Jean Sasson’s Books

Here I am in Saudi Arabia, having a lovely day exploring.  Wearing the man’s Saudi headdress to protect my head from the boiling sun!


Recently I received a lot of letters from readers wanting to know about my books and how I came to write books about the Middle East, along with other questions about my love of animals.  Thus I decided to do a blog rather than respond individually to letters.  I hope this works!

Thanks to all who care about the books I write, and about my heroines.  I thank you, and they thank you!

Beautiful Saudi woman behind the veil

A Note from Author Jean Sasson:

So many people ask me why do I care so much about the plight of women of the world?

The answer is simple:  because I can’t help it. I grew up in the United States, in a tiny town down South.  In my daily experience, women enjoyed full freedom to do as they pleased.  During those early years, it was beyond my imagining that women might be discriminated against. But from a young age, I noticed mankind’s occasional unthinking mistreatment of other animals.  Such cruelty broke my heart, and I took aggressive action to aid animals in need.  Mischievous boys who thought it amusing to tie a bag of rocks to a cat’s tail soon learned to avoid me.  I cared for a number of animals of my own, including some rather eccentric ones, such as a pet chicken named Prissy that I taught to walk on a lead.  Another pet chicken, named Ducky, accompanied me like my little shadow and brought me endless joy.  I had a number of cats and, when I grew older, I got my first doggie, a black cocker spaniel named, yes, Blackie!  Others – Frisky, Doby, and a Peke named Goo Boo – soon followed. As I grew older, it seemed that all the homeless dogs and cats in my little town “knew” to gather in our yard, sensing that I could not turn a single one away. An impulse to save needy animals carried on throughout my entire life, and I was willing to pursue eccentric efforts to save a chained or otherwise mistreated animal.  After I moved to Saudi Arabia, our villa in a Saudi neighborhood quickly filled with abandoned dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and even ducks!

Friends who stayed overnight in our home were often confronted with the challenge of sharing their bed with a couple of affectionate cats, of being roused in the morning by songs from caged birds, or of arranging their evening ablutions alongside a surprise in the guest bathroom:  a bathtub filled with ducks! Some people say that my heightened sensitivity is a blessing, while others stamp it a curse.  I endorse the “blessing” tag and exult that I’ve been the joyful “mother” of 31 cats and dogs, the “foster mom” of many others until I could find an appropriate home, as well as the caretaker of too many birds to count.  A few years ago a friend from the days of Saudi laughingly confided that my nickname was “The Bird Woman of Riyadh,” a title unknown to me during my 12 years of living in the desert kingdom.

In Saudi Arabia, I worked as the Administrative Coordinator of Medical Affairs at The King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre.  Most hospital reports crossed my desk prior to being presented to my boss who was the head of the hospital.  Therefore, I was privy to the details of many human tragedies.  But the reports that haunted me most were the stories of women who had been brutally mistreated.  And, more often than not, it seems, their injuries had been inflicted by the very men who were supposed to protect them.  Many Saudi men, of course, were wholly kind to the females in their family.  But when the occasional man lashed out at a wife or daughter with cruelty or brutality, the women of the family had nowhere to turn for help.  The man’s word was absolute law and no outside organization would dare interfere.  A woman’s helplesness in such a situation is heartrending and nearly unsolvable.

I saw sadness almost every day that I worked at the hospital, most of it associated with women’s issues.  Unfortunately, there was little I could do – for I, too, was a disenfranchised woman, in a country not my own.

But I met several Saudi women who desperately plotted for change.  One was a Saudi princess, a woman the world now knows as Princess Sultana al-Saud.  Understanding her culture well, she described that nothing would crack Saudi men’s determination to maintain the status quo…nothing, that is, short of worldwide indignation.  For this reason, the princess was fierce in her belief that the story of Saudi women must be told.  Most importantly, she wanted her own life experiences to be the story that inflamed the world. For years we discussed this possibility, but after my book THE RAPE OF KUWAIT lent me the clout of a bestseller, we knew the time was right to expose the tragedies that afflict so many women on this earth.  By then, we were both mature women who understood that discrimination against women is not limited to Saudi Arabia or to the Middle East, but is a worldwide problem, aggrieving women in Western nations, too.  But first we would tell HER story.

Storytelling is powerful.  A powerful book or movie can inform and inflame.  That is why I think it is wonderful that so many books are now being written about the plight of women worldwide.  I support all authors who make this important subject their life’s work.

