Seven Daughters and Seven Sons
by Barbara Cohen Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
on September 28th 1982 Pages:
In an ancient Arab nation, one woman dares to be different. Buran cannot — Buran will not-sit quietly at home and wait to be married to the man her father chooses. Determined to use her skills and earn a fortune, she instead disguises herself as a boy and travels by camel caravan to a distant city. There, she maintains her masculine disguise and establishes a successful business. The city's crown prince comes often to her shop, and soon Buran finds herself falling in love. But if she reveals to Mahmud that she is a woman, she will lose everything she has worked for.
Short & Sweet: I cracked this book open and was easily taken into the story. Buran is one of seven daughters and her father's business is not doing well, meaning it will be hard for any of them to find suitable husbands. She has a mind for business and begs her father to let her travel to a far away city disguised as a boy to try and make their fortune. He relents and she ends up as a servant of a greedy merchant who quickly sees her wit for what it is and teaches her along the way to their destination. Told in alternating perspectives, we also meet the crown prince Mahmud, who quickly befriends Buran only to find himself falling in love. He hopes to reveal that Buran is actually a woman in order, but she flees back home, having made her fortune and worries that Mahmud will find out her secret and hate her forever. I just love this tale of romance and deception and especially when she makes her way home and encounters her seven cousins, all men who sought their fortunes through trading like she had. Definitely a tale of cunning and showing that women indeed are just as good if not better than men at business.
Final Verdict: A beautiful retelling of an Iraq folk tale. Definitely for those who love retellings and fairy/folk tales.