Monday, October 14, 2019

My Thoughts: Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin (Audiobook)
Ayesha At Last
by Uzma Jalaluddin
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Publication Date: June 4th 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 351
ISBN: 9781984802798
Genre: Adult Fiction | Contemporary | Romance
Source: Review Copy from Publisher | Own

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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 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. (Goodreads)

The moment I discovered that Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin was a Pride and Prejudice inspired retelling, I knew I would have to read the book. I love ANYTHING Pride & Prejudice, and I especially enjoy seeing an author take my favorite classic and give their own spin to it. This book sounded very promising, so I was super excited to check it out!

Not only is Ayesha At Last a retelling, it’s a modern day Muslim retelling, which is also set in Canada. (I have not read many books set in Canada, so this was especially interesting.) The storyline felt both familiar, yet completely fresh and new as well. Other than a few character changes, (and the obvious modern conveniences), it actually follows pretty closely along with the original storyline, which I liked. I did myself getting a little bored a few times in the book, but this was a really quick read, and the story always picked back up to grab my attention, which was nice.

The story is told through two of the main characters viewpoints. Ayesha is our modern day Lizzie Bennett, who dreams of being a poet, but is instead trying to find work so she can pay back her uncle. Khalid is the Mr. Darcy of the story, and much like the original Mr. Darcy, he took a while to warm up to. (Don’t worry, he won me over by the end.) I really enjoyed the alternate narration to the story, and I actually wish the original had had that as well. There are a lot of interesting secondary characters in the story as well, some that you will like, and a few that you will despise with a purple passion. Read the book to meet them all!

I also want to add that while I started reading the actual print copy of this book, I ended up listening to the audiobook about a fourth of the way through. I’m so glad I did! The story is narrated by Roshni Shukla, who has a fantastic voice, and I hope to find more audiobooks that she has narrated in the future!

Overall; Ayesha At Last was a very fun, quick modern day retelling of my absolute most favorite book, and I am very glad to have to read the book! I will definitely be keeping my eye out for more books by Uzma Jalaluddin in the future! If you like a good Pride and Prejudice retelling with a modern day twist, do check out Ayesha At Last!

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