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Princess

A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia
Narrated by: Catherine Byers
Series: Princess (Sasson), Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 39 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (43 ratings)

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Publisher's 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

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The story of a cultural hierarchy that retards and shackles half of its own people

Very interesting insight into the war against women in Saudi Arabia. The book illustrates a pervading culture of disrespect. An open disrespect of men for women, an undercurrent of disrespect of women for men, a universal disrespect for foreign workers and non-muslims. While the story was both fascinating and depressing, I had to overcome the irritation of the ‘twangy’ narration style.

2 people found this helpful

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fascinating but bad narration

the story is fascinating and well written however the narration is monotone and lacking emotion.

1 person found this helpful

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Great book, narration awful

The narration of this book was bland, monotonous and almost autonomous. Just awful! A shame, given how impactful the story is. As the sequels are narrated by the same woman I will not be purchasing those, regardless that I am very curious to continue the story.

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Sunrise

What a incredible story and what a strong and brave woman. Beautifully narrated, very engaging.

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Great story.

I loved this book. I had no idea of the hardships Saudi women endure. Very sad.

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Harsh Reality of a Womens life in Saudi

Interesting read. Left hanging at the end somewhat. Story tempered somewhat by the fact that princess Sultana has access to incredible wealth however brings meaning to the concept that money cant buy happiness

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Powerful!!

This is one of the most powerful, fascinating and beautifully written books I have ever read/listened to in my life. This book gives you a personal and in depth insight into the world of a Saudi Arabian princess, & also a look into a world that is completely dominated by men and religion. The story is touching and complex a very interesting read from start to finish.

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Heart wrenching true story

I read this book 10 years ago and it was such an eye opener to the ways of another country. This book was so good I wanted to listen to it as well. As an Australian this book and many others have opened my eyes to how females are treated in countries where Muslim is their dominate religion. It's a must read for everyone!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • RayChu
  • 13-03-2013

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... :(

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jay Friedman
  • 25-07-2014

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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • greencoates
  • 13-12-2016

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!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jeremiah
  • 22-04-2015

Below expectations

Maybe I missed it, but I did not get to hear what became of her. I have some issue of veracity about some of the things said because I have some knowledge of Saudi Arabia and Islamic traditions. Example, the author said that women cannot enter the mosque to pray, that is not correct. Every mosque has a partition in the back for women to pray at the same time as men. At home, women will pray behind the men.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ellen Bubier
  • 19-09-2020

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.

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  • Jose
  • 18-09-2020

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.

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  • Ronnie
  • 14-08-2020

Well done.

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

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  • Chloe Page
  • 17-07-2020

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.

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  • Cheryl Reyes
  • 26-04-2020

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!

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  • Abigail
  • 22-03-2020

Excellent book!!

I lived in the Middle East for ten years and was not aware of this atrocities. I kept looking for every opportunity to keep listening. I did not think the narrator had a robotic voice, as a matter of fact I enjoyed her calm and clear voice. I already bought book 2.

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  • Sigrin
  • 19-08-2019

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. This 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 fir me,,which was enough for me to withdrew my application, and in hindsight it was a very wise decision.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ola
  • 16-08-2019

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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Arnold Seivwright
  • 30-09-2019

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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  • Joanne
  • 14-09-2019

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sherrie
  • 04-10-2020

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.

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  • H.A.B.
  • 01-06-2020

It is an interesting story ...

When you want to learn about the culture and the role of women in the Saudi Arabia world this well put together Story give an interesting aspect and view In my view it is lacking something

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  • Nayema Jilani
  • 10-05-2020

Brilliant Listen

This was a good listen! I really recommend it, however when listening to this you need to remember that this was Saudi in the 70s and 80s.

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  • c jones
  • 23-04-2020

Riveting read

Loved listening to this book. I realise how much I take my freedom for granted. I now have some insight into Saudi life.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-04-2020

Mesmerized.

loved the story. Though the narrator was monotone so I struggled to finish the book.

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  • Annie Flo
  • 09-02-2020

What a moving and informative listen.

I thought I’d try something completely different with my new Audible try out and I definitely picked a winner, firstly the voice of the reader is beautiful and believable, she completely drew me in. The details of the Princess’s life is an amazing mixture of sadness, frustration and incredible bravery ‘for a woman’. It also made me giggle out loud at times. I learnt a lot from listening to this and view many things in a different light. A must have.