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The Dawn of Saudi
In Search for Freedom
The Midwest Book Review

The Dawn Review of Saudi: In Search for Freedom is a dark mystery novel
with an element of romance, and scathing critique of how Saudi Arabian
culture treats women as second class citizens. One woman, Sahar Al-Hijazi,
fights for the right to choose her own destiny; her best friend, Dawn Parnell, is
trapped far from home because she was foolish enough to change her religion
and marry a Saudi, duped into believing he was a progressive thinker.
Together, the two women struggle to survive and escape Riyadh. Meanwhile,
a wealthy California-based corporation reaps extravagant profits from its
business ties to the Al-Hijazi family - until the heir to the fortune begins to
examine the gender inequality that is the Saudi way of life, and question the
betrayal of his own ethics for the sake of easy money. A tightly written
suspense story sure to keep readers engrossed to the very last page.

Writer’s Digest

The plot was fast-paced. The author does a really nice job creating scenes
that showcase character. (Sahar’s hilarious antics with her suitors, Jason
telephoning girlfriends to show his dissatisfaction with his own life). I
sympathized with Sahar, and I thought she was a wonderfully complex and
strong character. I also liked that the plot between Sahar/Dawn and Jason
wasn’t a straightforward hero saves imperiled woman plot. It’s more
complicated that, and she ends up helping him in return. I loved the last lines
of the novel. A very satisfying read.

Reader Views
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson

Homa Pourasgari’s “The Dawn of Saudi” is a surprising eye-opening
book…moving seamlessly between Saudi Arabia and United States, the story
of two young women, Dawn and Sahar, is gripping and engaging….I found her
subject refreshing, well balanced and well researched. She does not preach
the superiority of one religion over another, but rather points out the sever
violation of human rights and the separate plight of females in the Muslim
society. She manages to remind the reader of how lucky most of us are to be
living where we are living, and how often we take our freedom for granted. Her
writing is fluid and expressive, her characters well fleshed out and the storyline
extremely engaging. If you like your romance contemporary, and if you don’t
mind learning something new while reading, “The Dawn of Saudi” will delight
you. I also believe that it would make for a great pick for any book club that
does not shy away from slightly political subjects.

Book Pleasures
Reviewed by Norm Goldman

Until you read this powerfully compelling book, you are not likely to truly
understand the hardships many Saudi women endure at the hands of radical
Muslims. Pourasgari has done her homework and displays an impressive
familiarity with Saudi culture, its mores, religion, business ethics, appalling
treatment of women, slave labor to which the world turns a blind eye, attitudes
toward Jews, Catholics and other religions, and punishment for those who
don't abide by their rules…What I found particularly effective about this
absorbing novel is the manner in which Pourasgari was able to expertly weave
the various strands of her narrative. There certainly is a great deal to chew on
here with its high adventure and suspense, romance, the secret lurking in the
past of one of its characters, the distressing view of Muslim fundamentalism,
and the satisfying transformation of one of its principal characters. Moreover,
the author distinguishes herself with a combination of plainspoken language
with a skillful use of characterization that smoothly blends in with the yarn. In
fact, she is far from being afraid to permit her imagination run away from her or
to assume that you will keep on following her down a very bizarre and
sometimes terrifying path. And you surely will follow her as the plot thickens
with its many twists and turns that will keep you glued to your seat.

Book Review
Reviewed by Kym Markowitz

Despite not being Saudi herself, Pourasgari intricately details life in Saudi
Arabia and the plight of women living in that country. She provides a look at a
nation and a brutal, misogynist culture that is largely unnoticed by the western
world, where oppression of women is commonplace. “The Dawn of Saudi”
contains a wide array of characters. Despite early worries that the cast would
prove to be too large to form a coherent story, each serves a purpose, and
they are all related. The reader is compelled to continue reading to discover
just how these characters are interconnected, how their lives intertwine, and
what truly happens to Dawn and Sahar.

POD Book Reviews & More
Reviewed by Malcolm R. Campbell

Pourasgari’s inventive plot and strong characters not only open a wide window
onto Saudi oppression of women, but make for a very strong story with the
poignant moments of well-told romance and the twists and turns of page-
turning mystery. Both the oppression and the fear associated with it are aptly
shown from a woman’s perspective through Dawn and Sahar. Jason’s silver-
spoon lifestyle and love-them-and-leave-them approach to women stands out
in stark contrast to Dawn’s and Sahar’s experiences, and this adds greatly to
the depth of the story...The Dawn of Saudi remains a very satisfying novel with
unforgettable characters who must fight through a labyrinth of Western apathy
and frightening conservative Islamic beliefs in a search for freedom. The novel
is both an education and an oasis for the human spirit.

Feathered Quill Book Reviews

The author generously provides colorful detailing to many aspects of Saudi
life, such as traditional dress, foods, traditions and customs in a way that bring
authenticity and richness to this story. Indeed Homa Pourasgari is a skilled
storyteller who effectively weaves together parallel narratives that continue to
keep the pages turning eagerly. In the beginning of the book, readers follow
Sahar’s agonizing journey as she tries in vain to extricate herself from forced
marriage and Dawn’s life as she grapples with the horrific challenges of her
Saudi marriage. Then Pourasgari introduces a related storyline of the rich and
powerful Jason Crawford III, a young man living a life of boundless wealth in
Los Angeles who nevertheless suffers under the burden of his own familial
confines. Halfway through the book, the tone changes from drama and
romance to a suspenseful mystery as antagonists threaten the main character’
s freedom…and life. The wonderful surprise twist in the plot easily propels
readers through the last section of the book. Quill says: The Dawn of Saudi is
a romantic mystery that elucidates and educates as it entertains.

Best Sellers World
Reviewed by Chris Phillips

The story development is very good with solid characters and a good pace.
The reader can be glued to their seat compelled to finish a chapter because of
such talent. But Pourasgari has an agenda with this book, expressed
throughout the book, but concisely explained in the Author’s Notes at the end.
There Pourasgari explains the tragic life of Saudi women and children within
that kingdom. She advocates political and social pressure on the Arab world to
stop violating basic human rights. Pourasgari has some very strong views
about religion and government being as intertwined as it is in Saudi Arabia…
This book exposes the terrible conditions many people within Saudi Arabia live
under. Anyone that is politically active and concerned about human rights
should read the book. It is a worthwhile read for anyone. This reviewer highly
recommends it.

Story Circle Book Reviews
Reviewed by Rhonda Esakov

This novel highlights the lives of two very different women who have formed a
bond while attending college in Spain—a Saudi woman raised in an
oppressive culture and an American woman, with all the freedom that entails,
who moves to Saudi with her true love. Their bond of friendship will travel
across the continents and save one life as another ends. While the mysteries
twist around and bounce from continent to continent, it all begins to come
together, and the reader finally understands the reason for the many
seemingly unrelated details early on in the reading. The story of the romance
and mystery are intriguing, while the background and research on the
oppression of women show that Pourasgari has done her homework very well.