Review: Harem Slave: One Thousand Nine Hundred and Four Days of Hell on the Persian Gulf (Human Trafficking Series) ~ Nancy Hartwell Enonchong

Harem Slave

Harem Slave is not your predictable formulaic sex-slave novel; it is above all, a gripping and often suspense-filled documentary of the harrowing life of a victim of human trafficking. It is, in many respects, a survival guide for girls who find themselves in such unthinkable circumstances. Intended for mature readers, Harem Slave is not gratuitously pornographic, but due to the subject matter, does contain considerable erotic material.

Tammy Simmons is every parent’s dream daughter: 18, blonde, a majorette, and unimpressed with how beautiful she is. An honor roll student preparing to enter Georgetown University, she seems destined to take her comfortable place in upper-middle-class America. She has taken to heart the high moral principles instilled in her by her tight-knit family, and dreams of being a diplomat. While visiting friends in Europe, however, she is abducted, and to her stunned disbelief, shipped to the Middle East and sold as a harem slave to an 81-year-old sheikh. He is scandalized when he discovers she’s not the buxom Swede he ordered, and sells her to the brooding and cantankerous Sheikh Saud. A year later, she becomes the property of Sheikh Fahd, who dyes the girls in his Rainbow Harem different colors; she is Miss Green. When Miss Purple furtively poisons him, she is bought by the handsome but mentally imbalanced Prince Ibrahim, who has been known to put slaves to death so he and his guests can enjoy their fresh corpses at his lavish parties. Fortunately or unfortunately, instead of taking her into his own harem, he leases her to an elite gentlemen’s club, part of a dark underworld on the Persian Gulf where brothels cater to every taste, every perversion, every excess. She quickly learns that brutality, even in the “nice” clubs, is the norm: in the worst, life expectancy is calculated in weeks. Disciplinary problems are threatened with being sent to a “snuff club,” where they are tortured to death as entertainment. To this point, Tammy has managed to adjust to slavery without completely negating her persona, but now, she almost comes unglued. She has no other choice, if she wants to survive, but to swallow her self-respect and obey orders. It’s a constant struggle. She is proud of herself for not falling apart during one particularly horrible assignment – and then is immediately trundled off to another that’s even worse.

How Tammy remains sane in this horrific environment is a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, to the power of love toward those who deserve it the least, and to the defiant determination to find glimmers of joy – even lasting love – in a life awash with daily humiliation and degradation. Her caring heart, courage, and ability to understand her masters as fallible humans grappling with their own sets of demons are ultimately the keys to her salvation.

3 Thumbs-Up

This book is intended for mature readers only, and the overly sensitive may be wise to pass it by.

In this novel, the Author touches upon an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ topic – human trafficking and, given the topic I was expecting a little more than the book actually delivered for me.

The main lead character is female and unfortunately, at no point in my reading this book did I actually find myself caring about her.  She possessed all the traits of the over privileged and wealthy teenager, who always knows better than those around her, and disregards all advice given to her.  Because of this, and as harsh as it seems, I was really made to feel as if she got what was coming to her.

The book itself is intended to be a compilation of actual events that happened to women caught in the world of human trafficking, but it really stretched believe at some points with the women’s reactions to their ‘owners’.  I understand all about Stockholm Syndrome, but none of the behaviour exhibited by the characters evenly remotely put them in this category.  This does not mean that the book is not well researched, it is actually very well researched and written, but despite this it still sat firmly in the women’s soft porn genre, rather than giving me an insight into a criminal world that needs exposing.  I felt that so much more could have been done with this topic to make it a voice for those who are either still in ‘captivity’ or have recently been rescued.

Another downside for me, in the Kindle edition, was the erratic and choppy formatting.  I really don’t need a page full of half sentence paragraphs that I have to try to make sense of, on top of everything else that is happening.  A little more time with proofreading and editing would also have helped in taking care of some other errors that appeared throughout the book.  Usually I can work with these and they don’t detract from what I am reading, but in this case, it just made my experience a little harder to swallow.

I am not a prude, and like erotica, but I like it when it is open and declares itself as such, not comes in the disguise of something else.  If you are a reader that enjoys bondage and cruelty, then this would be for you.  If, however, you are looking for an informative read on human trafficking that could be used as a rally cry to help end this activity, I feel you may be sorely disappointed.

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2 thoughts on “Review: Harem Slave: One Thousand Nine Hundred and Four Days of Hell on the Persian Gulf (Human Trafficking Series) ~ Nancy Hartwell Enonchong

  1. “Got what was coming to her?” I just puked in my mouth. Go try on a dress in a dressing room, then get shipped off to a sex slave club where they put “Wiggle Worms” up your ass to make you scream and torture you to the point of death and insanity. There, you got what was coming to you. Jesus christ, really?

    • Thanks for your comment Melissa. I know that comment was harsh, and said so in the review, and because of your outrage over it I am now hoping you will go and read the novel for yourself. I’m sure Nancy, the Author, would be thrilled her book can cause such debate.

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