Buy the Book:
 Barnes & Noble

Published by: Touchstone
Release Date: June 28, 2005
Pages: 304
ISBN13: 9780743246781



Set amid the elegant châteaux of Belle époque France and the closely guarded world of nineteenth-century Persian women, Courtesan unfolds with the breathtaking cinematic sweep and stunning visual grandeur of an epic film. At its heart are three unforgettable women: Madame Gabrielle, the courtesan whose fateful liaison with the shah of Persia reverberates in the lives of her daughter, Françoise, and her rebellious and brave granddaughter, Simone, whose journey plunges her into the cutthroat diamond trade, where the secrets of an ancient culture may hold the truth she desperately seeks.


“Exquisite description, exotic details and vivid language… Mossanen’s language soars as she sweeps readers from the lush bedrooms of the courtesans to the exotic locale of Persia then finally to the diamond mines of South Africa, taking the reader on a magical trip through history. This book is more sensual and satisfying than 10 pounds of chocolate, and you won't put on a pound.”
—Romantic Times

“Courtesan — the best historical novel of the year.”
—Romantic Times Magazine Reviewers Choice Awards 2005

“...a rich, sensual fairytale about love as well as a realistic tale of mothers and daughters.”

“From the first page of Courtesan, I felt as if I had stepped into a mirage. The dream landscape Mossanen builds, one stunning image at a time, cements her place as a magic realist with a decidedly erotic twist.”
—M.J. Rose, author of The Halo Effect

“A cross between The Girl with the Pearl Earring and The DaVinci Code, Dora Levy Mossanen’s new novel invites us into a great courtesan’s satin-lined bed and draws us into the carnal grip of turn-of-the-century Paris and Persia.”
—Alison Leslie Gold, author of Fiet’s Vase and The Devil’s Mistress 

“Dora Levy Mossanen’s characters, Muslim and Jew, clash, glitter, and beckon us into a fin-de-siècle world of fantasy, sex, diamonds, greed, and madness. Drunk, we awaken in a dangerous underworld of clashing cultures—and the forbidden loves that build fragile bridges over them.”
—Ann Rowe Seaman, author of Swaggart and America’s Most Hated Woman 

“... an exhilarating epic that roams from Persia to Paris, to South Africa, carrying the reader along on a wave of intrigue, murder, and romance.”
—John Rechy, author of City of Night 

“Dora Levy Mossanen masters the fine-tuned powers of language. She has the rare talent to transform the ‘lust-vein’ of our imagination into a panoply of lyrical imagery, at once visual and sensual. Her characters live out loud in the best tradition of a Zola-styled narrative.”
—James Ragan, poet and author of Lusions


In 2002, I learned that a one-carat diamond would be auctioned at Christie’s in Beverly Hills—minimum price one million dollars.  I, of course, had to see this diamond.  So on a summer evening when champagne and hord’oeuvres were being served at Christie’s, I stood in front of a glass box in which a tiny red diamond sparkled violently demanding attention.  It certainly captured mine.  I later learned that it was sold for an undisclosed sum that was higher than one million.  Fascinated, I began research.  I had to learn what about this tiny stone justified, for some at least, such an exorbitant price?

The seed of a story planted itself in my mind.  But where and when will the story take place?

Read the full backstory

Read the PDF Excerpt