Orphaned Damascena, named after the flowering rosa damascena, grows up in a Bulgarian monastery under a tyrannical monk. In adolescence, she flees the monastery and discovers her remarkable gift for turning roses into rose oil, and reluctantly assumes the role of a living saint for the miracles she performs. Damascena escapes to Turkey where she meets the enchanting mystic Rumi, who recognizes her as his final spiritual companion, and unlocks the secret of the rose.
“This is one of the most gorgeous novels I've ever read. Payne’s research was so thorough. It makes me want to learn more about the dervishes, their religious
practices, and about Rumi and his achingly beautiful poetry. The themes of forgiveness, spirituality and all the different forms of love resonated with me on every page.”
—Laura Marquez, Emmy Winner and former ABC News Correspondent