Go to this link: A special: The PRINCESS SULTANA TRILOGY goo.gl/kxb2XA
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BOOKBUB: BOOK ALERT for all book lovers! For three days only! All three books about Princess Sultana will be available for $1.99. The three e-books generally sell for 8.99 and $29.95 for the three print books. In this three books about Princess Sultana, you are a personal witness to her life, from the time she is a young girl, to a rebellious teenager, to a young wife and mother. She is always rebellious, but gains enormous wisdom during her life path.
SCROLL DOWN TO HEAR FROM PRINCESS SULTANA, JEAN SASSON, PLUS a second surprise: A Chapter Excerpt from the first PRINCESS BOOK.
Princess Sultana says: I speak to you today from my home in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
I have been very pleased since the first day I told my story to Jean Sasson and she told it to the world. Although from the time I was a child I dreamed that one day the entire world would hear my voice, I never really believed that it would happen. Yet I knew in my heart that the books about my life are important, because these books reveal what happens to so many females in the Middle East and in every countries, even in the west. YES, life for women in Saudi Arabia is making advancements, and some things are better. However, many things remain the same. I am happy to be given this opportunity to thank everyone who cares about me, my sisters, my daughters, the women of Saudi Arabia, and ALL the women of the world. I was very surprised but happy when told a big effort was going to be made to make certain that any person interested in hearing my story, whether rich or poor, would have the chance to read my story. Nearly 14 Million readers have read my story. I want 20 Million readers to come into my life.
I am also very happy to report that I am working with Jean Sasson, providing her with information about how life has changed for me, and for other women, in Saudi Arabia. So all of you who have read my story, and who care about me, there will be a fourth book about my life which will be published later in 2014. Details will be provided in August 2014 about this latest book.
I hope you are as happy as I am. For now, I want to thank you all, again. Princess Sultana Al-Saudi
Jean Sasson says: Yes, the princess is right. I’m working hard on the latest stories to come out of Saudi Arabia. If you are waiting for an update, you do not have much longer to wait! But NOW, for the first time ever, the three books about Princess Sultana (Princess; Princess Sultana’s Daughters and Princess Sultana’s Circle) are being made available at a wonderfully low price so that everyone, no matter their budget, can enjoy the books about a unique Saudi princess. Or, perhaps you would like to give someone special a book present. This special price will go on for the three days. Have a lovely day, Jean Sasson
As the author, I am very happy about this, because I receive letters on a daily basis from young women who tell me that the books about Princess Sultana have changed their lives. Some of these young women tell me that they felt rather frivolous about life until they read the true stories about Princess Sultana or other women in the kingdom (of Saudi Arabia). Then, they tell me, they become focused on helping others, whether through a change in their career, to become an attorney to fight for women’s rights, or perhaps to become a journalist so that they might investigate the situation for women of the world and have the needed information to right wrongs. Such letters from readers give me the energy to keep on writing!
Princess Sultana is a unique and powerful woman and her life has been so very meaningful. She is one of the bravest women I’ve personally known. She has taken great risks for her story to be told, and believe me when I tell you that she has a lot to lose. She is a woman of great wealth, but that is not what defines her. She is a woman who loves her husband Kareem, her two daughters, Maha and Amani, her one son, Abdullah, and her three grandchildren. But that is not what defines her. Princess Sultana is defined by her determination and endless quest to assist girls and women in need. While education for all is her biggest goal, she also helps when young girls or women have nowhere to turn when their lives are bleak, or they are abused.
I thought you might enjoy an excerpt of PRINCESS, to decide if you would like to read all three of the books about her life. SO, here it is. (Scroll down please.) The princess was young and naïve when her wedding took place, yet her personality will capture your heart. I hope this stirs your interest in a woman who has made the world a better place. If you are interested, perhaps you would like to read all three books. I hope so.
Now, here is the excerpt! Rather than start with Chapter One, as most excerpts do, I have chosen Chapter Twelve, the true story of Princess Sultana’s wedding to Kareem. Feel free to share this excerpt with your friends. HAPPY READING! Jean Sasson
Chapter Twelve of PRINCESS: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia:
On the occasion of my wedding, the preparation room was filled with gaiety. I was surrounded by women of my family; no one person could be heard, for all were speaking and laughing as a singular and grand celebration.
