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Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran

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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  53 ratings  ·  31 reviews
A young woman confronts her own dark desires, and finds her match in a masked conjurer turned assassin.

Inspired by Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera, Marion Grace Woolley takes us on forbidden adventures through a time that has been written out of history books.

"Those days are buried beneath the mists of time. I was the first, you see. The very first daughter. Ther
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 14th 2015 by Ghostwoods Books (first published February 12th 2015)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  53 ratings  ·  31 reviews


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Remittance Girl
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The fantasy genre wasn't always drenched in the sort of YA morally didactic fluff it's awash with now. Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran harkens back to those earlier, richer, more complex and nuanced times. When fantasy was both escapism and a murky mirror into the strangeness of the human psyche. It fits quite well into the fantasy sub-genre of alternate histories, with just a little kiss of the uncanny.

This is a dark, rich, shifting novel of love, desperation and the rage that only being reared
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A.G. Howard
Oct 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Violent, tragic, dark, and beautifully written. A fascinating Phantom prequel. The knocked off star is due to my own subjectivity. I had a hard time relating to the two main characters at times, because of their cruelty. Some scenes were graphic and difficult to read because I sympathized with their victims so strongly, and kept hoping the main characters would redeem themselves. But they stayed true to the characterization set for them in this story. This author is amazing talented at painting ...more
Wart Hill
Mar 21, 2015 marked it as gave-up
Shelves: arc2014, netgalley
Things I Find While Shelving

I received a free ARC via NetGalley

Dnf at 15%

The writing in this book is gorgeous. Beautiful prose. It draws you in at the start.


And then you flail back out again because it’s boring as all get out. Seriously. It’s just the main character rehashing a bunch of things that happen. And I’m hopeful that things come together and make sense at the end, and I was going to plow through and find out…


but then there was a rape and I just couldn’t anymore.
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Salomé Jones
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In the old days when I bought my books in bookstores, I would walk up and down the aisles looking for intriguing book spines. I would usually go to parts of the store where I'd been lucky before. I would pull out anything that looked interesting and read the cover blurb.

If the blurb seemed interesting, I'd open the book and read the first page. If I liked the voice, I'd buy the book, flee the store, and go off to read. I found and devoured many books like that.

I rarely love books so much these d
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Cherie
Nov 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves gothic fiction and lovers of Phantom of the Opera
Recommended to Cherie by: Neil
Shelves: favorites, netgalley
Wow what a great read! If you love The Phantom of the Opera as much as I do, then I strongly suggest you pick this one up!

In this Phantom-inspired tale, we meet Afsar, eldest daughter of the Shah of Iran, actually Persia at that time. It's around 1851 and Afsar is 10 years old when her father offers to bring the circus to their palace for her birthday. For within this traveling circus, there is talk of a conjurer with a face so ugly but with the voice of an angel, and the Shah decides that he si
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Stephanie
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
From the Militant Recommender's Book Review Blog:
http://militantrecommender.blogspot.com/

From Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera: The Persian narrates Erik's time in Iran during the Rosy Hours:

"No one knows better than he how to throw the Punjab lasso, for he is the king of stranglers even as he is the prince of conjurors. When he had finished making the little sultana laugh, at the time of the "rosy hours of Mazandaran," she herself used to ask him to amuse her by giving her a thrill. It was
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Allie Riley
Dec 04, 2018 rated it liked it
The story begins in the Islamic year of 1268(1851 CE) in Iran amongst its royal household. Afsar, the ten year-old princess, is promised a circus for her eleventh birthday in a few months time. Little does she know then that this will determine the course of the rest of her life. For it is through this that she meets the masked man, later to be known as Eirik, with whom she forms a murderous and cruel alliance.

Woolley's writing is beautiful and flowing. After the first quarter or so, the initial
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Sabs
Jan 15, 2015 rated it liked it
The thing that characterised this book for me at first was a palpable sense of ennui. Afsar was so incredibly bored with her life at her home, I keep feel it seep through the page and affect me. This book has an interesting set-up; it firmly establishes the characters and setting of the world before moving onto the plot. The setting was absolutely captivating: Iran in the period where it still had a Shah, Shahzadi, kingdoms and palaces. It was this that made me pick up the book at first. This is ...more
Rebecca
Nov 04, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is told from the perspective of Asfar, a character that is not included in the Leroux story. You do meet a couple of the characters from the original novel, but there isn't much connection between the two. I really didn't like the main character. She is petty, jealous, spoiled and sometimes downright psychotic. The version of Erik she meets is okay, but feels off for the character. The book wasn't bad overall, but I couldn't get past how much I didn't like the characters. I might recom ...more
S.K. Gregory
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A tale of a young girl, the daughter of the Shah, who lives a life of privilege, but realises that she has no real power. As she learns some harsh lessons about life, including an attempted rape by her uncle, she becomes more disillusioned.
Afsar is a complex character who is wise beyond her years. Her tale is well written and captivating. I would recommend this book.
Mauoijenn
*NetGalley book review*

