Book review (#94) : Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

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Title: Ayesha At Last

Author: Uzma Jalaluddin

Published: 4 June 2019

Publisher: Berkley Books

Rating: 5/5

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.

I have a video review out for this book as well so do check it out if you want to know my review in video format if not LETS GO!

This book is basically a very loose retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I completely fell irrevocably in love with it this book as it is so much fun to read. I read it like in a day and just sped through it.

The writing, the prose everything was just so easy for me to read. In terms of characters obviously I love Khalid and Ayesha and the reason why I love them is because Khalid is just so pious and so honest about everything especially his religion for example he likes to use a kurta and he likes to wear like kopiah or a skull cap and then he’s just honest with people when they ask him about his beard whereby he declares he keeps his beard because it’s sunnah whereas Ayesha is more on the liberal side of religion where basically she doesn’t mind that her best friends drink or whatever and it reminds me of myself like you do you fam and it’s so much fun to see how they interact with each other where one is a conservative and the other a liberal and see how their views change each other.

Their views change the other for the better because we see how Ayesha slowly sees that Khalid’s strict obedience to his faith, his honesty and his straightforwardness has its merits and Khalid on the other hand learns to be more accommodating and be more diplomatic instead of dogmatic.

The reason that he realizes that he needs to learn to be more diplomatic is because he goes into trouble at work due to his new boss Sheila, who for some reason finds issues with muslim men who decides to follow their religion and honestly I don’t like this character Sheila.

It is not that she’s badly written it’s just because I don’t like that she’s a bit racist. She says that she does not trust Khalid because she believes that men like Khalid are sexist and so on and so forth because she has experienced it when she worked in Saudi Arabia, where the men were sexist and she wasn’t allowed to like walk out of her compound alone because obviously she’s a woman.

In my point of view I find that a bit ludicrous for her to think that way because first of all you accepted a job in Saudi Arabia… SAUDI ARABIA!! One of the most conservative countries in the world yet you’re surprised that you cannot follow your liberal ways, your liberal views in another country where the people have different culture so it’s like what did you expect Sheila. So, I don’t agree with her there and then she starts to like make life hard for Khalid.

Another character that I truly adore in this book is Ayesha’s grandmother and the reason why I like her so much is because she’s actually a budding detective as she used to study to be a police woman but because she got pregnant she decided to forgo that line of profession and I find it so much fun that she uses her intellect to find out the gossip without actually gossiping about it because it’s not her style and I wish and I really really hope that the author kind of made a spin-off like Nani (the name of the grandma) detective on the case it will be so cute!!

Aside from that, how the author portrays different types of Muslims; there’s conservative Muslims like Khalid and his family and you have semi-liberal Muslims like Ayesha and her family, liberal Muslims who don’t even follow the religion like Amir and there’s also Muslims who are not very good like Arik who is a douchebag. The reason I like these types of Muslim representation is because its realistic, not all Muslims are pious and not all people who claim to be Muslims are good people.

But my absolute and I mean ABSOLUTE favourite part of this book is the romance and the romantic tension between Khalid and Ayesha. My god! Their banter is so cute and innocent and YOU JUST WANT THEM TO BE TOGETHER! I have not wanted two characters to be together so much in my life and when the misunderstandings happened, my heart broke for them.

I would definitely recommend this book for anybody AND EVERYBODY!

I cannot wait for Uzma’s new book!!!

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