Princess Sultana’s Daughters is now available on Kindle

So many people have asked me when they might download the 2nd of the three PRINCESS books.  I’m happy to inform you that the day has finally arrived:

DAUGHTERS is now available on KINDLE and will be available on all e-book devices soon.

It seems like yesterday that I was writing this book.  The princess and I had worked so hard on the first book, PRINCESS:  A TRUE STORY OF LIFE BEHIND THE VEIL IN SAUDI ARABIA.  We knew that the moment the book was published we should avoid the other; otherwise, her identity would be compromised.  To her shock and horror, her brother Ali happened to be passing through the German airport when the book was released to wide acclaim in that country.  Seeing from the cover and from questions asked in the bookstore that the book was about one of his royal female cousins, Ali picked it up and had it translated.  He recognised himself from some of his sister’s childhood pranks!  Princess Sultana’s secret was out so much sooner than we had feared!  A family meeting was called and she found herself the center of an evening of anger of accusations.  Strangely enough, although her family, including her brother, father, husband and half-brothers, knew that she was the rebellious princess in the book, she soon realized that none were of a mind to turn her into the authorities!  She discovered that the chains that bound her, also bound her male relatives.  They were embarrassed for their royal cousins to know that they could not control the women in their family. 

It didn’t take the princess long before she contacted me, and to tell me that she had changed her mind, that she wanted her story to continue.  We were both joyful to meet up again later that year at her home in London.  Truthfully, I was surprised that she wanted to highlight the lives of her two daughters, two very rebellious girls in their own right.  (I knew then that they took after their mother, rather than their father!)  I also noticed that Princess Sultana was no longer nervous about the step she had taken.  Several years later PRINCESS SULTANA’S DAUGHTERS was also released worldwide to great acclaim, and is still being read by many people, years afterward.  So for those who are interested in a KINDLE edition of the book, please know that it is available AS OF TODAY. 

PRINCESS SULTANA’S CIRCLE, the third and final book in the series, will be available as an e-book in the end of August, 2011.  Readers might be interested in knowing that there will be a new chapter updating the life of the princess and of her children as well as the current happenings in Saudi Arabia. 

Now the princess wants me to write a 4th book that will highlight once again a new generation.  Time will tell if this book will come to be a reality.   If so, I will announce it on this blog. 

A heartfelt thanks to all readers who care about Princess Sultana and the plight of women everywhere.

About jeansasson

I'm a woman with a keen interest in a wide range of topics including women's issues; animal rights issues; humanitarian issues and political movements, such as the events currently sweeping the Middle East. I am an avid reader and collector of books, mainly about travelers of the 18th and 19th centuries. I have enormous curiosity about other people and relish hearing about lives and opinions of people from all over the world. I’m the author of the PRINCESS series, GROWING UP BIN LADEN, MAYADA DAUGHTER OF IRAQ, FOR THE LOVE OF A SON, and more. Over the past two years the princess and I have met and worked together to bring out a 4th and a 5th book in the PRINCESS SERIES. The 4th is titled: PRINCESS, MORE TEARS TO CRY while the 5th, which was recently released, is titled: PRINCESS, SECRETS TO SHARE. I am currently working on my 14th book. Details to be released soon. You can visit my website (http://www.jeansasson.com/) or check out my books on Amazon for more info.
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43 Responses to Princess Sultana’s Daughters is now available on Kindle

  1. Pandora says:

    I read your book Princess, but I do not know if I can bring myself to read the additional books. Princess Sultana has made the whole world aware of the hellhole that is Saudi Arabia, yet she continues to live there and encourages her daughters to do so as well. What’s the point of railing against a system yet giving tacit approval by remaining?

    Sultana’s male relatives should be embarrassed, but we most likely wouldn’t agree on why.

  2. Jean Sasson says:

    Hi Pandora, Well, the princess hopes to bring change and she is much more effective by being there. It is her country and she loves it, warts and all. However, she and her husband gave her daughters the freedom to choose where they might live and one of her daughters is now living in Europe… All men who allow women to be treated as second-class citizens should be embarrassed, but few are…otherwise, they wouldn’t allow it!

