Danielle Steele beware. Sherry Jones is trying to cut into your territory. Yet despite all the hype about Random House breaking Jones’s contract because Islam might object to her scorcher, Jones's novel fails abysmally.
THE JEWEL OF MEDINA is frankly boring. Dripping in purple prose, it is replete with uncountable factual errors. Jones's story of A’isha, beginning when she is six years old and drifting through the years when she becomes Mohammed’s favorite wife, feels endless.
After forcing myself to plod through A’isha’s soap operatic romance with her husband Mohammed, I can only advise my readers of one thing: don’t bother.
The Random House publishing scandal aside, the novel won’t satisfy your curiosity anout Mohammed. Why Random bought this book in the first place remains a mystery. Why it bumped the contract remains even more mysterious. After all, Random publishes Salman Rushdie against whom a "Fatwa" still exists. When Random's editors compared Rushdie's brilliant new THE ENCHANTRESS OF FLORENCE with Jones's tinselly JEWEL, they must have killed the contract on the spot.
Just why Beaufort picked up the JEWEL is even stranger. Harlequin Books might have been a more appropriate publising localer.
One word for Islam's mistaken defenders. Don’t worry about Mohammed. He’s a nice, sexy, fatherly guy who deserves greater kindness than Jones can figure out for him than A’isha’s trashy story. In fact, one of the misplaced foci of this novel is its emphasis on A’isha, rather than on the singular virtues of Mohammed who would have been a much more interesting central figure.
Meantime, the secret of the Jewel’s “success” bursts from Jones’s safety deposit box which can't contain her new riches. Curiosity may not have killed the cat--but it surely sells trashy books.