Posted by: istop4books | February 27, 2011

The Virgin’s Knot by Holly Payne

I’m not sure how I made it all the way through this book. Stubbornness I suppose. It was poorly written, I hated the style of not wrapping conversations in quotes and letting the reader know who the heck is talking. I found it annoying. The plot doesn’t get going until the middle of the book and I found the cultural background uninspiring and underwhelming, and the end of the book just absolutely awful.

Nurdane is a young Turkish lady who lives in the remote hills with her father. She contracted polio as a girl and as a result, her leg movements are very limited. But she can weave a mean rug. Her ability is legendary and rumor has it that this virgin’s rugs, given to brides as part of a dowry, will guarantee happiness and the birth of a first son. Ironically, as beautiful as she is, with her crippling defect, Nurdane doesn’t have a chance in heck of being one of the brides lucky enough to receive a rug, yet she spends her days weaving and designing these coveted carpets. At the same time, she looks to Allah for guidance, as Allah took away her ability to walk and gave her the magical gift of weaving.


Nurdane’s character is well developed and easily likeable and parts of the story were quite good, however, the author just about totally missed her mark. Her writing was atrocious, the language she used was confusing and made it difficult to understand where Nurdane was coming from or what she actually felt or thought. It reminded me of how easy it is to read a well-written book and to lose myself in good writing – and how hard it is to write well.


I loved the idea of reading about Turkey, a country I have always wanted to visit, and about Turkish rugs – which I’ve always wanted to own. This just wasn’t the book to take me vicariously there.



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