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The Jewel of Medinaby Sherry Jones
Synopses & Reviews
Born A'isha bint Abi Bakr in seventh century Arabia and married at the age of nine, she would become the favorite wife of the Prophet Muhammad, and one of the most revered women in the Muslim faith. The Jewel of Medina illuminates the difficult path A'isha confronted, from her youthful dreams of becoming a Bedouin warrior, to her life as the beloved wife and confident of the founder of Islam.
In an era when women had few rights of their own and were often treated as chattel, A'isha used her wits, her courage, and even her sword in a struggle to control her own destiny and carve out a place for herself in the umma, fighting religious persecution, jealous sister-wives, political rivals, and her own temptations. Her ingenuity and devotion would make her an indispensable advisor to Muhammad, earn her the coveted position of his favorite wife, and ultimately make her a fierce protector of his words and legacy.
Extensively researched and elegantly crafted, The Jewel of Medina presents the beauty and harsh realities of life in an age long past, during a time of war, enlightenment, and upheaval. At once a love story, a history lesson, and a coming-of-age tale, The Jewel of Medina provides humanizing glimpses into the origins of the Islamic faith, and the nature of love, through the eyes of a truly unforgettable heroine.
"Jones's controversial novel about A'isha bint Abi Bakr, the 'child-bride' and one of the favored wives of Muhammad, comes to light amidst a swirl of debate about free speech. As for the book itself, it's not bad for a first novel. It opens with a 14-year-old A'isha returning to Muhammad in the company of her first love. Fearing she'd been unfaithful, Mohammad sends her back to her parents while he debates her innocence. The novel then backtracks to A'isha's youth, where her strength of character and sharp wit quickly become apparent. When she's betrothed to Muhammad at age six, she's ordered confined to her house (to preserve her virginity) until her marriage three years later. She is forced to leave her beloved Mecca for Medina when it becomes unsafe for Muhammad and his followers, and as Muhammad-here depicted as caring, progressive and politically savvy-marries more women and early followers of Islam face political challenges and devastating battles, A'isha grows from a self-centered child to a worldly woman whose advice and counsel are a source of comfort and strength to Muhammad. The subject matter here is more spectacular than the writing, which tends toward the maudlin and purple. It's a page turner, but not outstanding." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Set in ancient Arabia during the dramatic birth of Islam, this captivating debut novel paints a fascinating portrait of A'isha, child bride of the prophet Muhammad, who overcame great obstacles to reach her full potential as a woman and a leader.
A'isha bint Abi Bakr is the daughter of a rich merchant from Mecca in the harsh, exotic world of seventh-century Arabia at the time of the foundation of Islam. When she is married to the Prophet Muhammad at the age of nine, she must rely on her wits, her courage, and even her sword in a struggle to control her own destiny and carve out a place for herself in the community, fighting religious persecution, jealous sister-wives, political rivals, and her own temptations. As she grows to love her kind, generous husband, her ingenuity and devotion make her an indispensable advisor to Muhammad. Ultimately, she becomes one of the most important women in Islam, and a fierce protector of her husband's words and legacy.Extensively researched, The Jewel of Medina evokes the beauty and harsh realities of life in an age long past. At once a love story, a history lesson, and a coming-of-age tale, it introduces readers to the turmoil that surrounded the birth of the Islamic faith through the eyes of an unforgettable heroine.
About the Author
A professional journalist since 1979, Sherry Jones has won numerous awards and been published in magazines including Newsweek, CMJ, Southwest Art, and Rider. She is currently the Montana and Idaho correspondent for the Bureau of National Affairs, an international news agency in the Washington, D.C. area, and a correspondent for Women's e-News. The Jewel of Medina is her first novel.
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