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Summary

Princess describes the life of Princess Sultana Al Sa'ud, a princess in the royal house of Saudi Arabia. Hidden behind her black veil, she is a prisoner, jailed by her father, her husband, and her country.

Sultana tells of appalling oppressions, everyday occurrences that in any other culture would be seen as shocking human rights violations: 13-year-old girls forced to marry men five times their age; young women killed by drowning, stoning, or isolation in the "women's room". Princess is a testimony to a woman of indomitable spirit and courage, and you will never forget her or her Muslim sisters.

A New York Times best-seller, Princess was named one of the 500 Great Books by Women Since 1300. It was also an Alternate Selection of the Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club and a Reader's Digest Selection.

©2004 The Sasson Corporation (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Princess

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Still relevant today, but take some of it with a pinch of salt

Caution: As a British woman living in Saudi Arabia over the past 8 years, I’ve been a fly on the wall to a lot of changes as this desert land leapfrogs into the modern day and beyond. As a Muslim (by choice, not by birth), I would just say to anyone listening that you must separate religion from culture; Islam elevates women to a high position of honour and respect (in fact, it is said that jannah/heaven is at your mother’s feet). Just don’t go taking this as “the voice” on women and Islam, as I find that the lines between culture, tradition and religion for many born-Muslims are blurred.

Performance: There were some errors in the narrator’s pronunciation of both English and Arabic words, which was a bit grating. There is one noticeable part that has been “stitched together”, i.e. there may have been a glitch whilst recording first time round, so another recording had to be made and stitched in.

Story: As you can probably guess, it’s quite revealing. It’s basically an exposé on Saudi royal family life in the last half of the last century. There are facets of life, behaviour and attitudes which are true of “normal” Saudis too - even today. The story is harrowing in places and you’ll no doubt have plenty of sympathy for Sultana, someone who is likely to be very far from you in every sense.

18 people found this helpful

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Behind the veil

This was a good look at the second class status of Saudi woman.

This lady was a princess and described the legacy of shame on the women of Saudi Arabia, as well as to foreign women who come to work in the country.

At the start she came across as a feisty young woman and I was hoping for good things to come. However nothing will change in this male dominated misogynistic society. I do wonder if there wold ever be a chance of change as the oppression of women is so deep rooted.

Sultana speaks of life from the comfort of her palace, however my thoughts are with the normal Saudi women who do not have her lavish lifestyle to cushion the injustices.

It was a big mistake having an older American female narrator, the book was crying out for a soft Middle Eastern voice to put some feeling in the book.

Many moons ago I had the opportunity to work in Saudi Arabia. The salary package was fabulous and I was very tempted. However during the interviews and selection process alarm bells started to ring, which was enough for me to withdrew my application, and in hindsight it was a very wise decision.

13 people found this helpful

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i dont belueve the story

princess's family knew about her writing. there was a flimsy explanation in book 1 and I got the following books expecting to hear how her family reacted to her writing. I think these books are partly from.various sources and partly fiction. They didnt even go to the trouble of finding someone from that part of the world to narrate. I dont think the American voice over added any authenticity to the books. Not to criticise her, I blame the casting for that. The whole thing is more like historical fiction and just does not ring true. I'm returning these books, disappointed but the writer had a clever idea and capitalised on it.

5 people found this helpful

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Engrossing

An engrossing book about the day to day lives of women who have all the money in the world but none of the human rights, though the eyes of a woman who witnessed and resisted the cruelty of Saudi society. A fascinating biography.

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eye opening

and soul destroying, in a way, her spirit and will leave me with an awe I cant describe, this book is well worth a listen, but prepare your mind.

1 person found this helpful

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A MUST Read/Hear

A terrifying portrait of life within Saudi Arabia for the most privileged Royals.One cannot imagine the horrors of life for lesser inhabitants .

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Sounds as if it’s been narrated by satnav. Totally ruined a truly wonderful book.

