Savvy Readers, let me tell you: You are in for a TREAT! Uzma Jalaluddin‘s Ayesha at Last is Pride and Prejudice with a modern twist.
Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so that she can pay off her debts.
She lives with her boisterous Muslim family (in Scarborough, Ontario!) and is *always* being reminded that her younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. But Ayesha doesn’t really care… she’s sort of lonely, but she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Until she meets Khalid (who is smart and handsome, and also conservative and judgmental). She becomes annoyingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices, plus dresses like he’s in the seventh century.
When a surprise engagement between Khalid and Hafsa is announced, Ayesha is torn. She can’t decide how she feels about Khalid and his family, and the truth she realizes about herself. But Khalid is also wrestling with what he believes and what he wants. And he just can’t get this beautiful, outspoken woman out of his mind…
This is a book that we fell head-over-heels in love with. One we didn’t want to put down because we couldn’t get enough of Ayesha and Khalid (and maybe even Hafsa…). The characters are so unique, so likable, so funny.
Ayesha at Last is also an important glimpse into the Canadian Muslim community. It’s a book our country needs (and wants!). It does an amazing job of portraying the challenges that Canadian immigrants face, putting a modern and diverse twist on a story we all know and love. Ayesha experiences the struggle of balancing culture and family with herself when making personal life decisions.
Some advice: prepare yourself for reading this book by making yourself a cup of chai. It’s a huge part of the story, and you WILL crave it.
If you’re a Jane Austen fan looking for a modern, fresh retelling (not to mention some amazing CanLit), this book WAS MADE for you. I can’t wait to read Ayesha at Last again!
Have you read or do you want to read Ayesha at Last? Tell us on Twitter @SavvyReader or in the comments below! We think you’re going to LOVE this one, Savvy Readers!