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‘My Name Is Yara Sulimayah’ -The Kingdom Over The Sea

A Book Review

By Sarah O'GradyPublished 10 months ago Updated 10 months ago 2 min read
Photo Credit: Ready Made (Pexels)

‘She let out a breath she didn’t realise she was holding.’ A sentence I have read numerous times throughout my reading life and one that I have a secret love for. I often play ‘Where’s Wally’ with this quote, squealing when I come across it in a book.

But I think that this sentence pretty much sums up my entire experience whilst reading ‘The Kingdom Over The Sea’ by the incredible debut author Zohra Nabi.

I’ve noticed recently that the way I gauge my love of a book is by how much I fall into its world. Whilst I’m reading a book, am I aware of the cars driving down the street outside my window? Do I notice my family going about their business? Am I aware of the TV in the next room?

With this book, a tree could have sprung up in the middle of my room and I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid.

When your real world disappears and you take that front row seat to the main character’s life, powerful things happen. And in The Kingdom Over The Sea I was there. I was right there with Yara, our main character. I was with her for everything. At the nail biting moments and the fist-pumping moments too. I felt her sorrow and celebration. Her shock and suspicion. Right alongside her.

I could taste the sambusaks. Smell the eucalyptus. Hear the wind. Feel the magic.

Whenever I came up for air, all I could think about was diving back in for another chapter or two with my new hero.

Another tell I have about whether I am INTO a book or not, is if I have to physically place my hand over the words and only allow myself to see a line at a time. I have to hide the words from myself. And you can bet I did that with The Kingdom Over The Sea’. Many times.

This book reminds me why I love books.

Why I love to read.

The power that books, more so, the power that a good story has, is indescribable. For someone, somewhere to have had an idea, gathered all the courage to write the words down and had the bravery to see it through. For me to then pick it up, all bound and shiny on a shelf, to then go home, read (or rather inhale) it cover to cover, to then walk my life with those words now a part of my memories?

I’m lost for words.


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