Princess

Princess

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Jean Sasson

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In a land where Kings still rule, I am a Princess. You must know me only as Sultana, for I cannot reveal my true name for fear that harm will come to me and my family for what I am about to tell you. Think of a Saudi Arabian princess and what do you see? A woman glittering with jewels, living a life of unbelievable luxury. She has gold, palaces, swimming-pools, servants, designer dresses galore. But in reality she lives in a gilded cage. She has no freedom, no vote, no control over her own life, no value but as a bearer of sons. Hidden behind the veil, she is a prisoner, her jailers her father, her husband, her sons. 'Sultana' is a member of the Saudi royal family, closely related to the King. For the sake of her daughters, she decided that it was time for a woman in her position to speak out about the reality of life for women in her country, whatever their rank. She tells of her own life, from her turbulent childhood to her arranged marriage - a happy one, until her husband decided to take a second wife - and of the lives of her sisters, her friends and her servants. In contrast to the affection and easy camaraderie amongst the women, she relates a history of appalling oppression against them, everyday occurrences that in any other culture would be seen as shocking human rights violations: forced marriages, servants bullied into sex slavery, summary executions. Princess is a testimony to a woman of indomitable spirit and great courage. By speaking out, 'Sultana' risked bringing the wrath of the Saudi establishment upon her head and upon the heads of her children. For this reason, she told her story anonymously.

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Author information

Jean Sasson grew up in a small town in America's deep south before moving to the Middle East in 1978 to work at a prestigious royal hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In 1985, she met Princess Sultana, who inspired the widely acclaimed Princess Trilogy. Jean later worked as freelance writer in Lebanon and Kuwait, conducting interviews with Kuwaitis who survived the first Gulf war, as well as high ranking Kuwaiti officials before, during and after the War. Her affection for the Middle East has been the motivation for a number of her books and Jean has spent her career sharing the personal stories of many courageous women. Princess More Tears to Cry is Jean's 12th book and the fourth in the Princess series.

Customer reviews

By Tom Christie 27 Feb 2011 5

Horrifying tale of what is happening to women in the 20th century - and preumably stil lin the 21st.

Review quote

"Unforgettable in content, fascinating in detail - a book to move you to tears" -- Fay Weldon, Mail on Sunday (Pick of the Year) "Anyone with the slightest interest in human rights will find this book heart-wrenching... It had to come from a native woman to be believable" -- Betty Mahmoody, bestselling author of Not Without My Daughter "Startling, frank and vivid" Sunday Express "Gripping... fast-paced, enthralling" Publishers Weekly "Princess is a mind-boggling look at the everyday life of a contemporary woman in the 21,000-member-strong royal family... absolutely riveting" People magazine