By: J.C. Carleson
With my ever growing list of books that I want to read, I feel like every review I write starts with the statement that it is a book I have wanted to read for some time, so even though this is true, I will skip saying it about this book. I don’t even remember when I first heard about this book, but I couldn’t wait for it to come in our order so that I could get my hands on it. However, another issue I run into with my job is that I put all sorts of books on a fictional “I can’t wait to read this book” list and then I promptly forget about all the books I want to read. So as I was browsing the shelves during a spine poetry lesson before Winter Break, I once again stumbled upon this book and quickly grabbed it to take home. And I am glad I did!
This is a fantastic book about a topic we hear about every day on the news, but from a very different perspective. The main character is the king’s daughter. The author never states exactly where the family is from, and is sure to explain this literary choice in an author’s note at the end of the story. However, the war, death, and damage to the country is universal to many countries around the world today. Being that the story is told from the perspective of the king’s daughter in a culture where women are not in the know, the reader learns about the events and tragedies that the country has suffered as Laila learns about them. She eventually learns that her father was not exactly the man that she thought he was and he caused many of his people to suffer during his reign. She moves to America with her family and learns during her time here that she never really truly belongs. But many things need to change before she and her family can even consider going back and reclaiming what is rightfully theirs. Through all this change, she also finds out her mother is not exactly the woman she thought she was. She is tougher, but also more fragile. She learns much about herself through the story. It was eye opening to me as a reader, and I know I will be watching the news with a different viewpoint from now on because of it.
Although the author claims that the story is fiction, it is definitely based in fact. Insert the name of any country in the Middle East right now, and this story would fit their history. And although I know that there is death and senseless killing, all these people have families and that is the perspective that I will now have. What a wonderful read!