The story is set in 1620 Iran. The narrator is never named but she tells the tale of a young woman who's father's death leaves destitute. Her and her mother travel from their one-tree village to Isfahan, the capital of Shah Abbas' reign. There they take refuge with an uncle they don't know who's wife quickly sees them as free labor and servitude. The daughter, however, has a gift of carpet weaving. The uncle is high up in Shah Abbas' carpet making realm so they are a good match. But this young poor girl is quickly stretched between the world where she can be self-sufficient in making her own rugs (if her own poor judgment would get out of the way) and the world where a woman should wed. She is offered a Sigheh (temporary marriage) to a wealthy horseman for Shah Abbas. While he seems to enjoy the situation, he won't make her a permanent wife and now she's "damaged" goods unless another man doesn't care about what she's lost. The story take the reader through abject poverty, to wealthy living, to the Shah's harem of concubines. Through it you learn about the various societies that ran through Iran at the time. Amirrezvani also has the mother finish off the chapters with Iranian folktales (and a few she creates herself). It was a hard book to get into but the rugs, the craft, and the art take center stage and the characters support.
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