Woman Master

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An elegantly written tale of one Persian woman's journey—she marries for love, and eventually loses everything and must start again. The author says "I wanted to tell a Persian story and I wanted Westerners to hear it the way an Iranian might hear it."

Strong, independent, and always with an opinion of her own, Pari grew up in an environment where women were expected to marry young and bear children, but she elopes with a wealthy older man who already has one wife. Her husband is Master to a large rural village community and his new wife Pari becomes the Zan-Arbab, the Woman Master. Realizing that she is unable to have children, Pari lives vicariously through the villagers, who teach her important life lessons. Her somewhat idyllic life changes drastically when, soon after her husband takes another wife who can bear him children, he loses all his money and is forced to sell his villages. Pari flees to her cousin Zeeba's house in Tehran where she finds that the family is full of conflicts and strong personalities waiting to collide. Though she is treated as a servant responsible for cooking, cleaning, and other menial tasks, Pari is the one person Zeeba and the other women in the household turn to in times of trouble. As time goes by Pari sees changes in the status of women in Iranian society and the new challenges this brings to young and old alike. Throughout the turmoil, she maintains a steady resilience and in doing so suggests that age-old cultural traditions have much to offer the Iran of today. 


Mehrnaz Stars is a former oil futures analyst, currency trader, and market analyst. This is her first novel.