1 Oct 2014

Review: Demascena by Holly LynnPayne

Skywriter Books
Fiction-Literary, Historical
ISBN (paperback) 978-0-9822797-4-8
Publication date: June 1, 2014
348 pages | 88,000 words
Barnes & Noble

Holly Payne's spellbinding tale brings the unparalleled poet, Mevlana Rumi, to life, and transports readers to the enchanting world of 13th century Persia. Simply but elegantly told, the story unravels the mystery surrounding a legendary orphaned girl, who discovers her gift of turning roses into oil. Named after the flowering rosa damascena, the girl reluctantly assumes the role of a living saint for the miracles she performs-longing for the only one that matters: finding her mother. Deeply wounded by the separation since birth, Damascena undergoes a riveting transformation when she meets Rumi and finally discovers the secret of the rose. Imbued with rich historical research and inspired by the devastating disappearance of Rumi's most lauded spiritual companion, Shams of Tabriz, Holly Payne has courageously opened herself to receive Rumi's teachings and offer a timeless love story.
Excerpt, Chapters 1 - 3

Review by new Fiction Dreams reviewer, Christine Smith

I would give it 5 stars. I really enjoyed this read. full of mystery and excitement needing to know what happened next to Demascena.
The author explains that the fictional story centres around two historical mysteries, One of Rumi's beloved friend, who was his spiritual companion, Shams who was later killed, leaving many theories around his death. The second Mystery involves an Afghan girl who is said to have had a great influence on Rumi's faith.
The Fictional story of Demascena brings both these historical mysteries together. Whilst reading my emotions for this girl was like a roller coaster, a sense of sadness at the loss of her mother and anger when I felt she was being exploited, by the young friar Ivan Balev, that had raised her from birth after her mother left. As the story moved on I found admiration for the determination and courage of Demascena as she moved through her spiritual development becoming a strong and beautiful women, that had learnt the true meaning of Love through kindness and forgiveness.

Author Bio
Holly Lynn Payne is an internationally published novelist in ten countries whose work has been translated into eight languages. Dutton/Plume published her first two novels, The Sound of Blue and The Virgin’s Knot, her debut novel, selected as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers and Border’s Original Voices book. Her third book, Kingdom of Simplicity, won the Benjamin Franklin Award, a Marin Arts Council Grant, Grand Prize for the Writers Digest Self-Published Book Awards and was nominated for a National Book Award in Belgium. It was published in Taiwan, China and the Netherlands. A native of Pennsylvania, Payne graduated from University of Richmond with a degree in journalism and earned a MFA from University of Southern California. She has taught throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, serving on the faculty at California College of the Arts and Stanford. She lives in Northern California with her young daughter and serves the literary community as a writing coach, editor and volunteer producer for Litquake.
Twitter: @HollyLynnPayne

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