  3. Pandora says:

    I believe Sultana’s most effective work was done with her book Princess. Now I’ll admit to not having read the other books but from what I’m hearing she accomplished little else. Perhaps had she stayed in Germany she could have availed herself of some para-military group that would have rescued Samerra from her imprisonment by force, as Sameera’s useless family wasn’t about to lift a finger to help her. Not only picking on Sultana here, I wish American Pat Roush had done the same.

    Of course the men should be embarrassed by their behavior towards women, but Sultana can always needle her cowardly brother Ali over why he skipped out on defending his beloved Saudi Arabia in the Gulf War. The United States Army, complete with women soldiers had to come and do his work for him.

  4. Jean Sasson says:

    Actually, Princess Sultana has accomplished a great deal. She spends enormous time and money educating Muslim girls. She believes, as I do, that nothing will foster independence for Muslim women more than education. Last year alone she was responsible for 800 girls graduating from schools where they became nurses, teachers, and dentists. I think that is very impressive.

    You appear very angry at Princess Sultana, and I admit I’m a little baffled by that, or perhaps I have misunderstood. Take care, Jean

  5. Pandora says:

    As I have never met Princess Sultana it would be difficult to be angry at her on a personal level. I will confess, however, to a general low regard of many of the Saudi women she writes of. Many women are appalled at the marriage of her sister Sara to an old, disgusting weasel of a man, yet these “aunties” all show up to do the ritual preparation of the young bride to be wed to this pervert. I’d have more respect for the lot of them if they’d all stayed home. I note it’s the women who perform the barbaric circumcision of her sister, it’s a Saudi mother who says her rapist son needs sex and they’ve provided an Oriental woman for him to rape on a regular basis so Saudi women’s sanctity can be maintained ( and I’ll bet my next paycheck this rapist’s female relations will be busily scouting out appropriate wives for him, never mind that he’s a rapist.) Sameera’s female relatives knew what a cretin her uncle was yet they assisted him in enticing her back to Saudi Arabia, then sat there for 15 years while she died a slow, lingering death in the women’s room (while most likely continuing to lie to the household staff that there was a brain-injured family member.) I could probably come up with more examples but I think you get the idea.

    Education is a fine thing, but I’d suggest that women stop enabling the dysfunctional, abusive culture that is Saudi Arabia. One retraction …. it appears Pat Roush did make some aggressive attempts to save her daughters. But I stick by my earlier assessment of Princess Sultana’s brother …. a total coward, amongst other things. I had hoped the Princess would have confronted him about it. I have a sneaking suspicion his disgusting friend Hadi is one as well.

    Oddly, the individual who defied his culture the most was Hassad. His telling his old bat of a mother that he was marrying Sara end of discussion was one of the high points of the entire book.

  6. Jean Sasson says:

    Hi… Yes, one of the most disappointing things for me in the entire Middle East was to witness how the women often were cruel to other women — even mother’s to daughters. The society is so overwhelming in favor of males that the women are afraid that they will be punished even if they offer a helping hand to other women.

    I don’t know what this is — in fact, I’ve seen it in the west. The people who have tried to harm me personally, and at times, harm the work I do, were nearly always female. This has been a very painful discovery for me, someone who sticks my neck out over and over for other women.

    I have to think about this a while. I believe your point is so valid, that I believe I want to blog about this huge problem. Thanks, Pandora, you have my mind racing this morning.

    Talk later, then… Jean

  7. Erica says:

    Hi Jean,

    Interesting topic. I think Pandora is perhaps being a little too judge mental of Sultana, but as you pointed out, she has a valid point about the way women can sometimes treat other women. I’ve though alot about this because of a work situation I was in some years back. One women in particular was always bickering with and backstabbing the other women. She would even spy on us for our male supervisor. Since then Ive been very tuned Into this problem, and just watch in sadness whenever I see women berating and battling other women.

