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“This book is full of rich information about history as well as strong emotions that could happen in any time or any place. When the author introduces the characters, you get so close to them that you care deeply about them. These are the people you see everyday in your life, so you feel them as a family. 

Because Mahru is a counselor, her voice invites to you see yourself in a mirror. When she goes to the garden, you feel it, you smell the flowers. Even now I have a relationship with a willow tree that reminds me of someone’s grandfather. You can imagine each individual as though you had a photograph of them in your head.

Because the writer would rather be free like rain than stagnant in a pond, she likes to fly. She is not like a hermit crab – she escapes from the confining house to find freedom, and although she suffers from separation of family and country, freedom with pain is worth more than no freedom.
You will be amazed by the touching memories, filled with tender and powerful experiences that burst out of the pages. When she dances, you dance with her. When she cries, you cry with her. You travel with Mahru through each deep wave of sadness to the happiness beyond. I recommend this book for adults of any age. The language is so soft that it sits in your heart.”

We are proud to have received the following reviews: 

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News and Reviews for Nine Rubies
Zahra Yousefi, 
Iranian Architect
 and Writer
July 2011
On Thursday, July 28, 2011 a small group of Total Learning teachers and trainers sat in a Connecticut living room and, through the magic and science of ooVoo video conferencing, visited Mahru Ghashghaei’s sisters, Ashi and Aki, in Tehran, Iran. Mahru and co-author Sue Snyder sat side by side, with others surrounding them. There, on the computer screen, were Ashi and Aki. Mahru translated.

The “Tehran girls,” by now familiar to the TL group who had read their story in Nine Rubies: Broken Silence of A Daughter of Revolutionary Iran, smiled, waved, and thanked us for bringing their stories into the light. 
Ashi’s message, “Forgive but don’t forget.”
Aki’s messages:

1. Aki wants children to know they should appreciate their beautiful life.
2. We should help children open up and talk sooner to help them survive.
3. Don’t be disappointed if things are exactly the way you want them right now – You will have success in the future.

Ashi concluded, “This is my best day because my story is told.”
We waved and blew kisses across the ether from one world to another. ooVoo made the impossible possible, and gave us a goosebumps moment. We look forward to more visits with Ashi and Aki.

July 28, 2011
“I just finished reading the book and I thought it was truly fascinating! I read it in just a few days ... I just couldn't put it down. Wow! What an amazing life story.  

This would make a great movie. I hope there are plans to get this to someone in the film industry. It's surely a winner. 

My regards, best wishes, and congratulations!!!”
Vivian L., 
Philadelphia, PA
August 5, 2011
Margaret "Peg" M.
Publishing Executive
Jacksonville, Florida
August 5, 2011
WOW! I just finished reading Nine Rubies and you and Mahru took me on a wonderful ride. A ride that was mysterious, made me furious for the way Mahru or her mother/sisters were being treated, and in the end joyous. Thank you for your gift of writing and telling Mahru's story. Mahru, thanks for your courage, will, beauty, and love of family and countries. This was a marvelous story that was a joy to read and I am blessed to know both of you.

I know others who read it will be moved as I was. If they were not, they have not read past the first page of the book. My best to both of you.

Click here to purchase Nine Rubies
"The book [Nine Rubies' has been excellent bed reading, it is an emotional read for me. I have not finished it because I have taken time to contemplate this woman's difficult upbringing and unbelievable strength and firm beliefs. It is amazing she has been able to recollect this past and channel into a loving balance in her life. Her sacrifice as a woman and watching her mother's struggles is painful and I hope the book ends with a huge triumphant for her. I am at the chapter where she has been forced to live with Bibi. Somehow I am imagining she will get to America and life will change. Thank you for bringing this introspective writing to the public and I hope to see more of it. Please know it has also been an inspiration for me. I hope to share my own difficult upbringing as a way to let others know you can achieve against unsurmountable odds. I hope it will be written with as much grace as Nine Rubies."

Un abrazo,  

Magaly R., 
VP of Development, 
HITN (Hispanic
Information and 
Network, Inc.)
August, 2011
So exciting! We had an open house today for friends and family interested in Nine Rubies. Mahru and I read segments of the book, advised by members of Mahru’s family, who provided a lot of personal context. We read three different segments in each of two session, balancing intensity and release, interspersing personal comments and interactions.

