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4.4 out of 5 stars79
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 12 May 1999
As the mother of Heidi Al-Omary, my six-year-old daughter who was kidnapped and is now being held hostage in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I read the book with fascination as well as trepidation. It is the trepidation that every mother feels when her child is being abused by an unjust society, and she can do nothing about it. It is the trepidation that my little girl may some day grow up to be sold into a servile form of marriage, or suffer the pain and degradation of female genital mutilation. It is the trepidation of a mother who knows that her child lives in an unsafe environment, where the guns of war are never silent for long. I thank Jean for including my little girl's story in her book, and I pray every day that someone in Saudi Arabia will come forward and report my child's whereabouts to the American authorities so that she can be spared the fate of the typical Saudi woman. The topic of sexual slavery is finally being addressed in this book. It is well known among missing children's groups that certain countries violate pornography laws, as well as human rights treaties which they have signed. Saudi Arabian princes are the chief violators of treaties they have signed, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Maybe the book will create some outrage among its readers, for the behavior that Saudi males have long engaged in is outrageous and should not be tolerated in a civilized world. Jean's book has touched on almost every issue that concerns the parents of kidnapped children. Bravo to her!
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on 16 July 2000
it is one of the good books i have managed to read this year. I really enjoyed it and could't put it down. I have decided to do an essay on this book which will be on the presentation of women in the society and comparing it to either wild Swans" or "do they hear you when you cry" for an A-Level english coursework . This book has really influenced me and reached out to my heart. i recommend everyone to read it. if u don't u'll be missing out.
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on 21 June 1999
I come to this review from a different direction. As a victim advocate for over 10 years, most recently in the area of the missing children issue, I am aware of some of the tragedies that are taking place in Saudi Arabia. I represent several "Saudimom's", a term coined by mothers who have had their children abducted by non-custodial Saudi fathers. Daily, I witness their frustrated yet valiant efforts to gain access to their children. Their strength and determination is awesome to observe. "Desert Royal" is a call to action to all women to join "Sultana's Circle", to join the "Saudimom's", and to bring the plight of Saudi women and children to the world's attention. This book lays bare the priorities of the Saudi men and their government. It uncovers in detail the relative value of women, in one case even less than song birds rescued from their captivity by Sultana's daughter. It exposes the opulent life style of the Royals. It reveals their supposed devotion to their faith yet recounts the daily betrayal of the Koran and their efforts to redeem their souls through monetary recompense. The book was technically well written, full of detailed, sometimes graphic descriptions and well worth the read. Good Job Jean Sasson!!
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on 16 July 1999
Absolutely Fantastic! I spent some years living and working in Saudi Arabia and this book brought forth emotions and memories that touched me very deeply. The author shows an incredible insight into Life in this part of the world.
I could not put the book down until I had read it from COVER to COVER.
Well Done Jean - keep up the fight against injustice!
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on 20 September 1999
This book reveals the dark side of a culture that doesn't treat its women with the respect that they deserve. It's time for our sisters to stand up and claim their rights!!!
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on 18 February 2005
Having lived and worked in Saudi Arabia as a married british woman I have always found this authors books to dig beneath the surface of the Saudi Arabia that most people see on the television or read of in the news.A womans life in this country,even as a westerner is very ,very different to that lived in Europe or America.Some people may think that the author exaggerates for the sake of the story,this is not so.Any woman who has ever lived there for any lengh of time will know of many incidents of abuse,humiliation ,degradation of women by some saudi men.Books like this must be read and belived if anything is to change in this very closed country.
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on 10 January 2013
What I found with this book and the other two in the series was that it's a very different culture and these habits, views and opinions have been developed and bred for decades, in regards to the way women are treated. It infuriated me because of the inequality but it's not easy to change things that life and culture are based upon and around for decades but there are changes and you see it at the end with Sultana's son. Her husband (and his brother) is different to most men there. I've come across men in the last couple of years who are either American or British and think they are above women.

I admire Sultana for speaking out and wanting change, I feel she has done this with a lot of grace and style. She has told the story of her life and events that have happened. She has never attacked someone in a nasty manner, she has questioned and made statements about their behaviour. This carries through into Desert Royal and Jean Sasson has done a wonderful job capturing Sultana's life.

Having read the first two books (Princess and Daughters Of Arabia: Princess 2) I was still shellshocked by some of the behaviour of the men. It doesn't make easy reading but there is hope and it's a slow moving revolution but a revolution in process. Sultana's circle (near the end of the book) is a sign of change, especially as some of the husbands agree with the women on the treatment of a young girl brought to a desert camp.
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on 7 October 2009
Finished the book in 2 days......so that's saying something. However, do not read this book until you have read the first book entitled "Princess". I finished the trilogy (as there are three books to this biography) within 9 days.
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on 12 December 1999
Desert Royal is my third book by Ms. Sasson in as many years. I found her earlier two books Princess and Princess Sultana's Daughters well written and informative and to be quite honest a bit on the entertaining side.
I started reading this book expecting to find some new stuff that wasn't documented in the author's previous books. I can't really say that I was disappointed but there was nothing exciting here.
We were treated to the daily life of an alcoholic Saudi royal princess whose idea of shopping is loading trunks with designer clothes paid for by a Platinum American Express card presented to her as a gift by her husband who felt that his wife needed something to cheer her up on a trip to New York. A pampered, well-kept woman who has experienced nothing in her life but wealth beyond any imagination. A woman whose every whim is catered for by the huge army of servants who are at her beck and call 24 hours a day. That is exactly why I feel that this Sultana cannot be depicted as the standard-bearer for the rights of the abused and the underprivileged. Sultana gives us a biased opinion about everything in the kingdom of Saudi. One also must keep in mind that this woman's world consists only of royal gossip she hears while in the enclosure of her royal palaces in the company of royal cousins. This is a woman bored with everything she's surrounded with. She's like a well-fed bird held captive in a gilded cage. She wants some excitement in her life. What could be more fun and exciting than taking the cause of helping those in need? Sultana is not qualified to lend a velvet-gloved helping hand. She may have the material qualifications but certainly she lacks in every other aspect of life.
After reading this book I kept wondering if the main character really exists and she's not only the imagination of the author.
This book makes a light read suitable for a long flight. It would give you a biased royal insight. If you know nothing about Saudi Arabia, don't expect to learn much from this book.
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on 4 January 2015
This third book is just as a compelling read as the first two books. The details of the life of this royal princess gives me a good insight into the lives of females in KSA. I, through my career, have visited Saudi Arabia many, many times since 2004 and now after reading these books I have a much better understanding of Arab females who are born in the Kingdom and how their upbringing impacts differently from Europeans and how it affects their views and actions.
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