I am proud that PRINCESS was the first book to be written about the life of a Saudi Arabian woman, because Saudi life for females is completely unique and cannot compare with any other Middle Eastern country, or for that matter, any country in the world.

After PRINCESS, I shared other, very powerful stories.  After traveling to Iraq in July 1998, I wrote about Mayada Al-Askari in MAYADA, DAUGHTER OF IRAQ.  Later I shared the story of Joanna’s great adventure, the story of a Kurdish woman’s escape from Northern Iraq in the book LOVE IN A TORN LAND.  Soon  came the compelling story of Osama’s wife and son, called:  GROWING UP BIN LADEN.  My latest account is FOR THE LOVE OF A SON:  ONE AFGHAN WOMAN’S QUEST FOR HER STOLEN CHILD, a story that will make you weep and make you laugh.  Such exuberance is typical of so many lives, lives laced with good and with bad.  And who would deny the importance of any story that details the life of a woman who challenges an unjust system?  Such stories are criticized only by those who care nothing about the status of women.

I hope that you learn about women of the world, and that you, too, work to ensure that every human being – male or female – has the right to lead a life of dignity. Jean Sasson


I’m currently working on my memoirs and a first installment featuring the first year of living in Saudi Arabia was recently released as an e-book, titled:  AMERICAN CHICK IN SAUDI ARABIA.  READERS NOTE:  This is only a short installment.  The book will not be released for at least another year.

Here’s a photo of the book: 

My work has been featured in People, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New York Post, The Sunday London Times, The Guardian, CNN, FOX, NBC, and many other news organizations.

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 few years the princess and I have met and worked together to bring out a 4th, 5th and 6th book. The 4th is titled: PRINCESS, MORE TEARS TO CRY while the 5th is titled: PRINCESS, SECRETS TO SHARE. The 6th, titled PRINCESS, STEPPING OUT OF THE SHADOWS is to be released in October 2018. I am currently working on my memoirs. Details to be released soon. You can visit my website ( or check out my books on Amazon for more info.
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29 Responses to Jean Sasson’s Books

  1. Anita says:

    Jean you are an amazing woman!! and I do read your books – I also am an animal lover – God bless you!

  2. Turana says:

    Thank you very much for your wonderful world of East! You are very interesting person,charming woman and talented writer! Waiting you in Azerbaijan,Baku)))

    • jeansasson says:

      You are a very refined person, that is clear to see from your email. Certainly if there are more lovely people like you in Azerbaijan, I would be a lucky person to visit! Thank you for your very kind words! Jean

  3. MaryAnn says:

    You have definitely written some powerful books about women and one of the wonderful things about them was that the story line was so powerful that the obvious part (the plight of women) was simply worked into the story. That was the artistry of the writer which is incredible. I’m really looking forward to your personal story in the middle east.

    Is it hard to breath with the headpiece (I know it’s not the burka, but I’ve forgotten what it’s called) over your mouth? It seems that you’d feel as if you were smothering.

    Your love of animals is wonderful. I’m a fierce animal lover too. I cry everytime the ASPCA ad comes on TV with Willie Nelson singing in the background ‘Maybe I didn’t love you as much as I should have…’ At first my husband just looked at me crying. Now he knows it’s going to happen again when they play it again. Animals are so wondeful I don’t see how anyone can hurt them. I love them all except the reptiles. I can’t honestly say I ever learned to love them though. Everything else, yes.

    • jeansasson says:

      You and I are twins when it comes to a love of animals. I can’t watch that ad with Willie Nelson! I burst into tears, too! And, I love all animals but am not going to be getting a reptile anytime soon, although I just hate it when they are in bad conditions and miserable.

      I will NEVER understand how anyone can harm another human being, OR, a helpless animal — animals depend upon us for their happiness, particularly the ones that humans have tamed and brought into our homes.

      My animals ALWAYS RULE and I do as they tell me (smile)…

      Thanks for your note — I really enjoyed hearing from you… Jean

  4. VioletCrush says:

    thank you for letting us know the inspiration and reasons behibd yiur books. Im lookig forward to reading growing up bin laden. Good luck for your memoir.

  5. Patricia says:

    Hola Jean, he leido sus libros de la Princesa Sultana y he quedado fascinada. Me gustaria saber que es de la vida de la princesa actualmente y de sus hijas.
    Gracias por esos libros tan hermosos, que me han echo emocionarme y llorar tanto.
    Saludos, Patricia, Argentina.