I was in the palace of Nura and Ahmed, which had been completed only a few weeks before my wedding date. Nura was pleased with the outcome and was anxious for word of her gilded mansion to leak throughout the city of Riyadh and cause all to exclaim at the monies spent and the glory accomplished.
I myself hated Nura’s new palace; for romantic reasons, I had wanted to be wed in Jeddah, by the sea. But my father had insisted upon a traditional wedding and I, for once, made no outcry when my demands were not met. I had decided months ago to hold back my passion except for matters of paramount importance and to let little irritations slide easily away. Doubtlessly, I was becoming exhausted with the disabilities of my land.
While Nura beamed happily, our female relatives were heaping compliments upon the beauty of the palace. Sara and I exchanged small smiles, for we had agreed some time ago that the palace was in the worst possible taste.
Nura’s marble palace was enormous. Hundreds of Filipino, Thai, and Yemeni laborers, supervised by unsmiling German contractors, had worked around the clock for months to create the monstrosity. The painters, the woodworkers, the metalworkers, and the architects did not speak with one voice; as a result, the palace conflicted within itself.
The halls were gilded and richly adorned. Sara and I counted 180 paintings hanging in the entry hall alone. Sara recoiled in dismay and said that the selections of art were picked by one with little or no knowledge of the great masters. Garish carpets with embroidered birds and beasts of every type laid across endless floors. The ornate bedrooms made my soul feel heavy; I wondered how children of the same blood could so differ in judgment of style.
While Nura had failed miserably in decorating her home, her gardens were a masterpiece. Nearly a mile of lakes and lawns decorated with beautifully arranged flowers, shrubs, and trees encircled her palace. There were many surprises to delight the eye: sculptures, colorful birdhouses, fountains spouting water, and even a children’s merry-go-round.
I was going to be married to Kareem in the garden at nine o’clock in the evening. Nura knew that I loved yellow roses, and thousands of them, flown in from Europe, were now floating on the lake beside the rose-covered pavilion where Kareem would come to claim me. Nura proudly announced that people were already whispering that this was the wedding of the decade. There are no announcements of engagements and weddings in Saudi Arabia; these matters are considered extremely private. But gossip of monies spent and grand occasions staged travels throughout the land, with each section of the Royal Family striving to outspend the other.
I slapped at my aunties and screamed when the hair on my private parts was so rudely removed. Yelping in pain, I asked where such a savage custom had begun. My oldest auntie slapped my face for such impudence. She looked hard into my eyes and announced that I, Sultana, was a stupid child, and that as a daughter of the Muslim faith I should know that the Prophet recommended, for the sake of cleanliness, that all pubic and armpit hair should be removed every forty days. I, willful as ever, shouted that the practice no longer made sense; after all, modern Muslims are equipped with hot water and soap to wash away our dirt. We no longer had to use the sand of the desert for such purposes!
My auntie, knowing the futility of arguing with me, continued with her duties. I shocked all present when I loudly proclaimed that if the Prophet could speak in this new age of modern amenities, I knew he would end such a silly tradition. Certainly, I announced loudly, this one issue alone proved that we Saudis were like uninspired mules; we trod the same weary track as the mule before us even if it led us to plunge off a cliff. Only when we evolved as spirited stallions, with a strong will of our own, would we progress and leave the era of those primitive behind us.
My relatives exchanged worried glances, for they lived in dread of my rebellious spirit and felt comfortable only with complacent women. My contentment with the one chosen for my husband was considered nothing less than miraculous, but until the final ceremony was complete, none of my relatives would breathe easy.
My dress was made of the brightest red lace I could find. I was a bold bride, and I took great delight in scandalizing my family, who had begged me to wear a soft peach or pale pink instead. As was my way, I refused to relent. I knew I was right. Even my sisters finally admitted that my skin and eyes were flattered by the bright color.
I was in a happy daze when Sara and Nura lowered the dress over my head and shoulders and fastened the delicate buttons around my waist.
