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Saturday, August 20, 2016

REVIEWS REVISITED - Dawn of Saudi by Homa Pourasgari


Book Review

Dawn of Saudi
by Homa Pourasgari

Author's Note
Homa Pourasgari resides in Los Angeles, California. She received a degree in Business from Loyola Marymount University, after which she left to live in Paris for one year and attended the University of Sorbonne, focusing on literature. Multilingual, she has been traveling since the age of 5 and has experienced many different cultures. Homa has worked in various industries such as marketing, retail, banking, accounting and fitness but has always returned to her true love – writing. Author's Note
It took me three years to write The Dawn of Saudi. When I started this project, everyone had their doubts but I pushed forward with a passion in order to bring attention to the way women and foreigners are treated in the Saudi Arabia. There are many Saudi activists in the kingdom who are afraid to speak up under their real name. They write blogs as a way to release their frustration with their government and the religious hardliners. The modernists and the young generation want change but are often threatened and jailed.


Book Description
This poignant mystery is about three people whose lives intertwine in a tale that depicts the oppression of women and the human rights abuse under the pretext of religion. Dawn Parnell made the mistake of marrying a Saudi; Sahar Al-Hijazi is forced to marry a man she doesn't love; Jason Crawford has business ties to the Al-Hijazi family. As the lives of these three people cross paths, the story takes the reader on a dangerous journey from Saudi Arabia where women are considered the property of a man, to United States where women are independent.

Our Book Review
'Wow' is the best word I can use to describe this book.  The story itself is a fantastic read with a major, unexpected, twist that blew me away, the author also includes powerful differences between east and west cultures in the book.

The story follows the Grand Daughter of a powerful businessman, Sahar, who with her friend Dawn, schooled in Vancover and Barcelona, adopting some of the ways of the western culture while they were there.  Unfortunately for them in Saudi Arabia these ways are totally unacceptable and they must adhere to the rules.  For Sahar this means a forced marriage to a man 46 years her senior, even though it breaks her parents hearts they must follow their culture but more importantly follow the Grand Fathers demands as he is relying on this marriage to aide his failing business by both families merging their businesses after the marriage.  Her parents also knew that if Sahar did not marry a Saudi man without the kings permission, which is extremely unlikely, she would be condemned to death by her family and courts, even if she moved outside the country she would be hunted down. 

Sahar could not bear the thought of being this man's property so he could do as he wanted with her, whether that included abuse, rape or torture.  The culture means that Sahar would has basically no rights as a woman for help, she couldn't bear it any longer and decided to kill herself on her wedding night. 

Her friend Dawn was lucky enough to fall in love with a Saudi man who treated her like a princess and promised her that they would not live in this extreme culture and would live in the westerners compound where life was more relaxed.  After changing her religion to Muslim they married but he had lied to her, he had two other wives and she was forced to live in the normal ways of Saudi culture.  Soon after his business started to go downhill and starting taking it out on Dawn, she applied many times for divorce but as a woman she had no right to complain. One night he started to hit out yet again and she could not take anymore and killed him.

Dawn fled with help and became a servant for the Crawford household who owned a multi billion dollar business, this was run by the romeo son, Jason, due to his fathers ill health.  Jason's love for Dawn starts to grow immediately and this begins a complicated and unapproved romance between the employers son and a servant.  Will their love survive??

As westerners we take our freedom for granted, going out when we want and who we want to go out with, having rights as women, being treated fairly.  Reading the shocking and sometimes heart wrenching insight into another culture just made me realise how lucky we are.  The story itself was beautifully written and I was totally engrossed in the book, especially the romance and mystery between Jason and Dawn, literally urging them on to be together.  Once I started to read the book I found it very hard to put down and cannot praise it enough.  Highly recommended.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” -Martin Luther King Jr.


Our Rating
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Sharon Martin
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