LIfe in the Camel Lane: Embrace the Adventure Book Review & Book Tour Giveaway

Today, in our book review featured spotlight, I have a novel that combines both my love of memoirs with my love of travel and cultural exploration. Saudi Arabia and its customs and culture present a world very different than the one I experience in the United States.   The author shares her adventures as an expat in Saudi Arabia and I was excited to read a first hand, female "Westerner" account of the country and its culture.   What did I think of Life in the Camel Lane by Doreen Cumberford?  Read my thoughts and learn about the author--and be sure to enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.

Book Title:  Life in the Camel Lane: Embrace the Adventure by Doreen M. Cumberford
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18 +),  288 pages
Genre:  Memoir
Publisher:  White Heather Press
Release date:   April, 2020
Content Rating:  G. There are no offensive scenes or language

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About the Book

Life in the Camel Lane: Embrace the Adventure
is what Doreen Cumberford, a Scottish author, calls her learnoire! It is a combination of her story and the stories of other expats learned while living in Saudi Arabia for 15 years as expat employees or spouses. The book takes the reader through the four stages of culture shock: arrival, honeymoon, frustration and adjustment stages to final acceptance followed by the return journey back to their home country – mostly the USA. From Saudi weddings, to falconry, to the inability of women to drive at that time, the book seeks to familiarize us with the Saudi culture, lifestyle, and deep traditions of hospitality, generosity and tolerance from an insider’s perspective. There are also chapters on the experiences of 9/11 in the terrorists’ home country and the “Terror Years” of internal terror tactics from inside Saudi Arabia designed to drive the expats out of the country and destroy the Saudi government. Full of examples, stories and compelling honesty the author describes their most challenging journey and many of the lessons learned in the process together. Designed to provide useful insights and inspiration to anyone considering living abroad, Life in the Camel Lane shines the light on the subject of building a new identity and home while abroad, and the difficulties of the journey home.

My Review

Life in the Camel Lane: Embrace the Adventure Shares Memories, Experiences and Advice. As the author shares her experiences as an "outsider" living life for over a decade in Saudi Arabia--readers will be treated to her first-hand thoughts and views--along with her realistically presented challenges. While she certainly faced culture shock--and a definite shifting of perceptions and freedoms as a woman--she doesn't focus on the cultural differences negatively. Instead, she shares how she could adapt and accept the roles expected of her in her new home--and offers advice to others, making difficult transitions into unknown lands. Readers will undoubtedly read her challenges in retaining her native culture and customs in a land that forbids many of them--but they will also feel the love that grew for her new home and community. 

Life in the Camel Lane Educates and Entertains. My perception of Sharia Law is still less than positive--but I can now see a glimpse of the real, day-to-day lives of women living under Sharia Law in a slightly different light. As the author accepted her life and roles in her Saudi community--she developed a greater understanding of personal fulfillment and cultural values. I found it interesting that returning home after many years abroad was a bit of a cultural transition yet again.


Would I Recommend  Life in the Camel Lane: Embrace the Adventure.  I enjoyed following the author's adventures in Saudi Arabia--and sharing her thoughts and memories of the culture and its people. Knowing little about the nation, the author's insights and experiences were educational and enlightening--and her writing style kept me engaged in the novel from the very first pages. I would recommend this novel to those interested in living abroad--but worried about adapting to a new culture and lifestyle as a family--but I would recommend it to those curious about Saudi Arabia as well.

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About the Author

Doreen Cumberford is a Scottish expat author who has been global traveler for more than four decades. In her 20s Doreen left her home in Scotland and drove down to London to become a member of Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Her first posting was as the youngest and most junior British Embassy staffer in Cameroon, West Africa. Later she moved back to London and took a position with an American oil-field construction company based in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. After moving to America, living in Louisiana then California, two extremely different cultures in the USofA, Doreen and family moved overseas to Japan then spent the following 15 years in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. With 13 major moves under her belt, she understands the value of moving, building a new life and handling inter-cultural hurdles. One constant has been her ability to explore through the lens of adventure. Her stories are full of multi-cultural intelligence, messy multilingual communications and multi-global perspectives. Doreen is currently based on Denver, Colorado although spends most of the year living adventurously in the Housesitting Lane, which takes her around the globe. Currently she is doing her best to install Spanish in her brain which previously had French and smatterings of Japanese and Arabic. She is passionate about cultural intelligence, global heartedness and life on the road. 
Featured in the Anthology: Empowering Women, and a co-author in 2018 of Arriving Well: Stories About Identity, Belonging and Rediscovering Home After Living Abroad. 2020 sees the publication of Life in the Camel Lane: Embrace the Adventure. Honest, compassionate, full of wisdom and inspiration, Life in the Camel Lane comprises stories mostly from women and men who lived in Saudi Arabia from 1950s onward. This memoir contains expert advice sage wisdom and stories that all globally mobile families can use to navigate their international journey. The principles in this book will also encourage anyone who is embracing a more adventurous life, or considering taking the leap to move overseas.

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