Saturday, November 8, 2014

Three Daughters: A novel by Consuelo Saah Baehr

I asked and received this book through NetGalley for free. This review is not sponsored nor influenced in anyway. Thanks to Lake Union Publishing for the book. The expected publishing date is November 25.

First impression

When I first saw this on NetGalley it grabbed my attention almost immediately; beginning with the gorgeous cover and then reading that it was a three generation saga of Palestinian women. I had to read it!. I have to admit that when I saw it was 720 pages I was a bit overwhelmed, but I was so interested in the story I told myself to just start reading. While I am happy I did, after finishing it I still feel the book could've been considerably shorter.

Final thoughts

The story begins with the story of Myriam, from 1882 to 1920. She is the first daughter in this trigenerational story. Daughter of Jamilla and Mustafa who happens to be deaf. Her fair skin and reluctance to speak marks her as the odd one, and then when she finally speaks she has a very deep voice, which doesn't help her. She will feel ostracized by her own mother, but she will have the opportunity to go to school learn not only to speak but also to write a bit. She is the first step into improving (to my eyes) the conditions of the women in her clan. Myriam will give birth to 4 kids, the last one being Nadia (the second daughter) who will go even further in her education and way in live, having the last daughter: Nijmeh. I don't want to give anything away, but both Nadia's and Nijmeh's stories are way more than what you might think.

That said, since every daughter in the story was going further, at least education wise, I was expecting this to be more relevant in their outcomes. Don't get me wrong, it did have certain relevance, but inevitably the women in the story seemed to be framed by the man they would marry or get involved with. I though Nadia was going to be a stronger character but then she gets pretty much swayed away and for me it felt like a flickering light going out.

I mentioned that the book could've been shorter. Once again, this is just my opinion. You see, a lot of times the story would go on the branches; several situations would be developed to all of the sudden get closed abruptly. For a book this long there were many sudden changes that at times felt out of nowhere. In the same chapter I would be confronted with side stories that didn't bring that much to the main story, yet will take a big part of the chapter while at the same time there would be a completely change of character that felt random and awkward.

It was certainly a lovely story, and if you are looking for a multigenerational story set in the middle East this would be perfect for you.

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