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Shifting Sands: Life in Arabia with a Saudi Princess (True Stories of Life with a Saudi Arabian Princess Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

T.L. McCown
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

In her revealing memoir, "Shifting Sands," T.L. McCown shares insights into the Saudi Arabian culture which were previously hidden to the Western world. Having had a unique opportunity to experience the "inner circle" (as coined by best-selling author Jean Sasson) of Saudi Arabia’s royal family first-hand, T.L. chronicles her experiences and offers unique insight gained from sharing 10 years of life with her Princess in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. When the Islamic-controlled East meets West in this illuminating adventure through the mysterious world of Arabia, a startling and unexpected result is produced. Two women from completely different worlds wind up developing a deep friendship built through sharing their fears, dreams, beliefs, and challenges of life in the desert. As the reader encounters the humorous results of Westerners living in a foreign land, the extravagance of royal weddings, remote Bedouin villages, radical Islamic clerics, and the chilling fear of experiencing the effects of terrorism, the differences and similarities between T.L. and the princess are unveiled. "Shifting Sands" reveals the reality of life for a Christian, Western expatriate in the Middle East who discovers a special relationship with a Muslim princess. As terrorism and pressure from the Islamic religious police invades both of their lives, they fight to keep their dream of bringing liberation to the women of Saudi Arabia, and their friendship alive.
T.L. lived and worked in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. For this decade, she worked with her Princess daily while befriending hundreds of other wonderful Saudi women. T.L., under the request of her Princess, is responsible for starting the first educational learning center for women in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom. Her story begins with "Shifting Sands" and is continued through her second title, "Creating Shamsiyah: Empowering the Saudi Feminist Movement."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 473 KB
  • Print Length: 239 pages
  • Publisher: Leathers Publishing; 1 edition (9 Jan. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006VOMDN6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #115,782 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A very poor read 30 Mar. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was a major disappointment. I started it actually believing it was a take on KSA different from the usual expatriate approaches. However, it was even worse.
The author claims to be an English language graduate - having studied for seven years (as she feels necessary to point out on numerous occasions) yet the grammar, syntax and spelling is extremely poor. Rarely have I read a text with such a weak command of the English language.
The book rattles on with no clear direction or purpose other than the regular instalments of how something broke her great friendship with the princess - only for us, the reader, to get to the last page and not be told what happened! If this was an attempt to lure the reader to buy a second part that is in the pipeline, then it failed.
I do not recommend this book at all. I spent several years in the Arabian Gulf and found other for more intriguing/informative/interesting narratives on expatriate experiences.
Save your money, it may be cheap but such rubbish should not be paid for at all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Saudiphiles will love this (insha' Allah)! 20 Feb. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've read quite a few books on Saudis and life in Saudi Arabia, and I've really enjoyed this. It tells of the close friendship and trust that grew between an American and a Saudi princess, as well as describing life for the expat community in Saudi Arabia. Expect the usual descriptions of bling that the Saudi royals surround themselves with, (I badly need to check out the gold souks there), as well as the ever so slightly sycophantic descriptions of Islam that Western authors feel the need to write to prove they aren't islamophobic.

To be fair, the author goes to great pains to portray a period of time and a place in the world where religious misunderstandings and lack of trust could sour friendships but doesn't, but only thanks to great pains being taken by both parties to bridge the cultural divide, but she is fully aware that this is not the typical opinion and stance of your average Saudi.

I was left saddened by the prewarning that her friendship with Madawi falters at a later date, but look forward to reading the second instalment. The descriptions of expat community life were revealing and new to me.

If your interests lie in Saudi culture I would highly recommend this book to you. One drawback; the kindle version is full of typos. But I can live with that!
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I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would, but with some misgivings. There's a fascinating insight into Saudi culture, but the author is a little uncritical and seems unnecessarily star-struck with her princess (yet there are so many of them in Saudi Arabia!) - perhaps because Americans have no royal family of their own.

Despite mentioning her master's degree several times, the author has made some terrible spelling mistakes - her dress has a 'boddess' (bodice); a point is 'mute' (moot); there are 'moltove (molotov) cocktails'; she says 'we empathasized' and 'per say' (per se) - and there are some sentences which just aren't sentences. Not all of the Arabic is correctly transliterated, either.

All that said, it's an interesting story and I was surprised to find that I couldn't put it down. My great frustration was that the book ends very abruptly (and infuriatingly) with the most important question unanswered - what happens between the author and the princess?

BANG - it suddenly ends, and the reader is told that all will be explained in the sequel, entitled (less enticingly) 'Creating Shamsiyah: Empowering the Saudi Feminist Movement'. This isn't available at, and is over $43 for a hard copy (no Kindle version) on So I guess I'll never find out what happened next!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dissappointing ending 18 Jan. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book but must say that I was dissappointed with the way that it ended. Throughout the book the author said that her relationship with the princess was to later turn sour and I waited to hear what went wrong only to find that at the end she said that that was all in her next book which was somewhat of a dissapointment when I had invested the time in reading the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable 12 Aug. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Like many others Ive read several books on the kingdom. This one was one of the better ones. Amusing and yet also sad in places. Well written albeit by an American, but a very interesting American lady who obviously enjoyed her life in the desert immensely. I would love to have known what eventually happened between her and the princess but alas it was not forthcoming. i look forward to a sequel of her future. More Please Mrs McCown.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 29 Aug. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Compared to Jean Sassons books this a very poor comparison , I think the author is trying to imitate Sassons Princess stories but this work is far from compelling , lacks depth and at times unnecessary long explanations that aren't totally accurate. Simple to read though as its not very thought provoking.
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