4 out of 4 stars
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With the recent passing of her beloved adoptive father, Dr. Rose Hemmings is distraught. Her father’s final wish was for her to travel to Iran and uncover her roots. Due to a mixture of fear and trepidation, she keeps putting off the trip, but one night changes everything. Rose is compelled to save a stranger who suffers a gunshot wound, and while nursing him back to health, she finds herself drawn to him in a way that she cannot fully comprehend. Dean has an undeniable sadness about him, and Rose fears that if left alone, he could do something irreversible. His therapist recommends that the two travel together; that way, Rose can keep an eye on Dean, and he can support her on this difficult journey.
They travel to Tehran, Iran to meet Rose’s extended family, and her feelings for Dean continue to grow. She learns her biological grandfather, Morad Khan, is terminally ill, and she is next in line to be the heir to his power and opulence. This inheritance comes with a catch, of course, in return, she must become a citizen of Iran and marry her cousin Siyavash. She can’t possibly leave her life in America. That would mean giving up her career and her burgeoning love for Dean.
On the other hand, her medical expertise could be of great use to the people of Iran, and Siyavash is beginning to worm his way into her heart. Rose has never been in love, and now she finds herself torn between two lovers and two completely different lives. What will she do? One thing is for sure she is about to embark on the most memorable and heart-wrenching journey of her life.
This literary gem was impeccably written; it was like no other book I had ever read. On Loving by Lili Naghdi was a story that transcended your typical romance book and was in a realm all of its own. The book followed the main character Rose as she embarked upon the greatest adventure of all time. Throughout her journey, she was able to experience two great loves that filled but challenged her heart in ways she never knew possible. While the book is long in duration, it felt like moments between reading the first and the last line of the text. This book was a labor of love, and the author’s devotion to the story shone through on every page.
The thing I adored most about the book was the evolution of Rose’s character. With the story being quite long, the author took her time to develop the main character fully. In the beginning, Rose was portrayed as a no-nonsense doctor that was dedicated to her career. Due to her romantic inexperience, she paid little attention to matters of the heart. Things rapidly changed when she locked eyes with the enigmatic Dean. The author does an excellent job of conveying the desperation that one feels when experiencing love for the first time. As time goes by and Rose suffers the effects of a broken heart, the agony is replaced by the need for stability and loyalty. Siyavash’s character showed Rose a different type of love, one that was based on companionship and security.
While Rose’s character made a significant impact on me, the supporting characters were quite memorable, as well. Dean was the epitome of a tortured soul. With his desolate gaze and his mysterious demeanor, it’s no wonder Rose wanted to take care of him. The way his conflicting feelings for Rose were portrayed made him both lovable and frustrating. While I found Siyavash’s arrogance off-putting at first, he quickly became my favorite character. He was confident in his feelings for Rose, and his heart was transparent from the get-go. There were no secrets with him, no ulterior motives. He was an open book in which every page professed his love for Rose. Finally, Borna, Siyavash’s mother, was often Rose’s shoulder to cry on. She was a beacon of hope and strength on Rose’s darkest days and was able to impart her wisdom in a way that Rose understood.
On Loving had no issues with editing, and I can happily say that I found no errors in the book. By the first few pages, I knew I was in love, and I rushed through my responsibilities so that I could spend all of my time in the presence of this literary delight! I have chosen to give the book a rating of four out of four stars, but would give it more if I could!
On Loving would be well-suited to readers who can invest a significant amount of time into reading this book. If you love romance that is infused with quotes and poetry, this book is for you! The book is full of excerpts from inspirational poems by Rumi and Forough Farrokhzad, which adds another layer of beauty into this already breathtaking book.
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