Nope. Nothing. Zilch. I could not get into this book as the character telling it, has nothing to do with it. Weird. I tried. I got to about 40% and after putting it down for the what seemed like the 50th time. I finally gave up.
Marlene
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Originally published at Reading Reality

This is a book that teases so many possibilities, but leaves the reader wondering which, if any, might possibly be true. Because it mixes fictional legend with snippets of history, all viewed through the lens of one girl’s brief and bloody life.

And it might be intended as a prequel for The Phantom of the Opera. Or it might all be a dream of history. You’ll still be wondering at the end.

The story is told through the eyes of Afsar, the oldest daughter of Shah
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Denise
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
The writing is very beautiful, however I gave only 4 stars because the subject is so dark. The heroine, a young teenager and "daughter" of the Shah of Iran, developes a taste for murder. The story, which is set around 1850, is said to be a prequel of The Phantom of the Opera, but the only connection, that I could see, was one of the main characters was horribly defigured and wore a mask. If you are not put off by murder and rape, you may like this book.
Patty
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I did not know what to expect from Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran. I do know that when I chose to review it, the book came with a caveat that it contained dark themes. I was OK with that – I like to stretch my reading muscles now and then. What I got was an amazing trip into some truly dark places but I also got some character types not often – I hesitate to use this word – celebrated in literary fiction. They appear, that is for sure as there are villains galore in the pantheon of reading histo ...more
Lauralee
This story is a prequel to Phantom of the Opera. It depicts the early life of Erik, the phantom ghost, during his time in Persia. Afsar, the Sultan’s daughter, is living a lonely life. She keeps to her bedchamber and has a servant looking after her. However, on her eleventh birthday, her father celebrates her reaching marriageable age by gifting her a circus. The star of the circus is a man known as Vachon, who is said to be as ugly as a monster but known to have a voice as sweet as an angel. As ...more
Deb
Review Excerpt:

Afsar is the first daughter of the Shah, raised in luxury in the palace, she is indulged and adored. Whether or not this privilege and the unapologetic violence of the times nurtures the darkness inside her, it is clear she has a very cruel and sadistic side--even at the age of eleven. When the circus performer Vachon with his masked face and clever tricks appears to perform on her birthday, those proclivities are developed even further, the violence escalates, and Afsar's life b
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Becky
Feb 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
As the eldest daughter of the Shah, Asfar enjoys a life of privilege and luxury. But Asfar longs for more. On her twelfth birthday, her father presents her with a circus. One of its members, a masked man whose magical feats are both breathtaking and baffling, becomes Asfar's closest friend. Together they find pleasure in cruelty and torture, but their friendship will be their undoing.

There are some books that in spite of reading synopses and promotional materials seem to defy all expectation. Th
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Alison Van hees
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
'Those Rosy Hours of Mazandaran' is an exquisitely written, beautiful novel. The writing has the richness and beauty of Jaqueline Carey's Kushiel's series, but set in a mediaval persian empire rather than france.

The journey for Asfar as she grows into being the mistress of her own domain, and taking control from the shadows, in a world and time that sees women only as mothers and mistresses is truly delightful. As Asfar interacts with Vachon, she grows in her curiousity and cruetly, as it is all
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Fireblazebw
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
WOW! Be prepared to be challenged. A dark plot that takes us through Iran and embroils you in a whirlwind of murder, facial disfigurement, elicit love and a travelling circus. What's not to love about this? I accept that it will not be to some people's tastes as the characters are unapologetically complicated and challenging. If you love sweet, virtuous characters then go elsewhere! This novel is wicked; the attention to detail is so rich that you feel immersed into the world of the characters w ...more
Johanna Sawyer
Nov 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Thanks Librarything for a free book to read and review.

