Phew! I'm finally caught up. I've been reading a lot lately, but I haven't done the best job of writing my review right when I read the book and they sort of got piles up. But I saved the best for last. I LOVED, loved, loved this story.
This story is set in 19th century Iran and revolves around the nomadic family of Anahita, who is, herself, like many in her community, a weaver of rugs. As is typical of her people, when she was 15 years old, her father said she needed to get married. I cannot even imagine! He also told her that there was a rich and powerful man, one who could affect the welfare of her people in important ways, who had asked for her hand. This rich and powerful man is also quite old and not kind, and Anahita really does not want to marry him.
Anahita tries and tries to think of a way out of her situation, and finally she decides to ask her father if she can create a riddle inside of her weaving and hold a contest to see which man can guess the riddle and its answer. She says she could not be happy with a man who did not enjoy riddles, and since this is one of the joys she and her father share, he eventually consents to her contest, even though it may, and indeed does, cause some problems.
There are several men who vie for her hand, and their stories are woven through Anahita's story in clever ways, person by person. As I read about each one, I found myself rooting for that one. Then when I'd read about the next, I'd be rooting for him. Except the old khan, I never wanted him to win. In the end I was torn between tow, but I think the better choice was made, and not without some tension and excitement.
This was fabulous, beautifully written story. I would highly recommend it to readers of all ages. It is on the order list for the WOMS library, so you can look for it there in the fall, or go to your local branch of the Multnomah County Library now.