Author – Uzma jalaluddin
Pages – 320
Genre – contemporary, romance, retelling
Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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 between Khalid and Hafsa is announced, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward 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.
When i read the blurb for ‘Ayesha at last’ it immediately caught my attention, I was really in the mood for a contemporary romance but more importantly I wanted to read a story with Muslims characters as I’ve never read any other book with Muslims characters before.
We are following Ayesha and Khalid, Ayesha a 27 year old, poet, school teacher who lives at home with her mother, brother and grandparents. Ayesha is an outspoken, loyal and hard-working character and I really liked her however she was sometimes a pushover when it came to her spoiled, selfish cousin hafsa which really annoyed me. Khalid was an computer systems engineer, who lived at home with his controlling manipulative mother. Khalid took his religion very seriously, he would not shake hands with woman, avoid eye contact, wore the Kameez and Salwar.
Khalid and Ayeshas relationship starts on rocky ground due to judging to quickly and misunderstanding however throughout the book they let down there barriers and see each other for who they really are but don’t be deceived this doesn’t mean there won’t be drama every step of the way. It was also interesting to have your initial views of the characters and have them totally change as you move through the story and see who they really are. Which was the case with Khalid, in the begining he seem extreme but he’s actually a really nice guy he just doesn’t always say the right thing.
There was a great diversity of characters from personalities to examples of different types of muslins. Ayeshas cousin like I have mentioned was a spoilt brat, who used people without a second thought and didn’t care about her religion in the slightest. There were the auntys who’s life goal was to marry off their daughters and gossip. Khalid mother who was really extreme in her beliefs, she scrutinized everybody even saying if a Muslim girl smiled or joked outside she was raised wrong… There were also women from a pulsed sized lingerie who were so funny, and Khalid rasict boss who I absolutely hated. I think the characters really made this story, they were all really fleshed out and were the back bone of the story.
This story was also very like pride and prejudice, I would consider it a retelling it was so similar, that’s not a bad thing. Over all I really liked Ayesha at last it was interesting to read about characters of a different religion and culture and she how ther family unit and daily lives worked. I would deffinetly recommend it, I found it hard to put down and was constantly reaching for it.
Released on the 11th of April keep your eye out !