Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
Publication Date: June 4th 2019 by Berkley
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
About the book:
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.
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.
Finding love wasn’t a priority to Ayesha, she was focused on settling into her teaching job while pursuing her poetry writing/performing, her true passion, on the side. Upon meeting Khalid, Ayesha initially pegs him as a stiff, judgmental type of Muslim, not a man she’d have any sort of romantic interest in. Khalid judges Ayesha as a Muslim with loose morals. However, as circumstances throw them together, they find their initial impressions might have been off, and their admiration for each other grows.
While it took me a little bit to get into the story since I felt much of the beginning was an introduction into the culture, and I think there was a lot going on plot wise, I did enjoy the story. I think any fan of Pride and Prejudice will be able to draw pleasing comparisons to the original beloved story. I loved Ayesha’s character just as I did Elizabeth’s, both viewed as independent, spirited women for their situation, and I was glad they didn’t just cow to their expected roles in life. Both lived life as they thought they should, no matter the accepted norms around them. Khalid was judgmental and rigid at first, but he grew on me as his view on life expanded. Hafsa was the “Lydia” of the story and just as selfish, and irritating. Ayesha was a lot more forgiving of her behavior than I think I would’ve been. Khalid’s mom was something else, the dreaded “Catherine de Bourgh” of the story.
Berkley has generously provided A Paperback Copy of Ayesha at Last to giveaway to one reader. The giveaway is open to US Residents only. Fill out the rafflecopter below for a chance to win. Good luck!