The Stationery Shop

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

Such a beautiful story that weaves Persian history and culture with a timeless romance. I loved learning about the political history of Iran, having not read any books about this country before. I wish it had travelled even deeper into this aspect. The descriptions were wonderful! I could taste the food and smell the scents of Iran. 

The plot revolves around Bahman and Roya, two teenagers coming of age who fall in love and plan to marry. Despite Bahman’s mother’s protests, the two get engaged, but before they can wed, a civil coups takes place, overthrowing the government. The two young lovers get caught in the middle of the unrest and are unable to meet as planned.. Decades later, while living in America, Roya accidentally discovers that Bahman is living 50 miles away from her. She has always wondered what happened to Bahman, the love of her life, that fateful day.

The love story is sad and regretful yet there is an element of hope that brings the plot full circle. There were moments of overwhelming emotion, that hit me hard. It is a fascinating and poignant book that even has a couple of twists that I didn’t see coming. 

I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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What a heartbreaking story. Roya was such a strong character with all the love and sadness and change she faced. Iran was really brought to life for me and I learned a lot about it and the culture there from this story which I appreciate. I was able to believe all the characters and locations were real and I thought Marjan Kamali did a great job telling this story. Thank you for a look into a culture and history I knew nothing about.
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Superb Story Telling!
The Stationery Shop, by Marjan Kamali, is the story of young love between Roya and Bahman during the political upheaval of 1953 Iran.
It also manages to cover 60 years of their lives and how feelings of love and grief haunt us, even years later.
Beautifully written, realistic characters and the intersection of food and culture were wonderfully depicted.
I highly recommend this epic and enlightening historical fiction.

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada/Gallery Books for an arc of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
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The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali takes place mainly in Tehran in the 1950’s and also covers the political turmoil of the time. I loved this novel. I don’t often enjoy novels with love stories, but this was so much more than that. The characters all felt very believable and I liked all of them, even the ones who make mistakes. It revolves around how a ripple can change decades of time, and how the degrees of tradition or change can affect lives.

Thank you to Netgalley, the author and Simon & Schuster Canada for my honest review. I give this 4.5 stars of 5.
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The Stationery Shop is a sad story about lost love, and invites the reader to ponder the question of what could have been. I liked that about half the story takes place in 1950s Tehran, which I don't often see featured in historical women's fiction. I also found the set-up sweet: teenagers Roya and Bahman meet in Mr Fakhri's neighbourhood stationery shop and fall in love over a shared passion for poetry. Their romance is sweet, almost Romeo and Juliet-like in its innocence and inevitable tragedy.

The tragedy in this case is that a coup breaks out on the day of their planned elopement, and Bahman never shows up. He then breaks up with Roya through a letter, before disappearing from her life completely. Sixty years later, Roya, now a married woman in America, has the opportunity to see Bahman again and finally ask the questions that have haunted her all those years.

While The Stationery Shop is a lovely story and a quick read, it didn't quite grab me. The early parts, about Roya and Bahman's romance in Tehran, were very strong. I also felt for Roya after the breakup. I thought it was sweet that the sister agreed to go to America as well, just to help Roya move on, and I wish we'd seen a lot more of the sister's story. And I loved the romance with Walter, the Tintin lookalike whom Roya meets in America and ends up marrying.

But the actual climax of the book -- the present-day encounter between Roya and Bahman -- fell flat for me. Possibly it's because it felt more like closure than an actual rekindling of their earlier relationship. Because at this point, Roya had already built up an entire life separate from Bahman, her need for closure no longer felt as urgent to me. Or possibly it's because I loved Roya's relationship with Walter a lot, and thought that as sweet as Roya's romance with Bahman had been, he was best left in the past. All the cynic in me could think about was that the Bahman in these present-day scenes was already very different from the Bahman whom Roya had loved. Walter as well was remarkably understanding about Roya's desire to reconnect with her first love, so overall, the stakes of the encounter itself felt fairly low.

Still, The Stationery Shop is a beautifully told story with a somewhat old-fashioned feel. It will move readers who believe in the idea of one true all-overpowering love, and will likely move some readers to tears. 


Thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for an egalley of this book in exchange for an honest review.


This review will go live on my blog on July 17, 2019, 8 am ET.
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Beautiful book. Love that never die. Power of family over love. Intense until the end. A page of history from Teheran to United States.
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A high 4 stars!

The Stationary Shop was an unexpected treat. This novel is partly set in Iran in the 1950s and partly set in contemporary US. The story focuses on Roya, who is a teenager in the 1950s and in love with Bahman. Through politics and family, things don’t work out for them, but they meet again in their 70s in the US. Roya and her journey are told lovingly. A number of characters do terrible things, but no one is terrible — life is complicated and people make bad choices. It’s a story about class, politics, Iran, food and family bonds. There’s one coincidence that was necessary but a bit irksome. But otherwise I loved this story of love, regret and strength and of character. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
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I enjoyed this book very much. I'm always interested in cultures other than my own, and how newcomers to North America determine what their level of assimilation will be.. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Kamali's books.
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The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali is a book that stays with you long after reading. This historical fiction is a love story that starts during the 1953 Iranian coup d’état. Roya and Bahman are fantastic characters and the cultural aspects of their lives are enjoyable to read about.

