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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 23 September 2006
I agree with London Emma- the story is so captivating you want to hurry along to find out what happens to the characters, but the descriptions of London and village life in Iran are so beautifully crafted that you allow yourself to slow down. A few times I had to stop reading altogether because I choked up- the author loves her characters so much but they do endure some very deep pain! The beauty in this book left me breathless and eager for more.
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on 4 May 2006
I loved this novel. The storyline makes you want to race to the end, but the language is so beautiful that you also want to take your time to relish the words as you go. I empathised with the characters right from the start, it made me laugh out loud, as well as sob my heart out, and the evocations of Iran are totally beguiling. Highly recommended, it's a fantastic read.
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on 3 May 2010
This book really was a good read. Not un-put-downable, but very good all the same. It had an interesting plot, likable characters, and provided the reader with a very good first-hand view of Iran's past and present. For a country that we only hear about negatively, this book does give a more balanced view of such an ancient land. At the same time though, it does not shy away from being critical of the current regime and the way Iranian society treats women. It also gives the reader a good insight into how lonely it can be for anyone to move away from their homeland. The author certainly has a gift at conveying emotion as you can feel the sense of yearning that Maryam feels for Iran throughout the book, a sense that I'm sure anyone would feel in a strange country, especially if we had left home under such unfortunate circumstances.

I love a book that teaches me something about another land, another culture or another time. This book certainly delivered on all counts for me, granted a lot of the story is set in the present day. If you're sitting on the fence about buying it, hop off and get it. It really is worth it.
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on 7 December 2010
Like some of the other reviewers of The Saffron Kitchen I, too, loved this book. The storyline about two people in love who have been forced apart is given new meaning and added layers. Maryam Mazar is a complex character, not always nice, but that makes her all the more human and believable. Author Yasmin Crowther takes us from London to Iran when Maryam returns to confront events in her past. Beautiful descriptions create a strong sense of place rich with colours and tastes and scents. Along with the story of star-crossed lovers, The Saffron Kitchen is about family relationships, cutlrural identity and belonging. Reviewed by Mary Smith author of No More Mulberries
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on 5 December 2010
I really enjoyed this book which tells the timeless story of lovers who were forced apart but in a way which is fresh and captivating. The characters of Maryam and her daughter Sara are authentic and engaging and the story is beautifully written. It takes us from London to Iran and evokes a strong sense of place wherever the action is taking place. With Iran being so much in the news at the moment this is an important book which provides a less negative perspective, though that is not to say the author paints a rose-tinted picture of Iranian culture. The Saffron Kitchen also gives us an idea of how difficult it to be a foreigner in a foreign land. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning something about other cultures. I also recommend No More Mulberries by Mary Smith, also a debut novel but one written about Afghanistan which has a Scottish central character married to an Afghan doctor - a novel which, like The Saffron Kitchen, allows the reader to become totally immersed in a different culture, to feel as though they are really there.
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on 27 September 2011
I read this book recently and was very moved by it. The author has written in a great way to get the reader very into the story - there is the current life now for Maryam and then we have a look into her history which is very powerful.

The only thing whihc i found slightly negative is that Maryam seems to have lived/has lived, most of her adult life in memory of her childhood with not a great deal of feeling for her current situation. That and the fact she found an extremely tolerable and understanding husband!!

However would very much recommend this book as it is a great read.
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on 22 November 2008
I loved this story. It was a bit slow getting started but I found myself drawn into the characters and the cultures which unfolded beautifully evoking insightful images of the mixing of two cultures and two countries. The emotional climax of the book moved me to tears partly as it was related with such beauty, care and understanding, as injuries of the past are released at last. A really beautiful book in so many ways.

Sandra Hillawi
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on 24 December 2013
What I have read so far is really interesting and gets more so with every page you turn - good descriptions, good story, well written and can't wait to get back to read the rest!!!!!
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on 31 July 2007
In truth I was a little disappointed with this book partly as it had such an interesting premise. Set against the back drop of some of the most interesting times of Iranian history the story fails to capitalise on either the coup of Moussadegh or the events of the Islamic revolution. Though the author draws little on Iranian history one does at least get a taste of Persian culture and though the author is part Iranian herself one gets the distinct feeling that the author seems to have a slight inferiority complex with the English characters in the book being calm, understanding and always loving and the Iranian characters seem irrational mini-despots who entertain all sorts of prejudices. The story itself is fairly simple, it tells the timeless tale of lovers denied and growing up in separate corners of the world only to reunite at journeys end. Whilst the story isn't bad in itself there is nothing that particular sells this book or makes it orignal and it deserves to belong firmly in an anonymous mediocrity.
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on 2 August 2015
This is a very good novel but does fall away towards the end, appearing to attempt to do too much or complete explanations as to why someone is the way they are. A story set between Iran (from the time of the Shah) to London. It is primarily a novel about the interrelationships of women in one family line. A mother (Maryam) and daughter (Sara) dyad. Although there is also the cruel and remote Iranian father of Maryam and her worn down and beaten mother. At heart of the story is Maryam on the cusp of adulthood-being directed by her father into an arranged marriage but living on the edge of a forbidden but first love. Her destruction of who she was meant to become by bringing perceived shame on her highly placed family and exile. Ending up in England in a safe marriage to Edward (from Whitby and English to the core). An exile who never comes to terms with her status and appears ever to yearn the feelings of her first but unconsummated love. It is a powerful mix and on the whole well told. In particular the early interactions of mother and daughter and how the mother became who she was and ended in exile in England. Separated from her family, her village and culture as Iran became a religious state. Hinting at a darker secret, this however when fully revealed is rushed. The last section in Iran the voices of daughter/mother become indistinguishable-a monologue trying to make sense and reach the story's conclusion. And as such it is an ending which does not match the flow of the first two thirds of the novel.
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