    You can see this in all cultures, all races, on tv, movies etc. But I think this mainly occurs when and where you have women who feel powerless in there own lives to some extent. They don’t have the strength, power, or courage to stand up to the real oppression in there lives ( whether that be men, lack of education, low self esteem, poverty etc.) so they reach out and try to control, or attack, or pick on the only people they’re able to take on….other women who are in the same powerless situation. I know it’s just a movie, but “Memoirs of a Geisha” is a great! example of this phenomenon. As far as Princess Sultana, i I think she has done and is doing all that she’s able to do without risking lowering her children and families place in conservative Saudi Arabian society due to their relation to her. These women who are defying the ban on driving in SA however are awsome. I think that’s the kind of courage it’s gonna take for real change to come to the women there, and nothing less.

    Anyways that’s my take on it. Thanks Jeans…Loved the Princess books, and I was so psyched to read in your blog that there might be a fourth. : )

    • jeansasson says:

      Thanks, Erica. I enjoyed reading your email and agree with so much of what you say. I, too, really feel uncomfortable and sad when women attack other women. We all need to stick together!

  8. i’ve read the book princess and the daughter of Arabia, that what was it named when i bought it, it left a big changes in my though i live in very moderate country, but its not what is happening in real, in the real of my country they still treat woman as what Saudi does, but its more in civilized way, while reading the first book i was very captured with the details that the princess has mentioned in it, but i was little disappointing when she didn’t in the second book.

    but am in the process of reading the third one which is desert royal, i dont know if these book has been manipulated or its the same old one, but i would like to thank both of you The writer and the princess for sharing so much information with us the common ppl.

    • jeansasson says:

      I hope that you enjoyed Desert Royal. As you see, it was not “manipulated or the same old one” but was a new book with new stories. I enjoyed your note, Fatima and hope to hear from you again one day. Jean

  9. Mistyfan says:

    What exactly are the passages in the Koran that purportedly justify the punishment of the Woman’s Room? I know it says ‘banish them to their couches’, but is that all or is there more? And is it really justification for isolation in a room with darkness and silence until death? Or was it the uncle’s own idea to torture Sameera in this way in addition to isolating her? I suspect it was as Sultana describes the case of another girl, Lawand, who also received the punishment of the Woman’s Room. But in this case it was not a life sentence, and from the sound of it, she was not tortured with darkness and silence. And the glossary does say that the punishment can be temporary or a life sentence.

    Can someone explain?

    • jeansasson says:

      Hi Mistyfan, I have read several passages about punishment for women, but I will ask a good Muslim friend who is much more familiar than I am to tell us. And, I heard from Saudi friends that it is not unusual at all for women to be isolated for a certain period of time. It’s a “common” punishment. In fact, I know of a woman who recently confided that she was about to be locked away in a house in a very isolated area, but she ran away and managed to escape the country! Unusual but this woman was unusually strong and determined.

      Anyhow, I’ll send your question to someone who will know exactly and will post when I hear back. Thanks so much, Jean

  10. Mistyfan says:

    Jean, thanks for the comment. I’m so glad to hear that one woman got away! Are you going to put her story into an upcoming book?

    Well, I found the Koran passage that is used to justify ‘The Woman’s Room’ (Sura IV. 15):

    4:15 – As for those of your women who are guilty of lewdness, call to witness four of you against them. And if they testify (to the truth of the allegation) then confine them to the houses until death take them or (until) Allah appoint for them a way.

    Well, I notice it doesn’t say anything about a woman being subjected to darkness and silence (and in time, squalor) until death.

    Have you heard anything about how Sameera’s family is doing these days? I presume that the uncle has passed over (good riddance!). I hope he didn’t put anyone else in that padded room.

  11. Handira says:

    Thank you for the educational substance that you have written on behalf of Sultana and other women, as now I’m more aware of their plight and struggles for everyday freedom. It will help me transition to the middle east culture faster, because my ideas about Arabic speaking people and Arabs in general are camels, deserts, Aladdin, Lawrence of Arabia! In my search for better understanding I’ve also started reading Mohammad Asad’s work, however stories and first impression make a lasting impact for me, especially by Princess.

