Flag of Jordan flying high in the sky

Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an unexpected life.


After visiting Jordan, Moira Smith, General Manager of AFRICAExperts, fell in love with the country. “Something that really impressed me was the love that the Jordanians had for their King and his family. I have always been fascinated by the story of Queen Noor and when I got back I found myself wanting to find out as much as I could about the history of Jordan and its’ people. Queen Noor’s memoirs offer a unique insight into the royal family of Jordan. Her love and respect for her husband shines through, though it had it’s difficult moments. She never wanted to be a mere figure-head and had to fight to carve out a meaningful role for herself. It also gives an overview of the Middle East issues from her perspective. Worth the read.


Leap of Faith is the dramatic and inspiring story of an American woman’s remarkable journey into the heart of a man and his nation. Born into a distinguished Arab-American family and raised amid privilege, Lisa Halaby joined the first freshman class at Princeton to accept women, graduating in 1974 with a degree in architecture and urban planning. Two years later, while visiting her father in Jordan, she was casually introduced on the airport runway to King Hussein. Widely admired in the Arab world as a voice of moderation, and for his direct lineage to the prophet Muhammad, Hussein would soon become the world’s most eligible bachelor after the tragic death of his wife. The next time they met, Hussein would fall headlong in love with the athletic, outspoken daughter of his longtime friend.

After a whirlwind, secret courtship Lisa Halaby became Noor Al Hussein, Queen of Jordan. With eloquence and candor, Queen Noor speaks of the obstacles she faced as a naive young bride in the royal court, of rebelling against the smothering embrace of security guards and palace life, and of her own successful struggle to create a working role as a humanitarian activist in a court that simply expected Noor to keep her husband happy. As she gradually took on the mantle of a queen, Noor’s joys and challenges grew. After a heartbreaking miscarriage, she gave birth to four children. Meshing the demands of motherhood with the commitments of her position often proved difficult, but she tried to keep her young children by her side, even while flying the world with her husband in his relentless quest for peace. This mission would reap satisfying rewards, including greater Arab unity and a peace treaty with Israel, and suffer such terrible setbacks as the Gulf War and the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin. Leap of Faith is a remarkable document. It is the story of a young American woman who became wife and partner to an Arab monarch.

Note: The above description is from the ‘inside cover’ of the book.

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