by Lili Naghdi
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.
It was a beautiful late spring afternoon in Paris, and I decided to stroll down the streets of this lovely city as much as I could, to calm my nerves after that emotional talk.
Walking at a slow pace, through the charming cobbled passages and tree-lined avenues of the mesmerizing City of Love, I easily found my way to the Café de la Rotonde, my favorite café to spend time in whenever I’m in Paris. I love being in bustling Montparnasse, where Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso and many others took their coffee breaks many years ago. Sitting there, I always feel that I can hear their voices or even smell in the air the tobacco they smoked. Being a huge fan of literature and art since childhood, being in that environment for even a few minutes often led me to think how it might feel to create a masterwork or to write something as captivating as they once did.
I was about to sip my coffee when a young woman sitting at the table close to mine suddenly left in a rush, forgetting her newspaper and cellphone.
“Excusez-moi, madame?” I took the newspaper and phone and followed her, hoping to catch up before she completely disappeared in the crowd, but it was too late.
Back at my seat and handed the phone to the waiter while glancing at the newspaper’s front page:
Des millions de la Reine Soraya Esfandiari-Bakhtiari iront à la charité
“Queen Soraya Esfandiari-Bakhtiari’s millions go to charity”
I quickly asked the waiter to let me keep the paper.
I sat on my chair, staring at the title again. I felt as if I had stumbled on a familiar face, as if I knew her intimately. I touched her photo: her beautiful eyes, her lovely smile. Everything about her was unique, even thirteen years after her death in Paris in 2001.
Then, shaking inside, I read the report.
Princess Soraya Esfandiari-Bakhtiari, born in the city of Isfahan in 1932 to an Iranian father from the well-known Bakhtiari family and his German wife, had died childless back in 2001. But now a court in Germany had ruled that because her brother, who lived there, had died before settlement was finished, her entire $6 million estate should be divided among the three charities she’d chosen — the Red Cross, a group that worked for animal protection and a disabled rights group. The article talked about her time as queen, her beauty, her stunning emerald eyes and how she’d be known as the “Princess with the sad eyes” after the last king of Iran, Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi, divorced her in 1958 for not producing an heir. Yet much of her wealth had come from jewellery he had gifted her; he loved her deeply.
Wait a second!
I quickly wiped the tears that ran down my face, trying to stay calm. But it wasn’t the deceased former queen I was mourning. It was my own past, surging up from beneath the dust that had covered it for years, that made me so emotional. The former queen’s distinctive name and her story reminded me painfully of the love I had shared in my heart for many years, the love that had changed my destiny in so many ways.
Drenched in cold sweat, I rested my forehead on the newspaper, feeling the hard table beneath it.
Life is so mystifying. After all these years … The gracious Queen Soraya … my distant relative! We shared genes, ancestors … I know … I know well the very place she was born in, I’ve been there — Isfahan, the ancient city of Isfahan, City of Roses … city of my own beautiful black roses!
I felt like I was choking and struggled to breathe. I needed fresh air. I put money on the table and rushed out of the café.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Lili Naghdi is an Iranian Canadian physician who was born and raised in Tehran. She continued her education and research after moving to Canada with her husband and daughter in 1996. Today she practices family medicine in Vaughan, Ontario, with particular interests in women’s and mental health. Being a family physician gives her the privilege of connecting with patients and participating in their care with a deeper understanding of the physical, emotional and social adversities they face. Interacting with people of many different backgrounds has also provided Dr. Naghdi with the opportunity to grow as a person, a physician and an author.
Growing up in pre- and post-revolutionary Iran, Lili became fascinated by the magical realm of literature, poetry and history. She began collecting prized quotations at the young age of eight. Dr. Naghdi has written poetry and short stories in both Farsi and English, but she eventually followed William Wordsworth’s advice to “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart,” and turned to fiction.
On Loving is her first novel. Inspired by both the ordinary people she has the honor to support and by the great literature of Persia and the world — from Hafez to Forugh Farrokhzad and from John Steinbeck to Margaret Mitchell — Dr. Naghdi passionately agrees with Boris Pasternak, whose Yuri Zhivago is a physician and patriotic poet, when he writes: “Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.”
Amazon author page URL:
Barnes and Noble Author URL:
Videos of her book launch:
Lili Naghdi will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
ENCOUNTERS by Patrick Stull
Author: Patrick Stull
Genre: Fine Art Photography Book
his encounters to allow the viewer an opportunity to form a relationship
with his art. While looking within ourselves, exploring our own
feelings, he hopes that he will inspire greater humaneness in response
to his art.ENCOUNTERS is the second in a series of six large-format books in
which artist, photographer and author, Patrick Stull explores a wide
range of experiences. Using light and the physical body, the written
word and his artistry he creates imagery that examines aspects of the
lives of women.
Compiled over the last 18 years, the images in ENCOUNTERS, Stull
says, are meant to “inspire and challenge the observer while always
empowering the subject.”
Stull brings a powerful sense of the surreal and the spiritual to his
work as he plots a course along the many paths of the human experience.
His imagery runs from the ghostly and ephemeral to the flowing and
As much as he concentrates on the human form, Stull never forgets to
focus on the humanity of his subjects. His choice of the coffee-table
style book format draws the viewer into an experience both intimate and
Stull’s first book in his series, titled EVOLVE, was published in
2006. A third book, titled HIDDEN DIMENSIONS, is completed and awaiting
publication. Future titles in the series include DHARMA, BEING
DIFFERENT, and YOGA, A HEALING MOMENT.
Stull hopes that his readers come away from the book with “a love for
art and a respect for the female who gives us life and challenges us to
be better human beings.
artist Patrick Stull has spent the last eighteen years mostly creating imagery
about the lives of women. He searches for what lies beneath the surface of his
subjects, empowering each one he encounters. He has recently ventured into the
realm of surrealism, creating powerful imagery that reflects on our humanity
while dealing with the meaning and power of art.
say’s, “My work has allowed me to venture past the camera into the realm
of a humanist, an artistic life, delving into the intellectual, a more cerebral
life experience, creating what I call ‘connectivism.'”
ongoing work is based in large-scale digital photography accompanied by
sculpture/body casts, composition art, painting, poetry/prose and drawings.
His art is then integrated, collectively, into exhibitions to provide the
viewer a once in a lifetime experience. The presentation of the work is
delivered to the viewer in a unique and emotionally powerful way.
71, a self-taught artist, works in many artistic disciplines. Educated at San
Diego State University
with degrees in psychology, economics and philosophy during the 1960’s, amidst
the backdrop of the counter-culture revolution and the Viet Nam War, where his
social consciousness and political views were shaped. Stull emerged from a
Catholic Irish/German family, one of five children where work, discipline and
religion took precedence over emotional expressions of the self – a different
kind of loving environment. Being a husband of thirty-plus years and father to
two has taught him the power of kindness, love and commitment.
book is the fine art photography book, Encounters.
Patrick Stull is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card!
- By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
- One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $50 Amazon Gift Card.
- This giveaway ends midnight August 30.
- Winner will be contacted via email on September 1.
- Winner has 48 hours to reply.
ENTER TO WIN!