Harem Girl: A Harem Girl's Journal by Mariyah Saalih
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Fictional Diary of a Slave
DId not see too many reviews for this, in fact on Amazon I say none at alll. THe book has been out for several years. I would call this work entertaining. Set in the time period around the turn of the twentieth century, and taking place in Tunisia and Arabia this is partly erotica along the lines of Anne Roqulelures Sleeping Beauty series, Story of O and 50 Shades of Grey. Seriously I thought there would be more S & M in this but there was plenty of sex. Edward Said would be turning over in his grave. THe West often times imagines the Arabic world to be what their fantasies conjure up. I am not sure how realistic this book is but look at it as serious entertainment.
Young Maariya started off in life as the daughter of a french woman and an Arabic father. He worked in the foreign service for France. At around 14 Maariyah starts to like boys. Not much later she marries Jamal, an Arabian horse trader. After years of a barren marriage and not much love she produced no children. Jamal takes a second wife, who does bear him children. The relationship between Maariyah and Jamal starts to lose momentum. Along comes Ahmad, a slave trader among other things. Maariyah wants to check out life in the Harem but that is forbidden unless she is a slave or a concubine. Secretly she asks Ahmad to get her into one, disguised as a French Tutor. Ahmad and the Jamal agree. But she is tricked by Ahmad. She becomes a slave and word is out that she dies in a desert storm. Ahmad shaves her completely and annoints her with a foul smelling ointment that makes her real smooth. He also rapes her that night and whips her. She is then loaned to slave master Ali for a certain period.
Ali trains her or at least has his Eunuchs and senior slaves train her. Eunuch love to use implements of torture as did Ali's father. But Ali is different and more humane. HE refuses to use whips and beating to keep his slave girls in line. Maariyah enjoys life in the Harem. After things get boring she suggests to Ali that he bring things in from the outside to nurture the minds of the slave girls. He also is convinced to let them out of the Harem. Soon Ali respects herand starts to solicit her opinion. Along the way he does share her with other masters, and he ven loans her out to a British Arms dealer. Eventually though after his brother's death, Ali frees his slaves and marries Maariyah. I will let you read the tale to find out more details.
Needless to say I found the book entertaining, and not bad for erotica. It did not go over the top in terms of erotic description like the "Sleeping Beauty Series" It is apparent that some research went into this. Yet having been to the Middle East myself and having married a Middle Eastern girl I know that no Middle Eastern Man would marry a woman who used to be a sex slave and has slept with more than one man. THey like to marry virgins. MAybve the book was a little bit romanticized. Maybe we project our views on the Middle East when really those views apply to the parts of our society that we would not like to see.
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