Today I have a review of Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin, publishing on June 4, 2019 via Berkley Pub!
Ayesha at Last is a modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice with a Muslim main character.
Ayesha is a modern Muslim and dreams of being a poet, but she has to forgo those dreams at the moment to pay her uncle back. She’s become a teacher.
Ayesha lives with her Muslim family who constantly remind her of potential marriage and that one of her cousins is currently turning down yet another marriage proposal.
Ayesha meets Khalid, and she is struck by his charm instantly. But at the same time, she’s turned off by how conservative and judgmental he can be. His family is also the subject of gossip in the community.
Will Ayesha find love with the flawed Khalid? Will Khalid fall for a modern Muslim woman, one who tests the boundaries of his faith and that of his devout family? Ayesha is devout, too, but Khalid is practicing the Muslim faith entirely in the traditional sense…until he meets Ayesha.
I absolutely loved the culture embedded in Ayesha at Last. It was a learning experience that one can be Muslim and devout but also traditional versus non traditional. The back and forth between the two families was so much fun. The humor was precious and witty, and I loved how similar, but yet original, this felt by comparison to Pride and Prejudice.
Overall, this is a stunning and enlightening retelling, one that I will cherish my experience, and I’m so grateful this story was told. I hope we will see more retellings of this quality in the future from Jalaluddin. Sign me up!
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
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 dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.
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.
Have you read Ayesha at Last, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR