Love and War in the Jewish Quarter


A breathtaking journey across Iran where war and superstition, jealousy and betrayal, and passion and loyalty rage behind the impenetrable walls of mansions and the crumbling houses of the Jewish Quarter.

Against the tumultuous background of World War II, Dr. Yaran will find himself caught in the thrall of the anti-Semitic Governor General, the most powerful man in the country. Dr. Yaran falls in love with the Governor General’s defiant wife, Velvet, upending not only the life of the doctor’s beloved daughter, but the entire community. In his quest to save everything and everyone he loves, Dr. Yaran will navigate the intersections of magic, science, lust, and treachery. His sole ally is the Governor General’s servant, an exotic eunuch, who will do anything to aid his mistress in her dangerous quest to attain forbidden love.

“ln this richly evocative novel, Dora Levy Mossanen conjures Tehran in the 1940s, where age-old customs and prejudices are being challenged by modern ideas¾about love and sex, politics and science, and the place of Jews in Iranian society. The story of Soleiman Yaran, a Jewish dentist whose life changes course when he is summoned to treat a royal patient, is as romantic, suspenseful and compelling as the history of the city and people that surround it.”

–Adam Kirsch, author of The People and the Books:18 Classics of Jewish Literature.


“A lyrical tale filled with character, history, and drama––but most of all, with love miraculously born of shattered worlds and courageous hearts.”

–Rabbi David Wolpe, author of Why be Jewish and David: The Divided Heart.


“Dora Levy Mossanen is a master storyteller of historical fiction. In Love and War in The Jewish Quarter she serves up yet another feast, telling this tale with sensitivity and insight that makes the novel infinitely rich and nuanced. Fascinating characters, truly beautiful prose that is a Mossanen trademark and an incredibly complex plot make this book simply unforgettable.”

–M.J. Rose, NYT bestselling author of The Last Tiara.


“Dora Levy Mossanen’s new book commands our attention, not only for the range of its subject matter and literary artistry, but for weaving in a personal narrative within the context of Iran’s historical, political history and cultural practices. Love and War in the Jewish Quarter is both lyrical, informative, and very moving—an extraordinary addition to depiction of the lost worlds of Iranian Jewry.”

–Angella Nazarian, Author of four Books & the newly released: Creative Couples: Collaborations that Changed History.


“With the signature lush economy and exuberant precision of her prose, which any poet would envy, Dora Levy Mossanen explores the intricacies of history’s lesser known side streets, as she introduces a new cast of unforgettably colorful characters, not all of them fictitious, including Iran’s Queen Fawzia, and the city of Tehran, itself, as it was in WWII. In full command of her uncanny powers of observation and inexhaustible imagination, Levy Mossanen crafts an exquisite balance between drama and comedy, idealism and worldliness, strength and weakness, risk and triumph, set in the midst of humanity’s two polar constants¾love and war.”

–Leslie Monsour, poet, author of The Alarming Beauty of the Sky and The House Sitter.


“With a love and gift for language, Dora Levy Mossanen lushly paints a tale of life, love, and war during mid-twentieth century Tehran. Right from the start, she captures your curiosity as she whisks you into opulent Persian palaces, colorful bazaars, and flourishing fields of opium. This is an intoxicating tale that takes place in Iran during the tension-filled years of World War II. A fascinating read.”

–Esther Amini, author of Concealed: Memoir of a Jewish-Iranian Daughter Caught Between the Chador and America.


“Love and War in the Jewish Quarter is Dora Levy Mossanen’s best book yet. Set against the backdrop of World War II, the author shows mastery in blending Iranian history, the European turmoil, and Jewish life in Iran with a subtle touch of erotica. Trained in Europe, Soleiman Yaran, a humble but capable dentist, brings together the opposite worlds of Iranian royalty in gilded rooms and that of the Jewish minority consigned to the crumbling Jewish ghetto. Above all, this is also a story of women’s lives, of their fears, desires, ambitions, love, lust, loss and hope. Love and War in the Jewish Quarter is an enchanting rendition of how life may have been in Iran at that time. Although love, lust and desire palpitate throughout the novel, Mossanen masterfully controls its scope in favor of a more dramatic historic novel.”

–Farideh Dayanim Goldin—author of Wedding Son: Memoirs of an Iranian Jewish Woman, Leaving Iran: Between Exile and Migration, and founder of


“Set in an Iranian Jewish Quarter during World War II, yet seemingly drawn from the Arabian Nights or Persian Book of Kings, two worlds collide in this tale of impossible love between a Jewish doctor and the Muslim Governor’s wife. Dora Levy Mossanen ‘s novel Love and War in the Jewish Quarter is at once down-to-earth and fantastical, modern and ancient. It is full of atmospheric and astonishing detail, whether she is describing a dental procedure or an exotic palace, and keeps the reader riveted until the redemptive end.”

–Lyn Julius, author of Uprooted: How 3,000 years of Jewish Civilisation in the Arab world Vanished overnight (Vallentine Mitchell)


“An utterly captivating and poignant tale that braids history, religion, and an improbable love story. Love and War in the Jewish Quarter offers the reader entrée to a world at a crossroads and the people who are caught between their own deeply rooted pasts and the unknown future. A mesmerizing read!”

–Angela Himsel, author of A River Could be a Tree


Love and War in the Jewish Quarter, the newest novel by the very talented Dora Levy Mossanen, is pure pleasure from start to finish. It is a perfect blend of historical fiction set in one of the most crucial periods in modern history—World War II—and the tale of a marginalized Jewish dentist who is indispensable to those in the highest echelons of power, including the Queen of Iran. Striking the exact balance between the intimately personal and the crushing sweep of human history, this enchanting novel is steeped in an intoxicating mix of flavors ranging from Persian culture and history, to Jewish rituals of mourning, to touches of magical realism.  Love and War in the Jewish Quarter is a story of worlds that are far from our own and, at the same time, evergreen truths of human nature. It grabbed me on page one and stayed with me long after I closed the book.”

–Deborah Goodrich Royce, Award-winning author of Ruby Falls and Finding Mrs. Ford


“The setting, dialogue, and details create the ideal backdrop for the tension and intensity of this lush and lusty tale of beguiling romance. A captivating historical gem.”

–Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Omega Factor


“With her lyrical, evocative prose, Dora Levy Mossanen transports the reader to Tehran in the 1940’s and delivers both a love story filled with passion and forbidden love and a novel rich with history and the turbulence of another era. Love and War in the Jewish Quarter is perfect for book clubs and for anyone trying to understand the strife that is still so relevant today.”

–Anita Abriel, author of the international bestseller, The Light After the War.