Review: Jasmine Falling – Shereen Malherbe

Jasmine FallingWhen 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.

The cover was the first thing that pulled my attention to Jasmine Falling. So when I was creating a it came to choosing books for my TBR for Ramadan Readathon, I decided that it would be a good opportunity to try this book with its beautiful cover and intriguing blurb.

It’s #ownvoices for Palestinian and Muslim rep.

Jasmine is biracial, however she is only connected to one culture. This book portrays, not only but also, her journey and immersion in a culture that was relatively unknown to her before she started her journey. There were some quotes that resonated with me a lot, since I’m multiracial. They won’t resonate with everyone who is multiracial though, but they put into words how I feel some of the time. These are:

“It left a half of her unaccounted for, half of her story completely unknown and lost in the world.”

“Deep down she knew, unless she explored it, the incompleteness would always hover over her.”

It starts slowly and the pacing stays slow throughout the book. However, somehow it still managed to not let me go. I kept thinking that it was kind of not-intriguing at the beginning, but now looking back, I see that the build-up was so slow that I don’t even know at what point I was sucked into the story. I also enjoyed the writing. The passages about food and cooking are so descriptive and yet simply written.

I enjoyed the added input that was received in the form of the letters. I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t read all of the letters faster, but I don’t know if those letters had been given to me, if I really would have been able to read them faster (so this is NOT criticism).

I thought that the numerous characters let to nuanced perspectives about the conflict between Israel and Palestine, thus explaining the complexity of it.

I want to mention that Jasmine uses ableist language when she is saying that she hopes that she is not going crazy like her relatives. The word “crazy” is also used in other instances.

The romance story arc isn’t in focus and it’s also handled quite interestingly as it creates more questions than it answers.

The ending was beautiful. I’m not usually a fan of open ending but I liked how nothing was set it stone and numerous possible explanations were given. Every reader can choose which option they think is most likely and which they’d most like to be true.

I enjoyed Jasmine Falling a lot. The writing pulls you into the story, and even though it is rather slow-paced I couldn’t stop reading. There was a secret that was waiting to be unearthed, and I wanted to know more. It’s a beautifully-written contemporary novel and gives nuanced perspectives of the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Trigger warnings: suicide attempt, alcoholic character, murder, ableist language.

4 stars

Have you read Jasmine Falling? Are you interested in reading it?

8 thoughts on “Review: Jasmine Falling – Shereen Malherbe

  1. This sounds interesting and I’m intrigued by it, I tend to like stories where the main characters is discovering a part of thir heritage. The fact that it’s #ownvoices for Palestinian and Muslim rep makes me even more excited to read it. Great review!


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