A moment of sadness came as Nura draped Kareem’s gift of rubies and diamonds around my neck. I could not escape the image of my mother on the sad day of Sara’s wedding when I had sat as a child on the floor and watched her fasten the unwanted jewels around the neck of Sara. It had been only two short years ago, yet it seemed another life, another Sultana. I shed my gloom and smiled when I realized Mother must be watching me from a great distance with a satisfied glow in her eyes. I could barely breathe in the tight bodice as I leaned down to pick up a bouquet of spring flowers made entirely of precious stones, especially designed for the occasion by Sara.
Looking into my sisters’ smiling faces, I announced, “I am ready.”
It was time for my new beginning, another life.
The beating of the drums drowned out the orchestra imported from Egypt. With Nura on one side and Sara on the other, I made my proud appearance to the expectant guests, waiting impatiently in the garden.
As with all Saudi weddings, the official ceremony had been conducted earlier. With Kareem and his family in one part of the palace and I and my family in another, the religious sheikh had gone from room to room, asking us if we accepted the other. Kareem and I had not been allowed to say our words of promise in the other’s presence.
For four days and nights our family had been celebrating. The celebration would continue another three days and nights after our appearance before our female guests. Tonight’s ceremony was merely a stage created for the lovers to bask in the beauty of observance of youth and hope. Our night of glory.
I had not seen Kareem since the day of our first meeting. Our courtship had continued, nonetheless, by long hours of playful telephone conversation. Now I watched Kareem, escorted by his father, walk slowly toward the pavilion. He was so handsome, and he was going to be my husband.
For some odd reason, I was fascinated with the beating of his heart. I watched the tremor of movement in his throat and counted the beats. My imagination swept me into his chest, to that powerful spot of romance, and I thought: This heart is mine. I, alone, have the power to make it beat with happiness or with misery. It was a sobering moment for a young girl.
Finally, he stood tall and straight before me; I was suddenly overcome with emotion. I felt my lips tremble and my eyes water as I fought against the urge to weep. When Kareem removed my face cover, we both burst out laughing; our emotion and joy were so intense. The audience of women began to applaud loudly and stamp their feet. In Saudi Arabia, it is rare that a bride and groom find such obvious pleasure in each other.
I could not take my gaze off Kareem’s face. I was overcome with the emotion of disbelief. I had been a child of darkness, and my new husband, instead of being the expected object of dread, was sweet freedom from the misery of my youth.
Anxious to be alone, we lingered only a short while after the ceremony to receive the congratulations of our female friends and relatives. Kareem threw gold coins from small velvet bags toward various groups of merry guests while I slipped away to change into traveling clothes.
I wanted to speak with my father, but he had hurried from the garden the moment his role was complete. His mind was relieved; his youngest and most troublesome daughter of his first wife was now safely wed and no longer his responsibility. I ached with the desire for a bond between us that had been in my dreams but never broke into reality.
For our honeymoon, Kareem had promised me we would go anywhere and do anything I desired. My every wish was his command. With the glee of a child, I listed all the places I wanted to see and all the things I wanted to do. Our first stop would be Cairo, and from there on to Paris, New York, Los Angeles, and then Hawaii. We would have eight precious weeks of freedom from the scars of Arabia.
Dressed in an emerald green silk suit, I hugged my sisters good-bye. Sara was weeping so violently that she could not bear to turn me loose. She kept whispering, “Be brave,” and my heart broke for my sister; I understood too well that the remembrances of her wedding night would never disappear. With the passing of years, perhaps the thoughts of her honeymoon would merely fade away.
I covered my designer suit with the black abaaya and veil and snuggled in the backseat of the Mercedes with my new husband. My fourteen bags had already been taken to the airport.
For the sake of privacy, Kareem had purchased all the first-class seats on each flight of our trip. The Lebanese air hostesses wore bright smiles as they watched our silly behavior. We were as adolescents, for we had never learned the art of courtship.