Some how manages to make this wonderful and emotive book into torture to listen to.
I’ve read all of the books myself and found them fascinating, full of emotion, so I bought this on audio for my teen daughter who is very interested in women’s rights. Imagine my surprise when she switched it off after 5 minutes and refused to listen to it further. So I tried it myself and suddenly understood why.
My 8yo reads better. Honestly sounds like my satnav?

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A troubling read

This book would certainly allow one to empathise with Saudi women & their horrific mistreatment at the hands of men, however their greed & complete lack of touch with reality makes it somewhat difficult to like these women.
The real victims seem to be the mistreated & innocent servants.

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Insight of another world.

Sounded so factual, interesting, frightening all at the same time. Whilst held in the grip of the story I could not help feeling so grateful that I was born in the west.

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A Horror Story.

I think this is the biggest horror that I have ever heard or read,the truly violent uncaring men of this society made me want to scream out,in v
fact as each women came to violence and betrayal I was thinking,why don't they just grab a knife..they will die anyway,or their lives will not be worth living....but...praise be to Jean Sasson for opening my eyes.if even a little bit of this is true..then all our eyes should be opened..

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  • RayChu
  • 13-03-13

Wow...

Such a powerful book. To hear a full story of this princess' experience just brings you in and really makes you feel for her. I hope something can be done for women in Saudi Arabia... :(

7 people found this helpful

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  • Jay Friedman
  • 25-07-14

Good story but...

Would you consider the audio edition of Princess to be better than the print version?

Probably not. The narrator was monotone and didn't bring much life to the audio portion of the book.

What did you like best about this story?

It was real and authentic.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Catherine Byers?

Not on purpose!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, not at all. The stories were good but 30 mins at a time was enough.

Any additional comments?

Soltana, the princess in this story was one of thousands of princesses in Saudi. In the end, she didn't accomplish anything or do anything historic or even memorable such that reading about her specifically is exciting. She just happens to be one of 21,000 members of the royal Saudi family and talks about the (undoubtedly scary) every day life of a woman in Saudi.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Jose
  • 18-09-20

I was so ignorant

I feel ashamed to have been so involved in my own life to not be aware of the injustices of women in Saudi Arabia and around the world for so may years and even to this day. I cried multiple times listening to the book and have been awakened to speak up and raise awareness regarding the treatment of women. One of the best books! So grateful.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ronnie
  • 14-08-20

Well done.

I really enjoyed this book. A friend from the middle east recommended it, and I'm glad that I picked it up.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Chloe Page
  • 17-07-20

Heartbreaking Reality

True story of how woman and children are treated in Saudi Arabia. Sad, disturbing and heartbreaking that this is still happening all over the world.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Cheryl Reyes
  • 26-04-20

A great understanding of a princess life in Saudi Arabia

This is a well written book that takes you from a beginning in a country where not even a princess is safe from male oppression. Excited to start book number two, Princess Sultanas Daughters following by princess sultanas circle. Great trilogy!

2 people found this helpful

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  • MM
  • 11-11-18

Thankful for my independence

This book makes you appreciate our ability to choose our own educational and career pathpath in the United States. I’m glad that opportunities are opening elsewhere in the world is well. #arabwomen #behindtheveil #abuse #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

2 people found this helpful

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  • greencoates
  • 13-12-16

Wonderful Book!

What a thought provoking book. I couldn't stop thinking about it for weeks after I finished. Definitely reading the next book in the series!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Katie
  • 18-06-16

Read this book!

I was enthralled by this book and sorry to finish it. The title and cover picture almost put me off, making me think of a romance novel, but this is not that! It's a fascinating, horrifying, detailed narrative of the life of a Saudi woman (yes, a princess, but they have many). She is economically privileged, but the story is about life as a girl and woman in Saudi Arabia, and her cruel status as a captive and an object. As I read of the cruel punishments experienced by this woman and the women of her country, it became clear that ISIS hasn't come up with anything new. These horrors really do originate in Saudi Arabia. This story and its heroines are heart breaking essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the lives of women living under Wahhabism.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ellen Bubier
  • 19-09-20

Riveting story!

This book kept me spellbound to the very end. The ability of the reader to bring the voice of the subject to life was incredible.

1 person found this helpful