    • jeansasson says:

      Hi Handira, This is wonderful for an author to read — I’m so so happy that the books I write enlighten those of a different culture from the Arab world. It’s so important that the entire world reach understanding of others and if I have helped in the smallest way, I am very happy about it!

  12. jeansasson says:

    Dear MistyFan, I spoke with my closest friend and someone I know who is very familiar with all aspects of the Quran and her is her response to her question: This is from Mayada al-Askari:

    The first ruling in Islam came in the Quran regarding adulteresses (or sinners ) came in general where a woman would be banished in a room and locked away until God decides – which means until death.

    Later after Prophet Mohammad went to Madina the ruling was altered in the Quran and this alteration is called Nasikh, meaning a new method or ruling was devised later.

    One may ask why should Allah alter and amend rulings in this manner? Because He sends his rulings gradually. In the beginning, the religion was gradually gaining followers. Hence rulings were easier, because the faith was still fresh in the souls of people.

    This is exactly what happened with the alcohol banning issue. Allah first said that do not approach prayers while you are drunk, then in a later phase he banned drinking alcohol completely.

    The same happened with the punishment room.
    In the beginning both married and unmarried females were banished into this isolation room if they were found to be sinners in sleeping with men.

    Later Allah amended the ruling to the following:

    1- The rule is to be applied for both women and men without discrimination, meaning that the adulterer and adulteress will be punished in the exact same manner.

    2- Married women and men or previously married women and men who are caught in the act as witnessed by four adult people completely in bed and practicing, will be stoned to death.

    3- Single women and men caught in the act and witnessed by four adults as before will be flogged 50 times –as a punishment and not to death.

    The Saudi banishment room is based on the old ruling which was amended in the Quran, so it is my belief that the Saudis do not want to expose their women kin to a scandal of being flogged or stoned to death so they resort to the first ruling which is not Allah’s punishment any more.

    Mayada al-Askari (of MAYADA, DAUGHTER OF IRAQ fame).

  13. jeansasson says:

    Yes, old age took the uncle to wherever it is God decided he would go. No other women in the family were subjected to the punishment as far as I know. However, Sameera was an only child and her parents were killed in an auto accident several years before she was put into the woman’s room.

    And no, I am not going to write about the other Saudi woman I know who escaped the woman’s room by her own means of escaping when she found the chance. She still has people in SA that she wants to maintain contacts with and if I were to write about her, this might cause a problem for her… The last thing I would ever do is write something that harmed an individual….

  14. Mistyfan says:

    Dear Jean,

    Thank you for the feedback. Actually, I found the same verse, Sura 4:15, recently.

    On another link, I found another discussion about that verse. Another interpretation has it that it was meant to save women from prostitution; ‘confine them’ is actually meant to be ‘keep them in the house until death’ (i.e. not imprison them). And the bit about Allah providing another way for them refers to a new source of income (or marriage, I suppose), so they don’t need to resort to prostitution. Well, that’s one interpretation, I guess.

    But one thing is clear – it does not say to keep a woman locked into darkness and silence until death.

  15. Mistyfan says:

    I hear one of Princess Sultana’s daughters is now living in Europe. Is that correct? And am I correct in assuming it is Maha?

  16. Mistyfan says:

    Sounds like the daughter will be in Europe for the rest of her life; I can’t see a lot of changes happening in Saudi Arabia right now. It’ll probably take a few generations.

    If only Princess Sultana’s Circle had been around when Sameera was imprisoned; at least there would have been more of a fighting chance. Or Sameera could have sought help from the circle when she ran into financial trouble abroad. Though by the sound of it, I think force was the only way to get Sameera out of the woman’s room, such as threatening to put a curse on the uncle if he didn’t release her.