Having not learned much about the history of Iran in the 1950s, this book is a real eye-opener to the events that lead to the ousting of the country’s democratic leader in 1953. Roya and Bahman are teens who have fallen in love during this dangerous time, and their story is heartbreaking and intense.


Both Roya and Bahman are incredible to read about. Roya’s family is very close-knit and quite determined that she and her sister will become something big one day. The motivation that their father gives Roya and her sister to become educated is amazing. Also, Bahman is so intriguing, as he is very politically active and quite charismatic. It is easy to see how Roya falls for him and never stops loving him despite all of their hurdles.

My favourite aspect of The Stationery Shop are the descriptions of food. Roya enjoys cooking for others and takes pride in her Iranian upbringing. There are so many scenes in the novel where she shares her love for a taste of home. Kamali will leave her readers wanting to try some of these incredible dishes as well.


The Stationery Shop is an epic historical fiction that describes a time that is not discussed enough in literature. This is a story that will break hearts and enlighten its readers at the same time. Definitely one that I highly recommend.
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Loved this story. The star crossed lovers, the chaos of Iran during the revolution. I am not familiar with this time period and I enjoyed getting a peek into that world. Fascinating to think that if history had played out differently, what would our world and the Western World's relationship with the Middle East be like today. If the prime minister had stayed in power, what would like be like in Iran today?

A beautiful love story, I was so happy they managed to find each other in the end and got the closure both so desperately needed.
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An evocative, sad and memorable 5* plus plus novel. 

I absolutely loved this book. A rich and heartbreaking story of love, loss, forgiveness and mental health. It touches on all of these aspects but at the heart of this story is the fractured history and turmoil of Iran (then Persia). My favourite type of book, multiple time lines and narrators revealing everyone's story. A story that tells how love runs deep and across the years, but also how it means nothing in the face of class lines. 
This book taught me quite a bit about the history of Iran and when I not only love a book but have also learned something in the process that is for me the ultimate read.

Highly recommended!  I will definitely be reading more from this author.
Thanks to NetGalley & Simon Schuster Canada for the ARC in exchange for my unbiased review. 

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This is a lovely story that has a little bit of historical fiction, but is mainly romance and family drama.  I found the early chapters set in 1953 Iran to be the most fascinating.  I will be happy to recommend it to customers.
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I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  			
From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.			
From the award-winning author of Together Tea—a debut novel hailed as “compassionate, funny, and wise” by Jill Davis, bestselling author of Girls’ Poker Night—comes a powerful love story exploring loss, reconciliation, and the quirks of fate. 

Roya is a dreamy, idealistic teenager living in 1953 Tehran who, amidst the political upheaval of the time, finds a literary oasis in kindly Mr Fakhri’s neighbourhood book and stationery shop. She always feels safe in his dusty store, overflowing with fountain pens, shiny ink bottles, and thick pads of soft writing paper.

When Mr Fakhri, with a keen instinct for a budding romance, introduces Roya to his other favourite customer—handsome Bahman, who has a burning passion for justice and a love for Rumi’s poetry—she loses her heart at once. And, as their romance blossoms, the modest little stationery shop remains their favourite place in all of Tehran.

A few short months later, on the eve of their marriage, Roya agrees to meet Bahman at the town square, but suddenly, violence erupts—a result of the coup d’etat that forever changes their country’s future. In the chaos, Bahman never shows. For weeks, Roya tries desperately to contact him, but her efforts are fruitless. With a sorrowful heart, she resigns herself to never seeing him again.

Until, more than sixty years later, an accident of fate leads her back to Bahman and offers her a chance to ask him the questions that have haunted her for more than half a century: Why did he leave? Where did he go? How was he able to forget her?

The Stationery Shop is a beautiful and timely exploration of devastating loss, unbreakable family bonds, and the overwhelming power of love.

This book was a fascinating look into the Persian culture and how love works (or can work) in such a time of upheaval.. that said, I found it very slow and boring and struggled to read I and found myself distracted and wishing the book would end ... while barely into it.  As a librarian, if I do not learn something new or get engaged in the characters I do not finish the book as there are too many good ones out there to read and review.

(I said that I would be honest!)	Don' take my 2star review to be the law and be all of end all ... it may fascinate and entertain you ... it just didn't work for me.
NOTE: I cannot link this review to LinkedIn - there is something wrong with the linking/programming and it will not happen.
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This is a story of love found and lost during the political turbulence of 1950s Iran. Bahman and Roya fall in love after meeting in the aptly named 'Stationary Shop' and bond over their love of the written word. However, forces conspire against them and tear them apart.
I really enjoyed this novel, it really gave us a glimpse into the atmosphere of the Iranian capital during the lead up to the coup against the prime minister in 1953. Also, the exploration of Persian culture added even more the story.
A really beautiful novel about love and loss, and moving forward in life.
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