From the Arab world comes a story of the love between an Arab man and an American woman which lasted more than half a century.
In 1958, Sami Sawalha took his young bride to his Jordanian homeland. Uprooted from all that was familiar to her, Ann faced the cultural and linguistic challenges head on and began to assimilate herself into her husband’s tribe – a proud and ancient Bedouin people who trace their roots to before the coming of Islam.
Building up the family hotel business on both sides of the Jordan River posed even greater challenges: the lack of privacy in living cheek by jowl with relatives in half-built hotels, bringing up a family under Israeli occupation, constantly under threat during the on-going strife in the region, the shortage of basic amenities and services, and their love repeatedly tested by their own contrasting cultures and attitudes.
As their business prospered, through the doors of The Palace Hotels came a succession of well-known faces, including many of the power brokers and éminences gris of the Middle Eastern conflict.
Ann Sawalha, an accute observer of human nature, tells the story of her life with Sami with love and humour. Set against the backdrop of the momentous political upheavals of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, it is a compelling memoir.
The family’s hotels survive as a tribute to Sami’s dreams and strength, and Ann’s unwavering determination to support him.