Comments from the group ranged from “This HAS to be a movie!” to “I can’t wait to read it!” and “That is SO powerful!”

We signed copies of books for attendees, and look forward to many more book signings in the near future!

We’re printing more books, so we’ll be ready! Thanks to everyone who made this first book reading a success.


August 14, 2011
Two recently released books by local authors would have received the Marge Thompson seal of approval: “Nine Rubies” by Mahru Ghashghaei, as told to Susan Snyder, a poignant tale about strength and surviving, and “Listen First!” by Stephen D. Rappaport, a must-have for corporate execs who need to keep up with trends and the tools to track them.

Local author, educator and entrepreneur Sue Snyder of Rowayton met Mahru Ghashghaei, formerly of New Canaan, when their sons attended school together. Over their 20-year friendship, Mahru told stories that moved Sue to ask questions and start typing. Together, they have self-published a jewel of book of the personal and often painful stories of Mahru’s childhood in Iran. They are like none heard before. The book is available at the Norwalk Library or by ordering directly: It is a page turner, but not an easy read. 

“No, it’s not. Reading it makes you reflect on your own life. It makes you think about what some people have had to endure in their lives. It’s amazing that they have been able to get through it,” said Aneila Savonna, kindergarten teacher at Columbus Magnet. At a recent reading at the Snyders’, Mahru, with husband and sons present, answered questions about her childhood with, remarkably, no bitterness.

The Daily Norwalk 
Main Street Connect — Your Home Town Online 
Norwalk Neighbors Notes: Book Alerts
by Jeanne Hard 08/25/11 

Hi Mahru,
What a fascinating book you wrote!  
What a life you have lived!!
The eternal ideas you explored in your book--the deepest wishes of one's heart, families, destinies, genealogies and country/cultural migration--stirred my thoughts for days.
I love reading it, Mahru, and hope you have many more books to write and stories to tell that speak deeply to us.
After reading your wonderful book, I feel all the closer to you and Khosro, and more dedicated than ever to being a brother to both of you.
I give thanks that you, Khosro and I are in the same family. And even more thanks that you brought my son-in-law to America to meet my daughter. Now destiny plays out in their lives--a wonderful destiny--a life of love, joy and satisfaction. They are two very special people with lives of happiness that will stretch from East to West--from sunrise to sunset.
All my respect and admiration,

Dr. R. A. Campbell
Professor of Economics & Finance
University of Washington, 
Bothell WA.
September 2011

Dear Friends,

Please, please help get word about this book out. It is called Nine Rubies: Broken Silence of a Daughter of Revolutionary Iran.

It is the story of Mahru Ghashghaei, her two sisters, and her mother--who, abandoned by her husband, fell in stature from being born into the wealthiest and most successful family in her home town of Ardebil, Iran, to becoming a servant in a widower's household. (Blue collar workers or servants were less respected than prostitutes in 1946, post-WW II Teheran.)

 Fast forward thirty-two years when, Mahru (pregnant with her third child) and her husband came to America. The Shah’s regime was in the midst of being toppled, and Ayatollah Khomeini was coming to power. (Mahru's husband, Khosro, had been given a grant to study at MIT. Before coming to America, Marhru and her Khosro had an audience with Ayatollah Khomeini in Paris. They had high hopes for his regime, as he was being called “The New Gandhi of the East” by The New York Times.) But Iran was headed towards revolution, and when Iran was crumbling, Mahru and Khosro headed back to Iran. The provisional Prime Minister, Bazargan, gave the Iranians a brief taste of democracy and freedom. But soon Khomeini’s Revolutionary Council was supporting vigilante groups who were overtaking local mosques and sabotaging everything in the name of revolution. Without Ayatollah Khomeini’s support, Prime Minister Bazargan felt helpless, and when a revolutionary group stormed the US Embassy in Iran and took 60 Americans hostage, Bazargan, along with his cabinet, resigned. Mahru and Khosro eventually got green cards, and came back to America—with their three sons and Mahru’s mother—in 1987. 