  6. Aminah Ahmad says:

    I loved the story of sultana al saud… I think you are very brave & creative… Looking forward to reading more of your books… Keep up the good work!

    • Jean Sasson says:

      I’m so glad, Aminah… It’s really special to write about such courageous women as all my heroines. I do so hope that you get to read more of my books! HAPPY READING!

  7. Tiffany says:

    I think the princess books were wonderful,so well written. It’s been awhile since Iv’e read them but I still remember them lol. I think you reaching out to others and helping is great. The world needs more people like Jean. Rock on and stay blessed on this 4th of July,Jean and other posters..Tiff in boring Ohio lol..

    • Jean Sasson says:

      Thanks, Tiffany! Sorry for the delay but I just saw your note. Great and uplifting to read your message. Have a wonderful day and I doubt that it is boring in Ohio! Human beings make a lot of excitement, no matter where you are! I grew up in a town of only 800 in Alabama and I don’t recall a dull moment! (smile)

  8. Tiffany says:

    Oh my ok,I am from Lima,ohio actually waaaay bigger than 800,but now live in a smaller town 17 mi West of Lima. This small town is still larger than suppose I will have to work harder to liven up this Buckeye state Best wishes in your travels and be safe. Tiff..

  9. Tiffany says:

    Hmm actually I plan on doing nothing to liven up Ohio,lol. I am too busy studying for my final term of school. I am going for an LMT for Ohio. No time to liven anything up right now. lol. Happy writing I will check out your new book sometime after Sept as I graduate in Sept. Thanks so much for your time and your writing. Tiff..I follow you on twitter too..

  10. kim says:

    Ive read the princess books more than once, and love them. Ironically, one of the reasons I feel I identify with Sultana, is the very thing that probably her family (and mine) dont, her temper, is very similar to mine, and I have laughed at her escapades. Ie throwing expensive vases at Kareem (princess after he slapped her when she was by the sounds of it brawling, lol, with her mother in law) some of those stories are things western women friends would not be brave enough to do. o, rightly or wrongly 😉 when I was reading/laughing as Sultana did those things. as well as pondering how similar her reactions were to the way I tend t react (or blow up as some would say) I had to admire her sheer guts at letting rip, in a country where the consequences are potentially so much harsher than they could ever be for me. (and as I am not royalty any vases I’ve thrown have been replaceable for under $100 🙂

    Is there a forum where people can post a message for ‘Sultana’?

    • jeansasson says:

      Hi Kim! I’m so glad that you are addicted to Princess Sultana! I can understand it — believe me, she is an amazing woman in many ways. And, you are right, she has quite the character. You do sound very much like her. It never hurts to stand up for yourself, that is for sure.

      At the moment there is no forum, although she does read the messages she receives after I send them on to her daughter. If you want to write to her, please feel free to do so by sending her a note to I’ll make sure she sees it.

      For now, have a really special day. Jean

  11. xmango_blushx says:

    Dear Jean Sasson,
    I just wanted to let you know that I absolutely love your books they are absolutely amazing, the stories are so gripping and powerful and the people you represent are so strong, brave and inspiring.
    I first read your book princess as both Princess and Daughters of Arabia were mentioned to me by my mum who is also a lover of books as I am…. although she is very fussy, as I am not! Therefore I take her book reccomendations to heart – and she had high praise for both these books!!!! My interest was further heightened because obviously no-one had ever written about life in Saudi Arabia, and as my parents are originally from an arab country, I heard a lot about the way women were treated in Saudi but dismissed it as exaggerated tales… as many arabs tend to tell such stories…. but I was actually really curious… especially about the royal luxury life… well that’s what I thought at the time… naive much? 🙂
    Anyway, I began Princess and got totally hooked…. so hooked in fact that I read the trilogy fairly quickly and absolutely loved it!
    After this, I decided to feret out more of your books and read ‘Growing up Binladen’ and Mayada Daughter of Iraq, both stunning in their own unique ways…. Your a unique writer and we need more people like you in this world 😀
    I guess an interest in the world at large and a curiocity of different cultures helped temper my admiration for your work, but I think that the people you write about have such compelling, extraordinary tales to tell! Keeeeepp it up …!!!!!

