: “I’m so mad they left that out!”, “That wasn’t in the book!”, or “If you read the book you would understand!”. That’s me! But The Notebook is my outlier. One of the very few books that were a complete letdown considering the movie. But now that I’ve finished The Stationery Shop I might let go of some of that bitterness because this book by Marjan Kamali was everything The Notebook should have been…..The Stationery Shop was such a tragic, yet beautiful telling of young love caught in the hooks of imperfect beings. We get introduced to Roya and Bahman, two young lovers from different social backgrounds living in Iran during a time of uncertainty. With a whirlwind courtship, they decide to get married. But not everyone approved of their future together. On the day they plan to get married, Bahman doesn’t show up as planned. Eventually life moves on, but sometimes love can’t.There were so many great aspects of The Stationery Shop. Particularly, I loved the setting being in Iran. The love story between Roya and Bahman takes place during 1953. This was a time where there was a major political divide. The country was constantly walking on egg shells with spies, traitors, and attempts of assassination. The play on politics really ramped up the novel giving it more depth. Additionally, I haven’t read too much about the Iranian culture, I believe this was only my second experience. I really enjoyed learning more about their country’s history, traditions, and every day life. Again, I think this novel provides extra layers of deepness taking it to the next level. There certainly are some schemers in this novel that push true love off course. Kamali offered readers insight into the past for these characters. Giving us the inside scoop to the sequences that lead to their actions. I really loved these intricate details that brought the story full circle. People may behave badly but oftentimes it isn’t because they are bad people. They just had bad experiences and the influence those experiences have can hold a death grip. There are also many good people in this novel specifically I took notice in the men. Most of the men were forward thinking feminist which I really loved. Walter in particular sticks out to me. While his role is fairly small, his actions read so loudly on the page. The Stationery Shop is a story with much to say. You’ll read about loss, being human, making mistakes, taking a stand, being a good person, and above love. I would highly encourage you to give this one a shot when you want to feel a little something. Thank you NetGalley and Gallery Books for an advance copy of The Stationery Shop.
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  • Valerie
    January 1, 1970
    The Stationery Shop is not your typical love story, starring eyed lovers don't sail off into the sunset. The shop is owned by Mr. Fakhri a scholar himself opened this shop so he might help the young with knowledge and risk is located in Tehran, the capital of Iran, a country always under distress. People go about their business some not so concerned about government problems. Most worried about their families and where their future will lead them. But through lives tribulation young minds, intel The Stationery Shop is not your typical love story, starring eyed lovers don't sail off into the sunset. The shop is owned by Mr. Fakhri a scholar himself opened this shop so he might help the young with knowledge and risk is located in Tehran, the capital of Iran, a country always under distress. People go about their business some not so concerned about government problems. Most worried about their families and where their future will lead them. But through lives tribulation young minds, intelligent minds cross paths in their beloved Stationery Shop and in that first glance fall in love. Roya in her last year of high school in her favorite shop meets Bahman a young Iranian boy. Although their parents have different plans for them they fall in love and can't wait to be married. Many deterrents will occur, many unwanted question never answered. The two lovers march on facing the devils that cross their paths. Love will conquer all or will it. Marjan Kamali creates a familiarity with the Iranian traditions with Roya's and Bahman's culture. She took me to through the streets of Tehran and into Royas Maman's kitchen where I could smell the khoresh with all the spices cooking. I learned about the Persian Nowruz the celebration of spring and the new year. This is a story about love that never is forgotten, a story that will stay with me maybe until the next Norwruz. Looking forward for the audio book so I can revisit and hear all of these wonderful characters that Marjan made dear to my heart. 4 Stars
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  • Sara ☽
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley for giving me a chance to read and review, "The Stationery Shop"by Marjan Kamali. I finished this book last night. Let me tell you, this book is breathtakingly beautiful. I cried like a baby. It's the best book I have read this year so far (probably will be my favorite for years to come) & I believe it will be the best book of the year for a lot of other people as well. I read somewhere comparing this book to "The Notebook". I do see some small similarities to that. It Thank you to Netgalley for giving me a chance to read and review, "The Stationery Shop"by Marjan Kamali. I finished this book last night. Let me tell you, this book is breathtakingly beautiful. I cried like a baby. It's the best book I have read this year so far (probably will be my favorite for years to come) & I believe it will be the best book of the year for a lot of other people as well. I read somewhere comparing this book to "The Notebook". I do see some small similarities to that. It felt so real with the scenery and the people. I thought about Roya and Bahman even when I wasn't reading. The story centers around Roya, a young woman living in Tehran in 1953. While visiting her favorite stationary shop down the street, she meets a boy named Bahman and their encounters soon turn to love. Before they are set to be married, Bahman asks Roya to meet him at the town square. Even though Roya waits, Bahman never shows up. Roya waits weeks after but she has not heard anything from Bahman. Roya has no choice but to move on. More than sixty years later, Roya finally gets to ask him why he never showed up and how he was able to forget her. I truly can't say enough good things about this book. It took my breath away.
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  • Patricia Doyle
    January 1, 1970
    The Stationery Shop, primarily about Roya and Bahman, begins in Iran and ends in America. It is a beautiful story that makes us realize that life is what happens, not what we plan. I won’t summarize this very complicated story since that’s well covered in the book’s description. I will say that it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a few years. The story takes place from about 1953 to 2013 and touches on the politics and turmoil of Iran, the Iranian customs requirements of women and families, The Stationery Shop, primarily about Roya and Bahman, begins in Iran and ends in America. It is a beautiful story that makes us realize that life is what happens, not what we plan. I won’t summarize this very complicated story since that’s well covered in the book’s description. I will say that it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a few years. The story takes place from about 1953 to 2013 and touches on the politics and turmoil of Iran, the Iranian customs requirements of women and families, friendships, love, and so much more. The Stationery Shop is where Roya and Bahman, besides finding books and poetry, found love.Characters are developed beautifully. The author expertly interweaves all of their lives together. Many, many situations happen in these relationships, some happy, some not so much, all believable. Some of the Persian dishes sounded so good that I actually looked up one of the recipes and am anxious to try it.I was mesmerized by this book. The pace and writing were captivating. The storylines pulled me in, and my empathy surprised me at times. I hated to put it down when life – and nighttime – called. I sincerely thank NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read and review this book. It was my pleasure. Well done, Ms. Kamali. Well done.