Tonight, I went to a reading of this book, by Mahru and her co-author, Susan Snyder, who met as fellow parents at New Canaan Country School. Susan, who is Jewish, met Mahru, who is Islam, at a 5th grade parent event in 1990. They became friends, and Mahru began telling Susan, a writer and educator, almost unbelievable tales of her life in Iran. (One was that her mother was told by the master of the house where she worked that there was not enough room in the house for all three of her daughters, and she would have to choose which one to give away. It wasn't the youngest, Mahru, who was seven at the time.) While Sue and Mahru's sons grew, they met often. Mahru told the stories, Sue typed as fast as she could and asked questions. Each story was a metaphor for a larger human struggle for food and shelter, contentment, love, belonging, power and self-determination.

The book has been published by Sue's business, IDEAS: Inventive Designs for Education & the Arts. It needs to be reviewed and picked up by a trade publisher...not only because it is an incredible story (truly movie material), but also so that Mahru can afford to stay in the United States. (She cannot go back to Iran, even though her sisters still live there. Yet, thanks to modern technology, she talks to them daily by a Skpe-equivalent.) 

So, if you are interested in reading this incredible tale ( it is also very well-written), let me know and I'll get you a copy. This is a story that needs to get out to a wider audience! Thanks for reading this...

“Not all who wander are lost.”~J.R.R. Tolkien

Emily K.
October, 2011
Shadi S.
October, 2011
As I said during our lunch, the book was absolutely mesmerizing. Although the first ten pages was a bit hard since the authors were trying to set up the surroundings and explain certain cultural aspects of the book and the setting of the story, I could not put it down the book after that point. The will and resolve of Mahru throughout the whole story in face of all the adversity she faces is mind boggling as she goes on with her life despite all obstacles and does not wallow in the suffering in the past but looks forward to the future while seeking a refuge in nature to deal with the problems in her life. It is a touching, honest and heart wrenching story about how to live life.
School Parents Return To Share Their Story
On United Nations Day, Monday, October 24th, New Canaan Country Day School welcomed back two former parents who had met on campus in the early 1990s while practicing a skit for their 5th grade sons... (                   to read more.) 
November 23, 2011
New Canaan Advertiser,
New Canaan,CT
"Last week I finished reading "Nine Rubies" and I'm still thinking of this amazing life story. The suffering and the resilience of all the women in the book impacted me very deeply. I hope you and Mahru can reach large audiences so more people will understand the reality in Islamic countries and how religious fundamentalism causes loss of freedom and respect for human rights. I thank you both for writing this book; it is really enlightening."
G. Chemerinsky
Professor of Psychoanalytic Theory and Practice, Educator, Social Worker
January 2012
Audrey Sussman – 
January 2012
​"This book touches the soul. As I read, I kept thinking about the courage it took to write about and share this soul-rending information Although the story is a difficult one, I found I couldn't put the book down. It is an amazing combination of history and memory. After meeting Mahru at the book signing it was hard to believe this beautiful, positive woman lived through such hardness and still kept her positive spirit. I highly recommend this book."  
​Goli T. 
Washington DC
February 2012
Nine Rubies has touched my heart deeply.

Thank you Mahru and Susan for writing such an inspiring memoire.

Nine Rubies reaffirmed my belief in the strength of women, not only Mahru’s but her sisters’ and especially her mother’s who at the time when a single mother’s livelihood depended on the generosity of her relatives raised her three daughters independently and with dignity. 

I admire Mahru for not surrendering, who against all odds made a better life for herself and, as promised, for her mother. Her strength to overcome the hardships of her early years, her resilience and the positive view of life is admirable.

Nine Rubies is a “Must Read” for younger generation especially young women. I am sure they will find Mahru a great Role Model.  