  17. Mistyfan says:

    @Pandora: I think it’s a bit unfair to call Sameera’s family useless. Their culture had conditioned them to defer to the eldest in the family and the word of the Koran (which had verses that cemented the uncle’s decision to punish Sameera in this manner). And fom the sound of it, they were too scared to go against this uncle, who was a tyrant who threatened and intimidated them.

    The second book said that many (whoever they were) had tried to win Sameera’s release over the years, but the uncle wouldn’t budge. They had to settle for releasing her upon his death (but she died first). So it sounds like the family was trying to do something, but trying to keep it within the parameters of their religion and culture. Most likely they didn’t dare take matters into their own hands because they were too scared of the uncle, or take chances with the Koran itself.

    • jeansasson says:

      Trying to respond and have written two lengthy replies but for some reason, my blog is not accepting my comments! (laugh) IF this goes through, I’ll come back later and reply… Jean

  18. Mistyfan says:

    I am glad to hear that there is a possible fourth book in the Sultana series. If so, it will be great to have more details about Sultana’s Circle and who else they have helped besides Veena. Have they had any luck in saving other women from the woman’s room? (I hope Sameera’s looking down and smiling if they are, and her uncle is rolling in his grave.) I suppose it won’t discuss the daughter who has moved to Europe as Jean doesn’t want to discuss her identity.

  19. Pandora says:

    Hi Mistyfan,

    I believe it is very appropriate to call Sameera’s family useless. The Koran says it’s OK to lie to your household staff (some of whom are Muslim) that you have a brain-injured relative when you don’t? Why did they assist him in luring her back in the first place?

    • Mistyfan says:

      The uncle was a tyrant who bullied the family and threatened them with dire punishment if they helped Sameera, remember? They were so intimidated that none of them dared to speak out at Sameera’s first instalment of mistreatment (prior to her marriage) upon her return, and they probably didn’t dare speak out when she was confined to the woman’s room either. They probably felt as Sultana and her sisters did; desperate to help but felt powerless to do so against the tyrannical uncle and the apparent word of the Koran. The only way to help Sameera was to for somebody to take matters into their own hands and physically rescue her from the woman’s room. But I suppose nobody dared to do that, even if they had thought of it. The second book does say that many did try to persuade the uncle to release his niece (but without success) so it does sound like that the family was at least trying something.

      The fate of Sameera, by the way, is one thing that really sticks with me from the Princess series. Her story is the one that moves me the most (I can’t bring myself to read the bit about Nadia being drowned). I was glad to hear from Jean that at one woman did escape from the woman’s room. So there’s one who got away! And maybe Sultana’s Circle has had some luck in rescuing some women from the women’s room as well.

  20. Pandora says:

    Hi Mistyfan,

    The family was under no Koranic obligation to lie to household staff about why there was this person stuck in a prison cell, yet they did so. Why not tell all the household staff and visitors the truth, namely Sameera was locked up for life because she said her husband was a sorry excuse for a lover? (I’d make sure his name was mentioned on a frequent basis.) If my memory is correct one of her female relatives lied to her to get her to return from Saudi. This was actively assisting this dirtbag uncle in getting control of Samera, not just enduring his tyranny. If they genuinely could do nothing about this uncle, they could refuse to enable him. If he was justified under Koranic law I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if everyone heard the entire truth. A physical rescue would have been the best course of action, but they were just too cowardly. Talking to him was a waste of time.

    Poor Nadia, I would hope her family would have said to her homicidal father have fun drowning your daughter, I’ll have no part in it. But I suspect this wasn’t so.

    • Mistyfan says:

      Jean and I have been discussing the Koranic passages that allegedly justify the woman’s room, and they definitely do not justify torturing a woman with darkness and silence until death. So yes, what the uncle did went way over and above what the Koran seemed to justify, but nobody stopped him. Definitely some hard questions to ask there!

      It was Sameera’s aunt who helped trick Sameera into returning to Saudi, but she did so because she was scared of the bullying uncle, and she regretted it later. There might have been some relatives who helped the uncle willingly, but the book talked a lot about him bullying and intimidating the family and threatening them with dire punishment if they didn’t help him.

