Book Review: Jasmine Falling by Shereen Malherbe

Title: Jasmine Falling
Author: Shereen Malherbe
Publisher: MB Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 196
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When Jasmine’s mother dies inside their English mansion, hope comes in the form of her multi-million pound inheritance. But with her inheritance threatened, Jasmine is left to contemplate a future she does not know how to live. Jasmine has only ten days to uncover the circumstances of her father’s decade long disappearance before her fortune is lost forever. Forced to return to his homeland in Palestine, she follows his footsteps through stories long ingrained in the local’s minds. She is helped on her journey by a mysterious stranger who guides her through the trails of the Holy Land to the scattered broken villages, each harbouring its own secrets. Under the watchful eyes of the ever-encroaching Occupation, Jasmine must piece together her history in the broken land, before it destroys her future.

I had quite high hopes for this book. I expected to really love it and I’m not quite sure why that was but I was sadly somewhat disappointed by it. I don’t like to give negative reviews and it certainly wasn’t awful, just disappointing.

Jasmine goes to Palestine straight after finding out she needs her father’s signature to receive her inheritance of millions. This alone felt like her motives were all completely materialistic which put me off her. She had just lost her mother and there were no genuine feelings of grief or loss expressed by Jasmine; only feelings of betrayal that her mother had made it necessary for her to get her father’s signature.

When she is in Palestine, Jasmine begins what seems to be a completely hopeless search for her father who has been missing for ten years. The search is apparently vital and she has ten days before she will be unable to claim her inheritance. Yet Jasmine seems to float around asking locals who knew her father questions but then she would leave and I would think to myself… well she learnt nothing about her father and didn’t even ask about him properly. I just found it a bit halfhearted for something that was apparently so important to Jasmine.

Meanwhile, Jasmine spends most of her time with a local she met on her first day and there is hints at romantic feelings between them. This didn’t become the main focus of the storyline but it still felt a bit misplaced.

I felt I didn’t get to know Jasmine at all and by the end of the book it seemed like the little I did know about her, I was supposed to believe was actually wrong if that makes sense. It was a very short book though, so it could be put down to that. I also struggled with the writing at times… I would find myself having to reread sentences or even a whole paragraph to understand what was actually happening.

One thing I did enjoy and find very valuable about this book was the intermittent insights into what life is like on a daily basis for Palestinians under the Israeli occupation. This is what I expected and wanted more of. It was still an average read overall but not unmissable. I did find myself wanting to continue reading in order to find out if Jasmine would find her father or at least what had happened to him. my favourite thing about this book was probably the cover, it is very pretty.

Rating: 5/10


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