STOLEN A book by Elizabeth Keimach
The plot outline revolves around the kidnapping of Sarah, a four year old English girl, taken away to Saudi Arabia. The story follows a complicated path of later getting back to England, her reawakening memories including the resurfacing of her childhood English. Sarah is happy in England but her Saudi father is determined to get her back.
Women in many traditional societies are often little more than baby producing machines, sex objects, household slaves, and in some cases if they are from wealth, symbols of status for males. And if they diverge from what is accepted and deemed proper they can be stoned to death, tortured, imprisoned, and mutilated.
This is undeniably the case in Saudi Arabia, a place depicted in the book showing how females are bound and shackled by a rigid social structure so vastly and profoundly different from England.
Women are never allowed outside without a male relative in tow, and in addition they have to be covered from head to toe in black, and are of course not allowed to drive. They are actually not even permitted to travel anywhere without the permission of the dominant man in their family or clan.
Men rule and control this oil rich, albeit sparsely populated country where most of the manual and other general labour is carried out by foreign workers. Overlying customs and practices are the teachings of Islam, founded in the 7th century and incorporating a belief system passionately professed by the vast ruling family.
The novel is my examination of a land where women who have no rights are juxtaposed against females in the west enjoying hard-won freedoms that are relatively new even in the advanced democracies. My book recounts many true events such as the execution of women for what we would regard as minor infractions of a pre-industial, medieval code. But now with more contact with the West, and internet and modern travel and communications, there is occurring a gradual awakening, among many men as well. But it is mostly the women of the Middle East who are rebelling, and this novel is my attempt to stir the growing flames and encourage these brave examples of deep courage.
Because my work addresses a hopefully dying attitude, I feel that men too who read it will become more aware of the plight of the women in their midst and begin to address the deep unhappiness that prevails.
The protagonist, Sarah/Laila , is deeply troubled, confused, and vulnerable. I contrast her male-dependent existence in Saudi with her freedom in England. While no place of course is perfect, and the rights and privileges of the West are surely hard won, I imply what I believe to be possible too for oppressed women everywhere.
I am married with 2 children. I also have a daughter-in-law and a grandchild. I was a teacher for many years but when I retired I concentrated on my art. I even started a business using my paintings and began a greeting cards business. Many shops sold my cards. Later I focused on writing. Most of my writing was in connection with my art and I produced several books which are available from Lulu.com. However I then began writing short stories and poetry. I have now published my first adult novel.