This book is depressing and highly confrontational. It is depressing and confrontational in all the horror, degradation, violence that is heaped upon the three young sisters (Muna, 13 years old) when they were taken from their English home to the Yemen where they were forced by their father into a succession of unwanted marriages. Muna and her sister, Yas, display immense fortitude in the face of absolute male domination enforced by law, custom and brutality. They and the other Yemeni women are inspirational in their handling of such terrible events.
It is easy to claim that this is the result of that country's religion but here in Australia "on average one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner" and a great many others are injured in a great variety of ways. Do some internet research. Australia is not anywhere near approaching Yemen's level of violence but Australia still has a long way to go in combating domestic violence. Here's hoping that things for females in all countries round the world will vastly improve. Books such as this one throw a light upon such matters.
I can't say I enjoyed it but I read every word (I believe the author deserved that) and celebrated with Muna when she made her escape. I recommend that books such as this one be read in the hope of educating everyone about such matters. My four stars is in relation to my judgement of the quality of the writing, not the importance of the topic.
Muna and her three sisters were happy children, growing up in Newport South Wales with their English mother and Arabic father. But in 1972 her mother disappeared, setting in motion a chain of events which would forever shatter her seemingly loving family.