Megan Harlan
October 27, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Persian Bride

Current Status
In Season
James Buchan
Houghton Mifflin
Fiction, Romance

We gave it an A

Set in Iran during the last 25 years, James Buchan’s utterly transporting novel The Persian Bride is part delightful romance, part journey into a harrowing political labyrinth. As an adventure-seeking young hippie in the mid-1970s, narrator John Pitt lands a job teaching Isfahani schoolgirls English — only to fall in love with a student, Shirin, the prickly, whip-smart teenage daughter of the Shah’s star military advisor. The couple’s elopement to a crumbling Persian Gulf mansion — a passionate idyll culminating in their daughter’s birth — eventually leads to John’s nightmarish imprisonment during Khomeini’s revolution and fundamentalist regime, with his wife’s and daughter’s fates unknown. Employing elegant prose and scathing wit, Buchan (A Parish of Rich Women) inlays the dramatic architecture of recent Iranian history with a dazzling — and ultimately hopeful — love story. A

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