Ayesha at Last
Published: June 4th 2019
Publisher: Berkley Books
Source: Personal Purchase
A modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice for a new generation of love. Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid, who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and who dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.
When a surprise engagement is announced between Khalid and Hafsa, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.
Ayesha is a Muslim woman who also happens modern. Her best friend is a non-Muslim who has a live in boyfriend. She’s a teacher, and her cousin Hafsa has been getting hundreds of proposals. Khalid the male protagonist recently has moved to the neighborhood. He is religious, he wears a thobe and has a religious beard. His appearance is religious, and some people believe him to be a fundamentalist.
The beginning scene of the novel had me hooked when Khalid secretly tries to steal glances at Ayesha in a purple hijab. Ayesha is spiritual and devoted and so is Khalid, but Khalid is also traditional but their mindsets clash throughout the novel. I like it when authors see outside the box. This is true angst love at its best. I like when two opposite people are attracted to each other, but they do not like it admit it. Khalid is one of the sweetest characters!
This is a romantic comedy that I enjoyed immensely. The story is third person narrative, and it switches from Ayes ha and Khalid from chapter to chapter. This book had me engaged from beginning to end, I finished it within three days. The author has a way for writing that makes you begin to care about the characters. The only minor flaw I would say it towards 2/3 of the end, the plot spirals out of control a bit. I loved the novel, but there was too much drama way too fast at the end. It was hard to follow what was going on.
“You have a job?” Khalid asked, surprised.
“I also dress myself, bathe myself, drive a car and have opinions about things,” Ayesha said.
Recommended for fans of Pride & Prejudice, Crazy Rich Asians
Uzma Jalaluddin is a Pakistani author of AYESHA AT LAST, a revamped Pride and Prejudice set in a close-knit Toronto Muslim community. AYESHA AT LAST was recently optioned for film by Pascal Pictures. In addition to fiction, Uzma writes a culture and parenting column for The Toronto Star. She lives in the Greater Toronto Area with her husband and two sons.