March 2, 2012

Listen to Mahru and Sue interviewed: 
Date: March 2nd/3rd 2012 
March 13, 2012
Tuesday, March 13, 2010 - 7:30 PM
New Canaan Library - Adrian Lamb Room
New Canaan, CT

Copies of the book will be available for purchase.
On March 13th, Mahru and Sue had a radio interview on the 

March 30, 2012

March 30, 2012 - Interview on NBC Nightly News NY of Mahru and Sue
Two women – Mahru Ghashghaei of Iran and Jewish-American Susan Snyder sat together in a kitchen, getting to know each other. They both enjoyed talking about their lives, their children, their love of gardening. Susan asked questions about Mahru's life in Iran and the answers became this book – Nine Rubies.

Mahru spoke of her childhood in Iran in a small village north of Tehran - so different than that of an American child. In Iran, a girl child could be married at a very early age, thirteen or fourteen! Marriages were arranged when Mahru was young, that being the culture in which she lived. The political events of the years from the 1960s were very much on Mahru's mind. As she grew up, she had to be very careful not to express her opinions in public. The ruling party was very touchy about criticism. The penalty could be death. Mahru spoke of her first serious love and the startling discovery that changed her life. Many years passed before she could allow herself to feel love again. Her sisters' and mother's lives were miserable at best. Mahru's family was first and foremost to her. 

Nine Rubies is an intriguing account of the years of Mahru's childhood as well as her revelations about her country and the turmoil it went through. It makes clear the strong cultural differences between the United States and Iran. I found the book interesting, but written as though for a younger audience.
Mary Ann Smyth, 
Non-Fiction Genre,
April 5, 2012
​THE FRIENDSHIP BLOG by Irene S. Levine, PhD

                                           to go to Dr. Levine's award-winning blog site to see her review of Nine Rubies.

(Dr. Levine's blog is a first-place winner of a Reader's Choice Awards, which is sponsored by, which is part of the New York Times Company.) 

Dr. Irene S. Levine,
The Friendship Blog
April 2012

Clara Freeman,
Clara54's Webblog
April 23, 2012

Be sure to read Clara Freeman's Blog page as she reviews Nine Rubies and includes an exclusive interview containing questions that Mahru has answered about her childhood in Iran, Political Views and where her and her family are today.

Stevo's Book Reviews on the Internet, Webblog
May 2012

April 25, 2012 - EXCITING NEWS!!! Nine Rubies receives Nationwide/Worldwide Exposure!

April 25, 2012
October 17, 2012

Photo Caption: Sue and Mahru with a group of participants from the Open Book Discussion at the Mattatuck Unitarian Universalist Society in Woodbury, CT.  The discussion was so intriguing that it lasted 2 1/2 hours!
October 21, 2012
October 22, 2012

On October 22, 2012, Mahru met with Hossein Hejazi at Persian Radio in Los Angeles, CA. 

The picture to the left is of Mahru, Susan and Elham Yaghoubani doing a lecture at UCLA in October, 2012.  The event was arrange by Dr. Nayereh Tohidi. 

Presented in English and Farsi, this presentation was the first introduction of Nine Rubies to the West Coast Persian community.Mahru is sharing a deep thought about the meaning of her experiences in Iran, as Sue and Elham look on. Elham provided a response to Nine Rubies during this presentation, which was followed by a smaller group meeting, and then two interviews on Persian radio stations.

I want to thank you and Mahru for a wonderful presentation to the Norwalk Public Library staff on Wednesday, November 7. I continue to hear how much the staff enjoyed hearing from both you and Mahru about her experiences. Not only did we learn about Iran/Persia, but we took a step back from our daily routines to think about other people, about their experiences, and what they bring to our workplace and our lives. 
All best, Chris 

Christine Bradley,
Norwalk CT Public Library
November 2012

This forum contains Steve Brock's monthly recommendations of the best fiction, nonfiction, and children's books. His forum contains Steve Brock's monthly recommendations of the best fiction, nonfiction, and children's books. Go to: for more information.

"There are few things that can improve the quality of life more than reading a book. Whether it's teaching you how to do something new or taking you to another universe, a good book is a rare treat. Here is my list of recommended new and recently published nonfiction and fiction (and a few children's) books for the month of May, 2012."  

