cover image Scent of Butterflies

Scent of Butterflies

Dora Levy Mossanen. Sourcebooks, $14.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-4022-8443-4

Soraya grew up in Iran surrounded by beauty and privilege. She is a photographer and independent woman, yet very much in love with Aziz, her husband. She can't bear to share him—even with her own potential child, so she has been on the pill without his knowledge since their wedding night. Yet when she walks in on her husband and childhood friend Parvenez (whose name means "butterfly" in Farsi) in flagrante delecto, Soraya flees Iran for Los Angeles under the guise of a photo assignment and buys a Bel Air mansion with funds given to her by her grandmother She raises, collects, and kills butterflies in the eucalyptus groves of her estate and plots a revenge on her friend. "I gently remove her from between my teeth. Squeeze the thorax between thumb and forefinger. A flutter. A sigh. And the insect goes limp." Mossanen (The Last Romanov) places the story primarily in Tehran at the end of 20th century where women are covered and can only appear in public in their rapoosh—"the dull brown mandatory overcoat," hidden in their mansions they sit on antique couches, walk on Persian carpets, and eat candied almonds. Their drivers take them to parties where they enter "makeup vestibules" to apply lipstick and adjust the designer fashions hidden under their robes. Politics and history play a small part in this tale, the real story here is of friendship, betrayal, and insanity fostered in those gated mansions, lush with the scent of spice and flowers. Agent: Anna Ghosh, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency, Inc. (Jan.)