Uniquely told story. A lot like the phantom of the opera, but with a much more devilish approach. Afsar the Shahs eldest child becomes involved with a circus performer named Eirik whose face was disfigured. They become friends and then mutual killers. Eirik becomes her father assassin, and the story becomes deeply dark. Very nice world building, and characters were intensely interesting. However I thought the ending was rather abrupt, and it
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Nisaa K
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I could not stop listening to this audiobook, partially because it was narrated by Emma Newman, who is one of my favorites. But also, because this story is so dark, it was like watching a train wreck and I simply had to know how it ended.

It was horrific and suspenseful. I thought to myself that if I could get through watching TV shows about vampires, then I could stomach this book. I listened to the very end, at every chance I could. I got to work today and had five minutes left so I listened a
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Amanda
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
it took about 15% of the book before i got into it, but after that i was rapt. such a blood thirsty main character. it had a Story of the Eye feel to it.
LGandT
Mar 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
If the preview turns me off, I see no need to finish or buy the book.
Cold animal cruelty is just not my thing, so I will pass on this one.
Laine Cunningham
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Available from Ghostwoods Books February 2015

A ravishingly written book that burns ferociously long after the last page has been turned.
This book blew. Me. Away. I haven’t laid hands on something this beautiful, this sensuously dark and attractive, since Patrick Susskind’s Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.

Set in an 1850s that feels as modern and yet as fable-like as any fantasy or fairytale, the story follows Afsar, a young woman who is the daughter of the Shah. In the Shah’s country palace, tim
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Rachelle
Nov 14, 2014 rated it did not like it
Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran is listed as a Fantasy book, in addition to the general category of Adult Literature/Fiction, but it’s not Fantasy. I suppose the publisher is choosing to market it as Fantasy because it doesn’t really fit into any other genre. It’s not Historical Fiction, despite the fact that it takes place during the 19th century, and it’s not YA, even though the main character is 10 to 13 years old. It does have some fantastical elements, and even a little bit of Magical Realis ...more
Sandie
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
As the Shah's eldest daughter, Afshar has advantages. She is granted deference and obedience from those around her. She is showered with gifts and luxurious clothes. But there are also disadvantages. The harem is full of the Shah's wives, each vying for his attention for themselves and their children, each plotting and scheming to get rid of other wives and their progeny who might be favored over their own children. Add to that the political alliances in court and Afshar's world is a delicate, d ...more
Tattooed_mummy
This audio book is lovely. A strange way to describe such a dark tale but the treacle feel of the dark subject is just amazing. The reader seemed a little weak to my taste at the start but as the chapter progressed I grew to love the dreamy feel to the reading.

The book itself is horribly dark. Nasty with every manner of trigger subject you could dream of, rape, murder, torture, kidnap, dungeons, the dark...just *shudder*. But strangely that just adds to the dreamlike feel of the story.

A tale wra
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Kimberly Vasconez
Fascinating Look on the Phantom's Sojourn in Iran

The author took vague references to the Phantom of the Opera's time in Iran, where he perfected the architectural practices of hidden rooms and fantastical palaces. He found love with the very young daughter (really sister) of the Sultan. The reader learns about how the Darouga and Eric found their lives intertwined after fleeing Iran. And, they learn about many Persian cultural concepts. Very interesting and unique twist on the original story.
Katie Noga
May 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful prequel to The Phantom of the Opera!!!!

Ms. Woolley's book was both entertaining and informative! It is a true gem for any phan. Be forewarned though that is a dark tale and had disturbing scenes and gore. This did not bother me but just keep that in mind. I enjoyed this book so much and I am really sad it's over. I sincerely hope that the author continues more Phantom books...this was just written with such dedication to this beloved macabre tale. Enjoy this amazing book as much as I
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Stephanie Turner
Mind blowing

History of the phantom, before the phantom was known. This story opens the mind to more possibilities of the phantom. The door is wide open, walk through it
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Phantom of the Opera: Ghostwoods Book Chat Tuesday 11 April 2017 1 3 Apr 09, 2017 09:20AM  
Phantom of the Opera: Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran 6 18 Sep 22, 2016 01:32AM  
Marion works as an international development consultant and builds pianos in her spare time. She is currently trying to build the first ever piano in Rwanda through the Kigali Keys project.

She writes across different genres, but usually dark fiction. She is best known for Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran, and her debut novel, Lucid, was shortlisted for the Luke Bitmead Bursary for New Writers in 200
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