Title: Sand Daughter
Author: Sarah Bryant
Release Date: October 6, 2009
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Sand Daughter, set in the Middle East during the Crusades, is about Khalidah, the daughter of a Bedouin chief. She is being forced into a marriage she doesn’t want, in order to bring peace between warring Bedouin tribes. However, a mysterious musician comes to the tribe and secretly offers Khalidah what she wants most – freedom and information about her mother and her mother’s people. All Khalidah has to do in order to get the information is abandon everything she holds dear.
Sand Daughter is an epic work of historical fiction set in 12th century Arabia. Bryant really brings the setting to life, using words to inspire the reader’s imagination. Additionally, she really brings the history of the time period into the story. Sand Daughter is set against the backdrop of the Crusades, and involves such important figures as the King of Jerusalem and Saladin, the leader of the Muslims. If you’ve seen the movie Kingdom of Heaven starring Orlando Bloom, this book is set during the same period and events portrayed in that movie.
Seeing the Crusades from the Muslim point of view was simply fascinating. Most of the books I’ve come across about this time period are from the points of view of the Christians; therefore it gave the book additional appeal, and Sarah Bryant wrote it incredibly well.
Khalidah was a great character, though at the beginning, she wasn’t strong enough to carry the book on her own. But as the novel progresses, she really evolves into a confident woman who becomes a leader in her own right. All the characters in Sand Daughter are very well fleshed out and multilayered. Bryant uses such detail and care to create her characters that the reader can picture them as real people.
However, like many epic works, Sand Daughter sometimes becomes bogged down in the details. There is a lot going on in this book, with a lot of different characters to keep track of. It can be slow at times. But despite these issues, Sand Daughter is a well-written and engaging story that fans of historical fiction will surely enjoy. Bryant has done an excellent job bringing this neglected time period to life, and I look forward to seeking out her other works.