Finally, we arrived in Cairo, rushed through customs, and were driven to an opulent villa on the banks of the ancient Nile. The villa, which belonged to Kareem’s father, had been built in the eighteenth century by a rich Turkish merchant. Restored by Kareem’s father to its original splendor, the villa was laid out into thirty rooms on irregular levels with arched windows leading to the lush garden. The walls were covered with delicate dusty-blue tiles, with intricate carved creatures in the background. I felt seduced by the house itself. I told a proud Kareem that it was a wonderful setting in which to begin a marriage.
The impeccably decorated villa brought the garish decorating defects of Nura’s palace to mind. I suddenly realized that money did not automatically bestow artistic discrimination to those of my country, even in my own family.
I was only sixteen, still a child, but my husband understood the implications of my youth, and he eased my introduction into the world of adults with a unique solution. He, as I, disagreed with the manner of marriage in our land. He said that strangers should not be intimate, even if those strangers were husband and wife. In his opinion, men and women should have time to understand the secrets of the other that make desire grow. Kareem told me that he had decided weeks before that he and I would have our courtship after our marriage. And, when I was ready for him, I would be the one to say, “I want to know all of you.”
We spent our days and nights playing. We dined, rode horses around the pyramids, browsed through the crowded bazaars of Cairo, read books, and talked. The servants were puzzled at such a joyous couple who chastely kissed good night and went into separate bedrooms.
On the fourth night, I pulled my husband into my bed. Afterward, with my drowsy head on Kareem’s shoulder, I whispered that I would be one of the scandalous young wives of Riyadh who cheerfully admitted I enjoyed sex with my husband.
I had never been to America and was anxious to form an opinion of the people who spread their culture worldwide, yet seemed to know so little of the world themselves. New Yorkers, with their pushy, rude manners, frightened me. I was happy when we arrived in Los Angeles, with its pleasant, laid-back ambience, which feels more familiar to Arabs.
In California, after weeks of meeting transported Americans from practically every state in the Union, I announced to Kareem that I liked these strange, loud people, the Americans. When he asked me why, I had difficulty in voicing what I felt in my heart.
I finally said, “I believe this marvelous mixture of cultures has brought civilization closer to reality than in any other culture in history.” I was certain Kareem did not understand what I meant and I tried to explain. “So few countries manage complete freedom for all their citizens without chaos; this has been accomplished in this huge land. It appears impossible for large numbers of people to stay on a course of freedom for all when so many options are available. Just imagine what would happen in the Arab world; a country the size of America would have a war a minute, with each man certain he had the only correct answer for the good of all! In our lands, men look no farther than their own noses for a solution. Here, it is different.”
Kareem looked at me in amazement. Not used to a woman interested in the greater scheme of things, he questioned me into the night to learn my thoughts on various matters. It was obvious that my husband was not accustomed to a woman with opinions of her own. He seemed in utter shock that I thought of political issues and the state of the world. Finally, he kissed me on the neck and said that I would continue my education once we returned to Riyadh.
Irritated at his tone of permission, I told him I was not aware that my education was up for discussion.
The planned eight-week honeymoon turned into ten weeks. Only after a call from Kareem’s father did we reluctantly drag ourselves back to our families. Like most Saudi newlyweds, we were going to live in the palace of Kareem’s parents until our own palace was built.
I knew that Kareem’s mother looked upon me with distaste; now it was in her power to make my life miserable. I thought of my foolish disregard for tradition, which had brought about her scorn, and cursed myself for thinking so little of my future by alienating my mother-in-law at our first meeting. I knew that Kareem, like all Arab men, would never side with his wife against his mother. It would be up to me to arrive with an olive branch extended in peace.
I had an unpleasant shock as the plane prepared to land in Riyadh. Kareem reminded me of my veil. I scrambled to cover myself in black and felt a fierce longing for the sweet scent of freedom that had begun to fade the moment we entered Saudi airspace.
With the tightness of dread in my throat, we entered his mother’s palace to begin our married life. At that moment, I was unaware that Kareem’s mother so disliked me that she had already begun plotting ways to bring our happy union to an end.
Go to this link for all 3 books of the PRINCESS SULTANA TRILOGY goo.gl/kxb2XA