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Synopsis: In 1972, Dr. Rose Hemmings has just finished her general surgery residency when a haunted stranger is shot in front of her in a New York City bar, and their lives become forever intertwined. And when, having been given the blessing of her adoptive father on his deathbed, Rose travels to prerevolutionary Iran to discover the past her American family kept secret from her, she finds a true Pandora’s box. It is a world both foreign and familiar, in which her primary place is as the heiress to a great tribe. In Iran, Rose will find family she never dreamed of, her own people, and a man who loves her as passionately as he does the rare black roses of his garden. She will return to the United States carrying a new secret and torn between two men: the one she loves helplessly, and the one who loves her unconditionally. Woven throughout with Persian poetry ancient and modern, “On Loving” is the story of one woman’s lifetime of love and loss, of societal change in a nomadic people, and of overcoming personal challenges, including mental and physical health, to find true contentment. Above all, it is a story of love: its physiology, psychology and philosophy; the many forms it takes; its myths and truths; its challenges, its joys and its gifts.
Critique: The author of “On Loving”, novelist Lili Naghdi is an Iranian Canadian physician who was born and raised in Tehran. This personal background has endowed her saga of a novel with an authenticity and background detail that another writer would not be able to include. A deftly written and thoroughly engaging read from beginning to end, “On Loving” is unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that “On Loving” is also available in a paperback edition (9781999497002, $18.80) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).