[Published 2011 by Penguin]
If everyone took the principles behind ‘The Forty Rules of Love’ to heart, we could change the world. After reading many reviews comparing this book to the work of Paulo Coelho, I have to disagree – this is a profoundly moving, special book with its basis in history, yet with modern applicability in the personal and the grander sense.
Ella is a housewife and mother, set in her routine, finding her way back into her career in publishing after many years. It is through her work that the manuscript called Sweet Blasphemy comes into her life. Exploring the relationship between the famous poet, Rumi, and the dervish and nomad, Shams of Tabriz, her heart is opened to the universal ideas of love proposed in the 1200s. As she embarks on a personal journey through these characters, her interest in the book’s writer peaks and her self-discovery changes her life forever.
The novel flits between present day and the ancient; the average life of a western woman meeting the basic tenets of ancient eastern philosophy and religion – principles and words that have survived centuries; that we can identify with in spite of the years and how the world has changed. Be warned, I believe some inner transformation is inevitable with this book – a reminder about the omnipotence of love over eons and the importance of finding it within ourselves.