“Because while it is a truth universally acknowledge that a single Muslim man must be in want of a wife, there’s an even greater truth: To his Indian mother, his own inclinations are of secondary importance.”
Ayesha Shamsi lives with her boisterous Muslim family. Ayesha is in her late twenties and just started a teaching job and has almost given up on her dream of being a spoken word poet. Khalid is a conservative Muslim, dressing and living life according to his faith. When Ayesha and Khalid meet, she thinks he’s arrogant and judgmental and he thinks she’s beautiful and outrageous. As they get to know each other their opinions change, but when suddenly it’s announced he’s been arranged to marry her cousin Hafsa, both Ayesha and Khalid realize some truths about themselves and each other.
I LOVED Ayesha at Last. I was hesitant to read it because of the comparison to Pride and Prejudice and I’ve read some of those that were so poorly done. Ayesha at Last was very loosely based upon Jane Austen’s novel, and it was the differences that stood out. Yes, Khalid was handsome and arrogant, as was Darcy in the original novel, but he was also honorable, decent, and most importantly head over heels for Ayesha. A fact that the author didn’t try to hide at all. Unlike Pride and Prejudice, reading from Khalid’s perspective made all the difference for me. His faith was fascinating and his character growth in seeing beyond and outside of his faith made me swoon (and I don’t swoon!).
I also really liked Ayesha (thank goodness!)! She too was quick to judge and was also true to her faith, although she had a dream of reading and writing poetry- and having it heard. As a woman living in a culture that lacks certain freedom’s for women, speaking words she has written, and expressing that emotion was HUGE for this character. The fact that Khalid see’s her in a “lounge” the first time they meet, and she recites a poem, and thinks he’s judged her for it makes his acceptance and admiration more impactful. As they get to know each other and fall in love the veil is lifted and their belief’s about each other are revealed and explored.
Ayesha at Last has to be the book that’s surprised me the most this year. I was given a free copy at a convention and had put it aside because of my disappointment in some other Pride and Prejudice re-makes. I wish I’d picked it up sooner because I’d have liked to shout my feelings to the world and helped this author sell some copies. Just in case it’s not too late to put this one on your radar, or maybe it is on your radar but you haven’t picked it up to read yet, in this reviewer’s opinion PLEASE do! I hope you’ll like it as much as I have, it was a real game changer for me! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“Rereading Ayesha At Last has made me love the story even more. I appreciated once again the characters that Jalaluddin has created; and smiled, unreservedly, at the subtle references made to Pride and Prejudice. The story is humorous, prods at social norms, and has become one of my favourite rom-coms.” Colline’s Blog
“Uzma Jalaluddin’s Ayesha at Last pays homage to Pride and Prejudice without feeling confined by certain aspects. The characters’ struggles feel more relevant in a modern setting and Jalaluddin’s infuses just enough humor and romance to make this a must for P&P fans.” A Kernal of Nonsense
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