Scent of Butterflies by Dora Levy Mossanen

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Source: TLC Book Tours and Sourcebooks
Paperback, 288 pgs
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Scent of Butterflies by Dora Levy Mossanen is a novel of vengeance as an Iranian Jewish woman, Soraya, convinces her husband, Aziz, to let her go to America on an assignment.  As with many revenge tales, Soraya spends a great deal of time building her trap, complete with sweet nectar, only to find herself ensnared in her own web.  Readers will be holding their breath as she weaves her garden of plants in America, making it lush and beautiful to attract her prey.  She spends most of her days cultivating the land around her and taking photographs of American and Iranian men to make her husband jealous.

“Humans get buried under earthquake rubble, break their bones in tornadoes, drown in stormy seas.  Butterflies, despite their fragility, are hardly affected by most of these natural disasters.  Not only that, they are capable of migrating unimaginable distances.  They simply float with the wind, staying on track with uncanny tenacity until they arrive at their intended destination, just as my friend did.”  (page 50)

Growing up in Iran and enjoying certain freedoms, Soraya is taught to become independent, but once those freedoms are taken away following the revolution, she has little choice but to obey the strict tenants of her religion.  Her Baba has called her an artist since she was a little girl, but like many things in her life, there is an undercurrent of deception.  As she flees Iran and her pain, she tries on new identities before settling back into her own.  Readers will be at once baffled by her actions and heartbroken for her, but will they understand that this passionate woman has lost her entire world when her husband betrays her with another woman?  Sympathy from the reader can be a tough balance in a story of revenge, but Mossanen has created a character bucking the repression of her culture and the tumultuous nature of a country with conflicting identities.

Scent of Butterflies by Dora Levy Mossanen is complex and a lush novel for the senses that will have readers debating how far a woman scorned would go to right a betrayal and how far she would go to retain her freedom.  Very well written and absorbing, readers will be attracted by the decadent honey in Soraya’s web.

About the Author:

Dora Levy Mossanen was born in Israel and moved to Iran when she was nine. At the onset of the Islamic revolution, she and her family moved to the United States. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of California-Los Angeles and a master’s in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.

Dora is the bestselling author of the acclaimed novels Harem, Courtesan, and The Last Romanov. Her fourth and most provocative book, Scent of Butterflies, was released January 7, 2014. She is a frequent contributor to numerous media outlets including the Huffington Post and the Jewish Journal. She has been featured on KCRW, The Politics of Culture, Voice of Russia, Radio Iran and numerous other radio and television programs. She is the recipient of the prestigious San Diego Editors’ choice award and was accepted as contributor to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Dora Levy Mossanen’s novels have been translated into numerous languages world-wide.


  1. Anna (Diary of an Eccentric) says

    Part of me is intrigued by the complexity, but part of me thinks it would be exhausting to read. Glad you enjoyed it, though.

  2. I can’t imagine loosing my freedom and rights like that, but of course that is one of the great values of books like this – they put us in the shoes of people who ARE experiencing those things and show us exactly what it is like.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  3. I passed on this one. Seems like a book that requires a little focus and right now, I have none so I thought it better to pass than read it and not enjoy it.

  4. bermudaonion(Kathy) says

    This sounds captivating.