Nine Rubies: Broken Silence of a Daughter of Revolutionary Iran by Mahru Ghashghaei and Susan Snyder (IDEAS: Inventive Designs for Education & the Arts, $15.99 - In 1990, two mothers sat in a modest kitchen enjoying a spring day and the usual conversation of getting to know someone new. It would turn out that their common passions of family, children, gardening and heritage became the pathway to deeper stories of women's issues, self-determination, and personal struggle. Sue was an American Jewish educator, writer and entrepreneur. Mahru was an Iranian Muslim nurse and counselor. Mahru's stories were powerful, and screamed for a way into the world. While their sons grew, Sue and Mahru met often. Mahru told stories; Sue typed and asked questions. Mahru found the American parallels for her experiences and cultural norms. Sue tried not to impose her perspectives and values onto Mahru's experiences, and to find the universal meaning in the deeply personal recollections. Every question unlocked a new recollection, carefully tucked away. Each story was a metaphor for a larger human struggle for food and shelter, contentment, love, belonging, power and self-determination. As they spoke and wrote over 20 years, stories hidden deep in Mahru's memory emerged and found their way onto the page. They are steeped in personal experiences that were impacted by a shifting political Iran, often influenced by covert American political and economic interventions. This story is ready to tell.
Mahru-  was finally able to find the time to read your book. Once I started, I read it in two nights and could not put it down. What a tragic, beautiful, touching piece of work. It taught me a lot about you and your childhood- so different than my own. I am glad to see that it is receiving so much positive attention. I am very grateful that you sought me out to share it with me.

Thanks again.
Jonathan Howard
Jonathan Howard, 
NYU Medical Center, NY
July 2012

"I picked up [Nine Rubies] and drifted away into a world I am not familiar with. I found the culture fascinating, confusing, maddening, and heartwarming all at the same time. I liked it."

Emil Curran, President
Johnson-Stevens-Curran Agency, Inc.
Danbury, CT
March 2013

Thank you so much for the wonderful day of programming at the Norwalk Public Library yesterday. It was so inspiring to all of our readers. I hope we can plan another event soon and I look forward to presenting with you at the Connecticut Lbrary Association Conference. I receved an email from the gentleman who had to leave early and he wanted me to share his thanks for a great discussion yesterday.
Cynde Bloom Lahey
Programming Specialist
Norwalk Public Library
March 2013

Norwalk Citizen - March 20, 2013

Local author provides up close and personal look at Iran
by Andrew Brophy

Norwalk Citizen
March 2013
November 9, 2013 at 2:00 pm
Norwalk Public Library - 11/9/13 - 2:00 pm

Mahru Ghashghaei and Susan Snyder discuss
Iranian Women Yesterday and Today

Discover active women in Iran today: musicians, actors, writers, swimmers, activists - their lives and challenges - through the eyes of a heroic Iranian American and her co-writer.
Nine Rubies is in the Fairfield Citizen online news! 

Read the article for an in depth look at Mahru and Sue's creation of Nine Rubies.

November 4, 2013
On Air Dates, November 2013
9th - 5:00 am & 11:30 am
10th - 12:00 am & 4:30 pm
11th - 12:00 am
We are very excited to for everyone to see Mahru and Sue's television interview from November 2, 2013 by Reporter Gwen Edwards' "OUR LIVES" segment on Connecticut News Channel 12.  See the area on the left for air dates and times.  Be sure to watch!

Meet Mahru and Sue for "Author Talk and Luncheon"

Fairfield Public Library - Rotary Room, Fairfield CT
Thursday, November 14th - 12:00 pm

Dear Ladies, Your visit to the Fairfield Public Library today was a wonderful experience for over 50 people who filled the Rotary Room for your author talk about Nine Rubies. As powerful and interesting as the stories of Mahru's life in Iran, a country she continues to love and be optimistic for, is the bond of your friendship which lead you to produce this book together. The audience was enraptured with your talk and with you both. Thank you for visiting us and we hope you'll be back. 
Barbara Slack
Fairfield CT Public Library
November 14, 2013
November 14, 2013
Dear Susan, I just finished reading your and Mahru's book, and found it both informative and great reading. Thank you for helping to preserve this bit of history and culture! I hope you are well, and please give my regards to Mahru. Peace.
Sherrill H.
Conway, MA; 
American Friends of the Palestinian
House of Friendship
January 2014