Book Review: Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran by Marion Grace Woolley #reviews #literature

Available from Ghostwoods Books February 2015
A ravishingly written book that burns ferociously long after the last page has been turned.
This book blew. Me. Away. I haven’t laid hands on something this beautiful, this sensuously dark and attractive, since Patrick Susskind’s Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.
Set in an 1850s that feels as modern and yet as fable-like as any fantasy or fairytale, the story follows Afsar, a young woman who is the daughter of the Shah. In the Shah’s country palace, time is something that needs to be filled. The entire royal family fills it with sadistic repasts, feasts of blood that torture and murder the sworn enemies of state. The rosy hours of the title refer to a particularly horrific days-long torment of a group of rebels, a blood-soaked orgy of violence and cruelty.
Growing up in such an environment and under the thumb of a father who is not actually her father, Afsar yearns for something more. What that something is, she isn’t sure. When a circus is brought to the palace grounds, she is captivated by a magician who wears a mask to hide his facial deformity. After she murders his friend, a girl she takes as a rival for his affections, the magician trains her in the art of murder.
It is something she takes to well. At first there is hesitation and even repulsion that she fights to quell. Underneath she finds that something she has been missing: the feeling of power, a strength that is denied her under the dictates of her brother-father, palace life, and a culture that oppresses women.
She finds freedom of a sort…a gashed and bleeding sort that wounds both her and her victims. She creates justice for other women who are wounded while also oppressing those around her—the poor, the weak, other women. She is as deformed internally as her paramour is externally.
This book grips readers in a way that defies description. While you walk with Afsar, you hold her hand as much as you are held in her thrall. You feel repulsion and yet something more, compassion and pity. This is a dark tale, yes, but one with the complexity that places it immediately in the ranks of classic literature that will live far longer than any of us reading this now. Clearly one for the ages.
An enthusiastic 5 stars!
Check back on Wednesday for an interview with this author.

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran by Marion Grace Woolley #reviews #literature

  1. Pingback: Author Interview: Kate Harrad | Writer's Resource Blog

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