    • jeansasson says:

      Hi Siham, What a lovely letter! I know how much time it takes to sit down and write to an author about her books, so I doubly appreciate it. And, thank your mum for me, too.

      I select the heroines and the stories I write very carefully, because each books takes me a very long time to research, interview the heroine/hero and then write the book. So, I value each of my books for many reasons, not least, for the very courageous people I write about. I’m so glad that I can bring these important true stories to the world.

      Once again, I thank you… I do so hope you get to read more of my books. I believe that the one I am writing at this moment is one of the most important and will have far-reaching consequences and hopefully, will help women all over the world.

      I hope to hear from you again…

      With very best wishes and happy reading, Jean

  12. Latisha J says:

    Hi! I absolutely love your books! I think that the Saudi women are very brave and I feel so bad for them! Every time I read Princess I get so frustrated with how the men are such pigs!! But also feel somewhat relieved or really hope that a very few men are like Sara’s husband and Kareem. Although I think that sultana is very lucky or lucky than most in her country! I mean how awesome could it be that she has everything her heart desires except freedom! I think it’s ironic how we women here in America have so much freedom but in return we have to find some way to make it financially or only a few are rich, but in Saudi Arabia they don’t really have any freedom but most are somewhat wealthy even the homeless are probably considered higher than servants! And because of the oil there.

    I’m sorry for writing this much, and I would also like to ask if there is going to be any addition to the princess series? I was just wondering because I think some things might have occurred after the last book.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my comment. I hope you keep up your great work and have fun in Saudi Arabia!

    • jeansasson says:

      Hi Latisha, I thank you for your comment. I agree that it is very frustrating, no matter where abuse might occur — whether in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan or the USA, and believe me, it occurs all over the world.

      Yes, there are going to be two more books but they will not come out for another year or so. I’ll alert my readers.

      You are so welcome and I thank you for writing.

      Take care! Jean

  13. chris says:

    While reading the Princess Sultana Trilogy I attended International Student Day at an University where my husband is teaching. There were several young Kuaiti men and Saudi men attending their respective booths. They were have a great time. I noted the lack of females and inquired as to their absence. The young men were aghast that I thought them rude not to have young women representing their respective countries. I saw a Saudi man with his 3 young adorable children dressed in their best silk robes. The young children ranged in ages 2-5 (1 girl, 2 boys). I asked the dad if I could take their pictures. He consented and proudly kneeled down and posed with them. I also asked why his wife wasn’t with them. His shocked expression said it all. As I walked away I could not help wondering how the precious little sister is treated by her 2 brothers. Like Ali treated Sultana or like Kareem? May Allah instill wisdom of respect and admiration for the females in this man’s family and to those young Saudi and Kuaiti men. May they read Sultana’s Trilogy and help in their own small ways to enlighten women’s plight in their countries.

    • jeansasson says:

      This is very interesting — I have found that although so many young Saudi men and Kuwaiti men are actually extremely nice, when it comes to the issue of women, they are products of their background and like most, defend what they know. Although women are much freer in Kuwait, it is still a man’s world — but then again, that is the case in so many countries in the world… I’m glad that you shared this with us. Thanks you, Chris…

    • jeansasson says:

      Yes, most men in the area really do not appreciate questions about the females in the family. And, for them, it is the right way to do things because it is what they are taught. So, I understand why they feel that way, although I’m sorry it can’t be different. Perhaps one day!

      In much of the world, boys are considered treasures while girls are considered burdens. I even know parents in the USA who prefer sons over daughters — so it is hard to get people to change what they are taught. (PEOPLE always defend what they were led to believe when young.)

      Thanks for writing in, Chris…

  14. Ale O D says:

    I used to read yours book in my country, Brazil.
    Your view of Middle Eastern’s life and the customs gave me some informations about the true of arabian woman’s life, althought it was from the top of the society, I mean, the real family and some like Mayada.
    I read, as said, Mayada, three books from Princess. They are great. Your books help a lot to leave bihind our unknowledge about the subject.
    I got marry and I am writen now from a city close where you are from.
    I like your books and the way you write.
    Sorry my english, I am still learning.

    • jeansasson says:

      I think your English is excellent! Thanks for writing to me and letting me know about the impact my books made upon you. I love my publisher in Brazil and am so happy that they get my books out in Portuguese… Where are you living close to Atlanta, Georgia??? Thanks, again for writing! Jean

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