From the fertile hills of a tiny village near Jerusalem to the elegant townhouses of Georgetown, Three Daughters is a historical saga that chronicles the lives, loves, and secrets of three generations of Palestinian Christian women.
Born in rural Palestine, just before the dawn of the twentieth century, Miriam adores her father and is certain his love will protect her, but she soon finds that tradition overrides love. Uprooted by war, Miriam enters a world where the old constraints slip away with thrilling and disastrous results. Miriam’s rebellious daughter, Nadia, is thrilled with the opportunity for a modern life that her elite education provides. But when she falls in love with an outsider, the clan reins her back with a shocking finality. Nijmeh, Nadia’s daughter, is an only child and the path her father, the sheikh, sets for her is fraught with difficulties, yet it prepares her for her ultimate journey to America, where she finds her future.
Each woman, in her own time and in her own way, experiences a world in transition through war and social change…and each must stretch the bounds of her loyalty, her courage, and her heart.
When I finished this book, the impression I was left with was how long it was, which isn’t the best final impression. This book was over 700 pages and it really showed. I think it dragged a bit and I say that as someone who enjoyed the overall story.
I really liked the premise. This book is about three generations of women and how they are similar but also how they learn from mistakes made in the past. This whole book was about family, though the romances played a part in it, and how love can be shown in many varied ways as well as how, just because you love someone doesn’t mean you always get on. I loved how the focus was on each woman’s relationship with her mother and how complicated they each were. I liked how the three of them were connected by none of them (spoiler) being the biological daughter of the father who raised them, but they all adored their adoptive fathers, despite having problems that came up in their relationships. The links between each generation were my favourite thing, especially with how the world changed around them.
The characters were all sympathetic at times and completely ridiculous at others. Sometimes I wanted to roll my eyes at the decisions they made because you could tell they were going to end up badly. Not because of fictional tropes but because every character in the book, including the ones who knew the person best, were saying it was a bad idea. When not one person you know is in favour of your relationship, maybe you need to rethink things. I did appreciate how all three women were very different while still having a commonality about them and how they all dealt with things (for example, grief) in very different ways.
This book didn’t have a happy ending as such but I did enjoy it and thought it fit really well with the rest of the book. Nijmeh was very different to Miriam but you could see the development over time. At times the historical aspects of the book felt like a shoehorned in. I think I was comparing this book unfavourably to The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds and this book did not come off well in that comparison.
So I don’t think I would recommend this book but I am glad I read it. Three stars!