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  • Cynthia
    January 1, 1970
    Enter Iran 1953, we meet Roya, full of hope and dreams for the future. Roya's family is very modern and believe in education for women. This is not the Iran of today, this Iran is like the west, no covering of the women's hair, women are educated and free. Roya is a frequent visitor of Mr. Fakhri’s neighborhood book and stationery shop and this is where she will meet Bahram, a young boy full of idealistic and political dreams for Iran that go against the current regime.This is not only a wonderf Enter Iran 1953, we meet Roya, full of hope and dreams for the future. Roya's family is very modern and believe in education for women. This is not the Iran of today, this Iran is like the west, no covering of the women's hair, women are educated and free. Roya is a frequent visitor of Mr. Fakhri’s neighborhood book and stationery shop and this is where she will meet Bahram, a young boy full of idealistic and political dreams for Iran that go against the current regime.This is not only a wonderful love story with some heartbreak, but a glimpse into the past as far back as 1916 that I found fascinating. I loved that the author took us that far back and centered on Iran of the 1950's, an era that we rarely hear about.This book also brings us to the USA where Roya and her sister end up building a life for themselves.I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was a love story and a wonderful glimpse into the Iran of yesteryear. This review was originally posted on Fictional Reviewer
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 but rounding up because the writing was okay and I learned about the turmoil Iran from the perspective of the protaganists [and not history books]. And also about customs, traditions, and food.I won a copy of this book touted: "As powerful as... The Kite Runner and with the emotional impact of... The Notebook. I loved the former, have only seen the movie of the latter. A love story--two teenagers in 1953 Iran set amidst the political turmoil. I learned alot ab0ut the political situation from 3.5 but rounding up because the writing was okay and I learned about the turmoil Iran from the perspective of the protaganists [and not history books]. And also about customs, traditions, and food.I won a copy of this book touted: "As powerful as... The Kite Runner and with the emotional impact of... The Notebook. I loved the former, have only seen the movie of the latter. A love story--two teenagers in 1953 Iran set amidst the political turmoil. I learned alot ab0ut the political situation from the perspective of the protagonists [in particular] versus reading a history book. [Well yes, this is a book of fiction.] But I also was immersed in the culture/traditions, and food.Love, loss, family, and loyalties are all consuming in this novel. Although much of this novel was sad, I found the story of Mrs. Aslan heartbreaking--on so many levels.The story later moves to America--mid-1950s, and ultimately 2013. Not nearly as engrossing or compelling as I'd have liked given the set up. In fact, I didn't think the book picked up until the second half. BUT. I did enjoy it. And once I got into the rhythm, I wanted to see how the story would end.
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  • M.G. Camacho
    January 1, 1970
    This being the first book I've read from author Marjan Kamali, I really enjoyed how well-written this book is and how the plot just continues to build up, and the characters just comes alive at every scene. I love how this book showed how the Iranian culture is very rich in symbolism and tradition and how this book clearly portrays the patriotism that burns in every young man's heart only to grow disillusioned with age. War, of any kind, is never an easy subject. It tears apart everything in it' This being the first book I've read from author Marjan Kamali, I really enjoyed how well-written this book is and how the plot just continues to build up, and the characters just comes alive at every scene. I love how this book showed how the Iranian culture is very rich in symbolism and tradition and how this book clearly portrays the patriotism that burns in every young man's heart only to grow disillusioned with age. War, of any kind, is never an easy subject. It tears apart everything in it's path and negatively affects the lives of everyone around it but despite the turmoil, grief and pain, love wins in the end. The heart of this story is about Mr. Ali Fakhri's and Mrs. Badri Aslan's past that affects Roya's & Bahman's future together. Despite how everything else turned out okay, this book has that dark cloud of sadness hovering over each page. The pain of not knowing why and yet continuing to pine for the one person, your first true love, the one who broke your heart is just heart-breaking and utterly sad.If you are one who enjoys reading about other people's cultures, social classes, history and believe that first love never dies, then this book is for you.
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  • Rhonda Hendrick
    January 1, 1970
    What a beautifully written novel. This is the story of Roya and Bahman, two young teenagers who fall in love in 1953 Tehran. Their love blossoms while they visit the stationary shop owned by Mr. Fakhri. On the day of their wedding, they are to meet in the town square, but Bahman doesn't show up. Violence has erupted around the square as Roya waits for Bahman. It takes 60 years but Roya finally sees Bahman again and learns what happened that fateful day and why they didn't spend their lives toget What a beautifully written novel. This is the story of Roya and Bahman, two young teenagers who fall in love in 1953 Tehran. Their love blossoms while they visit the stationary shop owned by Mr. Fakhri. On the day of their wedding, they are to meet in the town square, but Bahman doesn't show up. Violence has erupted around the square as Roya waits for Bahman. It takes 60 years but Roya finally sees Bahman again and learns what happened that fateful day and why they didn't spend their lives together. There were alot of circumstances that fought against their love in the past. It was a joy to read this book. The character development and description of the times, places and culture of Tehran made this a book not to miss. Thank you netgalley for allowing me to read this advanced readers copy for my honest, unbiased opinion.
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