Not at all what I was expecting from this book it started out very bitter and ended very bitterly and had a joyous stage in the middle. I had been expecting a happy beginning and a bitter ending. The bitterness in the ending doesn't stem from the reasons you would expect either.
At the center this book is a tale of two lives gone wrong. Two people who are so much in love you could say they are destined to be together who never get that chance and deliberately estrange themselves from one another.
You get the chance to see what religious fanaticism can do. How it can spoil lives on a small scale.
You observe jealousy and you empathise. It's easy to empathise, because at the center of yourself you know there is a part which would be exactly the same under those circumstances.
Observe in this novel the easiness with which multiple men, a string of them, fall in love with a beautiful, kind and caring woman. How they continue to love her, against their own reason, long after she has left them.
It was a very good book, I can understand why it has become a modern classic.