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Critical Praise

"A thoughtful, tempered debut... Payne keeps the story simple, elemental, and reserved, emphasizing the timeless quality of the tragic tale... a well-crafted, meditative piece."

——Kirkus Reviews

"Payne's debut novel is a beautifully written and evocative fable set in 1950s Turkey. ... Payne has conjured an entrancing blend of myth, history, and religious feminism that results in a tale as compelling as it is elusive."


"Every page of The Virgin's Knot is a tightly woven and bountiful gift to readers. Like all who lived in her Turkish village, and two exceptional men, I fell in love with the remarkable weaver and her magic carpets"

——Diane Leslie, author of Fleur De Leigh's Life of Crime

"Infused with poetry and perfume, The Virgin's Knot is that rare thing: a soulful page-turner. Holly Payne is the new Scheherazade!"

——Laurie Fox, author of My Sister from the Black Lagoon

"The hearts and minds of today's observant Muslim women are as hidden from us as their faces. In her novel The Virgin's Knot, se in the inaccessible reaches of the Taurus Mountains, Holly Payne unveils a world the casual tourist never sees, a world virtually unchanged for a thousand years"

——Jacqueline Park, author of The Secret Book of Grazia Dei Rossi

"Payne uses words to create and almost mystical tableau. Her sentences have weight to them, giving her story the feel of a fable. ... Overall, in this debut novel, Payne displays a strong ability to bring together history, religion, and memorable female characters."

——San Jose Mercury News

"[To be] savored like the dark intensity of Turkish coffee."

——San Francisco Chronicle