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About The Book

'As heart wrenching as it is achingly beautiful' Sadeqa Johnson, author of The House of Eve
'Heartbreaking and life affirming' Adrienne Brodeur, author of Little Monsters
'Courage, friendship, loyalty, hardship, love this novel has everything' Mary Beth Keane, Ask Again, Yes

From the author of The Stationery Shop of Tehran, a heartfelt, epic new novel of friendship, betrayal and redemption set against three transformative decades in Tehran, Iran.

In 1950s Tehran, seven-year-old Ellie lives in grand comfort until the untimely death of her father, forcing Ellie and her mother to move to a tiny home downtown. Lonely and bearing the brunt of her mother’s endless grievances, Ellie dreams of a friend to alleviate her isolation.

Luckily, on the first day of school, she meets Homa, a kind, passionate girl with a brave and irrepressible spirit. Together, the two girls play games, learn to cook in the stone kitchen of Homa’s warm home, wander through the colorful stalls of the Grand Bazaar, and share their ambitions for becoming 'lion women.'

But their happiness is disrupted when Ellie and her mother are afforded the opportunity to return to their previous bourgeois life. Now a popular student at the best girls’ high school in Iran, Ellie’s memories of Homa begin to fade. Years later, however, her sudden reappearance in Ellie’s privileged world alters the course of both of their lives.

Together, the two young women come of age and pursue their own goals for meaningful futures. But as the political turmoil in Iran builds to a breaking point, one earth-shattering betrayal will have enormous consequences.

Praise for Marjan Kamali

‘Evocative, devastating, and hauntingly beautiful… This book broke my heart again and again’ Whitney Scharer, author of The Age of Light

‘A beautifully immersive tale … brings to life a lost and complex world and the captivating characters who once called it home’ Jasmin Darznik, author of The Good Daughter and Song of a Captive Bird

‘What a pleasure – a novel that is all at once masterfully plotted, beautifully written, and populated by characters who are arresting, lovable and so real’ Elinor Lipman, author of Turpentine Lane

‘A sweeping romantic tale of thwarted love’ Kirkus Reviews

‘An enchanting romance’ My Weekly

‘I! Am! Obsessed! With! This! Book!’ COSMOPOLITAN.COM

About The Author

Photograph by David E. Lawrence

Marjan Kamali, born in Turkey to Iranian parents, spent her childhood in Kenya, Germany, Turkey, Iran, and the United States. She holds degrees from UC Berkeley, Columbia University, and New York University. She is the 2022 recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Award. She is the author of The Lion Women of Tehran, The Stationery Shop, and Together Tea. Marjan lives with her husband in the Boston area. They have two children.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (November 21, 2024)
  • Length: 400 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781398534759

Raves and Reviews

‘Kamali tells a moving story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and how a country’s transformation, in turn, transforms the lives of two unforgettable women. Simultaneously heartbreaking and life affirming, it’s a book that you won’t be able to put down until you’ve read every word’ Adrienne Brodeur, author of Little Monsters

The Lion Women of Tehran had me under arrest from the start. A deeply nuanced story of family, sacrifice, and the unbreakable bond of true friendship. It is as heart wrenching as it is achingly beautiful’ Sadeqa Johnson, author of The House of Eve

‘A must-read for every book club. Deeply emotional, insightful, and engrossing. You won’t forget these women for a very long time. I loved it’ Susan Elizabeth Phillips, New York Times bestselling author

‘With this masterful, heart-centred novel, Marjan Kamali has crafted a deeply honest look at the true meaning of friendship. Through Homa and Ellie we see the nuances of a perfectly imperfect love that withstands class differences, personal trauma, jealousy, war, and revolution. Their souls are forever intertwined and as a reader it is an honour to bear witness. This book made me incredibly proud to be an Iranian woman – a Lion Woman too’ Shideh Etaat, author of Rana Joon and the One and Only Now

‘Marjan Kamali is at it again, this time bringing us a story of friendship and love set against the tumult and terror of the Iranian Revolution. The Lion Women of Tehran is a novel about two girls, who grow up wanting very different things but are united by their affection for each other and their shared desire for a more egalitarian Iran. Kamali is a gifted storyteller at the height of her powers, who manages to connect the country’s complicated history with its present and sing the praises of Iranian women who, even today, are fighting for the most basic of freedoms. If you liked The Stationery Shop, you’ll love The Lion Women of TehranRachel Beanland, author of Florence Adler Swims Forever and The House is On Fire

‘In The Lion Women of Tehran, Marjan Kamali brings to life the beauty and tragedy of Iran in the 1960s. From the delicious scent of spices simmering, to the colours of the bazaar, to the snowflakes landing on a certain character’s hair, this story came brilliantly alive to me from the very first page. Courage, friendship, loyalty, hardship, love – this novel has everything’ Mary Beth Keane, author of Ask Again, Yes

‘A moving tale of friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness, unfolding into a deep and powerful exploration of feminist protest in Iran. The contrast between Ellie and Homa’s voices is a narrative all of its own, and Homa deserves a place as one of the true heroines of literature’ Erica Bauermeister, author of No Two Persons

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