As the Shadows Fall
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
The story begins in 2003, in Los Angeles, CA.
Bijan and Sepideh (both born in the US) are in their twenties and madly in love.
Bijan's father, Bahram, is Persian and a cardiologist. Bijan's mother, Josephine, a retired nurse, is originally from Ireland.
Sepideh's parents, Jalal and Mahin, are Persians and have immigrated to the US after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Jalal, a former military officer, owns a Middle Eastern carpet store in LA. He has a secret that he guards rigorously.
During a conversation at a coffee shop we get a glimpse of the two young lovers' backgrounds. As she is leaving the coffee shop, Sepideh is briefly followed by two strangers in a car.
At a party at the home of Sepideh's uncle and aunt (Reza and Shahnaz) we learn about her family's past, and Persian history (past and present), culinary, and customs. On the same night, Sepideh accidentally discovers that her father might be in some kind of trouble.
The next day Sepideh talks with her father and he tells her about his severe burns and the tragic loss of a very young son in a fire, while he and his family were fleeing Iran after the revolution. He has had numerous plastic surgeries and his face has completely changed.
In a nightmare sequence we learn about Bahram's college years, his political association with high-ranking members of dissident organizations, and his arrest and torture by agents of the Shah's secret police (SAVAK).
Bijan's family is invited to a Norooz (Persian New Year) party at the home of Sepideh's parents, where we learn much more about Persian traditions, literature, art, and history. Jalal and Bahram meet and like each other. Jalal is a collector of antique Persian books. He offers to show Bahram his collection a few days later.
Sepideh is offered membership in her uncle's family partnership. When she tells her parents, her father feels insulted and the relationship between them turns sour. She moves out of her parents' home and stays in a condo that belongs to her uncle.
Bijan proposes marriage to Sepideh. She tells him her secret: an abortion two years earlier. Strongly opposed to abortion, Bijan becomes extremely angry and severs ties with her.
Bahram meets Jalal to examine his antique books. When Jalal briefly leaves the room, Bahram finds a hidden wedding picture of Mahin and Jalal. Bahram immediately recognizes Jalal from the past (before his plastic surgeries) and discovers his secret. Bahram tells Bijan and he informs Sepideh of her fathers' unsavory past in Iran.
Sepideh confronts Jalal and learns of her father's past activities before leaving Iran. As a result of her severed relationship with Bijan and her father's shameful past, Sepideh is driven to the abyss of depression and the story takes a tragic turn.
In the right moment Reza and Shahnaz intervene and help Bahram and Jalal to put their past grievances behind. Once again the relationship between the two families become friendly and happy.