Celebrated Turkish novelist Shafak (The Bastard of Istanbul) serves up a curious blend of mediocre hen lit and epic historical to underwhelming results. In present-day Boston, dull suburban mother and cheated-on wife Ella Rubinstein takes a job as a reader for a literary agent and becomes entranced by Aziz Zahara, the author of a manuscript about the relationship between 13th-century poet Rumi and Sufi mystic Shams that, for better or for worse, becomes a story-within-a-story. Aziz and Ella strike up an e-mail relationship, largely made up of Ella"s midlife crisis and Aziz"s philosophical replies. Meanwhile, Aziz"s novel, Sweet Blasphemy, is occasionally interesting but mostly dull, weighed down by Rufi"s and Shams"s theological musings. Its better moments concern tangential characters; Rumi"s son, Aladdin, who is resentful of his father"s closeness to the mystic, and Rumi"s adopted daughter, Kimya, whose doomed marriage to Shams is touching in a way Ella"s failed relationship with her husband never manages. The rumblings against Shams reach a peak, and Ella and Aziz finally meet, tying the story lines together into a readable, if not enthralling, tale.