      And the lie about the brain-injured relative was because the workers who built the woman’s room were foreign, asked questions, and were probably not Muslim.

    • mistyfan says:

      In the fourth book, “More Tears to Cry”, it said Nadia’s father was congratulated all round for his decision to drown her. I hate to think whether Sameera’s uncle received congratulations as well for what he did to her.

      • Pandora says:

        Again, those who were busy congratulating dirtbag uncle should have heard the entire truth ….. Sameera’s ex -husband was a lousy lover in comparison to an American (according to Sameera, at least.) Keep everyone wondering if it was true.

  21. Mistyfan says:

    Am I correct in assuming Sameera was imprisoned c.1978 and died c.1993? I am working on the assumption that she died in between the publications of books 1 and 2, which is 1993, and then subtracting 15 years.

  22. Pandora says:

    Mistyfan,

    You have confirmed my original feelings ….. you admit they did everything I complained about (lied, assisted a dirtbag uncle) yet you excuse their despicable behavior by saying their culture made them do it.

    Sameera was also foolish, I regret to say. Once she had gotten out of that cesspool she should never have contacted any of them again, as I can’t believe she was unaware that they were incapable of telling this nasty old uncle to go jump in a lake. And NEVER call the Saudi embassy, EVER!!!

  23. jeansasson says:

    Your comment makes me wonder if you contacted the Saudi Embassy and had a bad experience doing so. If you feel you can share, I’d love to know what happened. If not, I understand. As far as culture, it’s hard to believe how a culture can affect nearly everyone living in the “system” but it does. And, the fear factor is a big part of why people don’t move to help others. No excuse, just the reality…

  24. Mistyfan says:

    @Jean: Yes, as Sultana’s sister said in book 3, “It is so easy to be a coward in Saudi Arabia. There is so much to lose.” This was why Sultana and her sisters really took their family by surprise in acting as they did to save Veena.

    Some people might think Sameera’s family was useless, but I think they themselves felt as Sultana and her sisters did: wanting to help, but powerless to do so.

  25. Pandora says:

    Jean,

    No, I personally have never had any dealings with them. I was referring to Sameera’s niavety in calling them. Knowing the cultural attitude did she really think they would help her remain in America? I get the impression she did not possess the survival skills she needed. When I read she’d been calling embassies I thought For heaven’s sake do what everyone else does. Call up the law firm of Dowe, Cheatum and How and get an immigration specialist!

    • Mistyfan says:

      The law firm of Dowe, Cheatum…okay, I’ll bear that in mind if I’m stuck in America and need an immigration specialist.

      • Pandora says:

        Now you’ve got it …. and if your family is as useless as Sameera’s and wires you money for a return trip, Jackpot! You’ve got more money for that immigration attorney!

  26. mistyfan says:

    I wonder what happened to Munira, the woman who was forced to marry horrible Hadi. Last we heard was the poem she had written about the abuse she was suffering at the hands of that man. On the other hand, it may not be nice to know. Munira may not have been as lucky as Sara, who managed to escape her cruel husband thanks to the intervention of her mother.

    • jeansasson says:

      Thanks for asking. Sadly, Munira is still married to Hadi. She has basically retreated into self and I’m told that she rarely if ever speaks.

      Yes Sara was luckier than most and is still having a good life with her second husband, who is a very lovely man.

  27. Vivienne says:

    What did happen to Sameera in the end? Did she get out of the room?

    • jeansasson says:

      Hi Vivienne, So many people ask this question because it was such a horrifying story. The mystery of what happened to Sameera was explained in the second book in the PRINCESS TRILOGY — PRINCESS SULTANA’S DAUGHTERS (in the UK the title is: DAUGHTERS OF ARABIA).

      If you cannot get the book and read it, you can write privately to me at jeansasson@msn.com and I will tell you what happened privately — I do not want to spoil the end of this story for readers who plan on reading the 2nd book. Many thanks and all the best, Jean

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