Title: Princess Sultana's Daughters
Author: Jean P. Sasson
This is part of the Princess trilogy and is the second book in the series which follows the after the first one named Princess which I had read four years back. I was really touched and it was quite heart wrenching book which explained in detail the atrocities faced by women in Saudi Arabia in the hands of the men as described by Sultana who is a princess from the royal family of Saudi Arabia. That book is one among many which will remain forever in my heart. However this book failed to impress me in the same manner.
There are many reasons for this. First of all it is not a chronological story but random chronicles of events which are to be written as part of a diary that Sultana would keep for herself. Secondly there are unnecessary mentions of wealth and jewels possessed by Sultana and the extravagant vacations and luxurious apartments owned by them which made me quite uncomfortable. Thirdly she says that she is indirectly helping to create social stature for women through her books but at various times it feels like the theme just doesn't submerge with the whole scheme of events in her childrens' lives.
Her elder daughter Maha who seems to be quite rebellious since childhood falls for a girl after seeing how women are treated in the land of men. While her other daughter Amani turns spiritual and becomes a religious fanatic after the journey of Haj. I don't see a point how is this related to women stature in Saudi Arabia. At times Sultana gives an image of a parenthood gone wrong when she is being negligent about the whereabouts of her daughters: Maha who keeps a weapon without telling her parents and another who runs a religious extremist group at home and yet Sultana blames it all on sufferings of women in Saudi Arabia. Also I feel a sense of disgust towards Sultana when she was amused when her daughter fed dog licked biscuits to her uncle and also when Sultana laughed hysterically at the death of man by stampede at Haj realising its not her husband!
The climax of the book is also totally unrelated to the whole theme of the book. Her husband Kareem and son Abdullah seem more sensible and wise in their deeds than what Sultana seems like. I was awed by her first book but when I consider this one, it failed to grip my attention miserably. Few of the things like Haj experience and Muslim life in Egypt explained are done well and those are probably the only positives in the book. Instead of going ahead and writing these chronicles of events, she should probably have gone ahead and helped the grand daughter of her maid who was a victim of female circumcision because the royal family has all the powers in Saudi Arabia to make a difference.
I would like to rate it a generous 2/5 and stay miles away from the last book of the triology Princess Sultana's Circle.