Forty Rules of Love
In searching/reading from different teachers in various world religions, I have often come across the name, and the poetry, of Rumi, but had never before encountered the works of Shams of Tabriz, who is said to have been the teacher and close friend of Rumi. In this novel, the author builds her story around that friendship, and the wisdom taught by Shams to Rumi. The book is structured as a novel within the novel; Ella Rubenstein takes an assignment to read and critique a book that is a fictional account about Rumi and Shams; Ella, like me, knows very little about Islam, or Sufism, but begins to learn as she reads this book. Ella is also dealing with a crisis in her personal life, and her reading begins to have a great impact on her decisions and behaviors. The contemporary chapters about Ella are interspersed throughout the book, but what held my interest the most were the chapters that were part of “Sweet Blasphemy”, the novel within the novel, as I read it along with Ella. The 40 Rules of Shams are spiritual teachings that reflect wisdom that makes this novel a true jewel.
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