Ayesha at Last

Ayesha at Last

A smart young Muslim Canadian woman navigates the complexities of career, love, and family in this lively homage to a Jane Austen classic. "While it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single Muslim man must be in want of a wife, there's an even greater truth: To his Indian mother, his own inclinations are of secondary importance." With that nod to Pride and Prejudi...

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Title:Ayesha at Last
Author:Uzma Jalaluddin
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Ayesha at Last Reviews

  • Erin

    All the stars for this debut Canadian author!

    was without a doubt my most anticipated 2018 release. Come on, a modern P&P set in Toronto and featuring two Muslim characters. It was absolutely perfect and I was all too sorry when it was finished. The characters(main and secondary) , the

    All the stars for this debut Canadian author!

    was without a doubt my most anticipated 2018 release. Come on, a modern P&P set in Toronto and featuring two Muslim characters. It was absolutely perfect and I was all too sorry when it was finished. The characters(main and secondary) , the plot, the comedy and the romance. I need this to be a movie-ASAP! I laughed, I cried, and I fell in love.

  • Miranda Reads

    Ayesha is in her late twenties, unmarried and works for a living (

    ).

    As

    she walks through life with her head held high. Her best friend has a live-in boyfriend, she teaches at a coed school and...

    Her younger cousin, Hafsa, seems to have one

    after another.

    Ayesha swore to herself that she would never go that route...and yet...she finds herself...

    Khalid recently movedherself...notoneand...she's(

    Ayesha is in her late twenties, unmarried and works for a living (

    ).

    As

    she walks through life with her head held high. Her best friend has a live-in boyfriend, she teaches at a coed school and...

    Her younger cousin, Hafsa, seems to have one

    after another.

    Ayesha swore to herself that she would never go that route...and yet...she finds herself...

    Khalid recently moved with his mother to Ayesha's neighborhood. He sees Ayesha every morning flying out of her house with a coffee in hand wearing a vibrant hijab.

    (thanks to the heavy hand of his mother).

    He finds comfort in the rigors of prayer, in wearing traditional clothing and even though some practices are a bit...odd... in the modern world (ie. being forbidden to touch or look at women), Khalid respects and honors the old ways.

    And yet... he cannot seem to help himself when it comes to her. When Khalid sneaks a peek at Ayesha in her outlandishly purple hijab on those early mornings

    Khalid tries to brush these feelings away.

    He has a comfortable job, a few friends and a mother to run everything for him. He's happy...

    Love often comes after marriage and his mother knows him better than anyone, so surely she'd know what's best for him....

    Despite his mother's best efforts, the two of them meet and suddenly... they don't feel quite so lost anymore.

    However, while Ayesha may be devout, Kahlid is traditional.

    Despite Ayesha's immediate dismissal and Kahlid's immediate disregard there is something....something that almost inexplicably draws them together.

    And that special something weaves together their stories like no other.

    With the marriage proposals coming in left and right, an identity theft leading to unimaginable consequences and (above all) Khalid's mother's meddling - how will the two them even survive?

    I am an absolute sucker for Pride & Prejudice remakes and this Muslim-Canadian version is

    This was honestly my first stayed-up-to-midnight-cause-I-gotta-find-out-the-end book of the year.

    Ayesha's personality was perfect as an Elizabeth -

    Ayesha was

    and yet true to her faith. I loved that.

    So many heroines seem to abandon their family and traditions in favor of adventure. To me, it often feels like a way to streamline the writing.

    I adored that the author took the time and effort to create such a tight knit family and had the close relatives always weaving in and out of the story.

    Khalid was truly

    The way he came to life within just a few short pages really set the tone for the novel.

    I truly felt his struggle to remain true to his faith and yet adjust to a world that holds it in such little regard.

    I feel like the media portrayal of devout Muslims is so far skewed that it is an absolute rarity to see anything without the word "terrorist" attached to it on the news.

    It's horrible that without positive representation, painful assumptions are made and inaccuracies are propagated as truth.

    As for the plot - it remains

    and yet is entirely unique.

    The intricacies and petty dramas between Ayesha's family and Khalid's was so incredibly fun to read. I devoured every shocking reveal.

    Oh I would be doing the book a huge disservice if I did not mention the humor. It was absolutely perfect.

    It had so many witty and dry one-liners scattered in that - such as Khalid's first arranged-marriage meeting.

    Perfect and everything that is right with the liteary world. I cannot wait for it to be published so I have an excuse to read it over and over.

    |

    |

    |

    | Snapchat @miranda.reads

    Happy Reading!

  • Liz

    The editors don’t do this book any favors comparing it to Pride and Prejudice. Other than a similar quote at the beginning and two headstrong characters, there aren’t many similarities until you get to the end. The comparison was actually a distraction, as I kept looking for similarities that weren’t there. If anything, this reminds me more of a Shakespearean comedy with its mistaken identities.

    I’m not usually a fan of women’s literature, but I found this book engaged both by head and my heart.

    The editors don’t do this book any favors comparing it to Pride and Prejudice. Other than a similar quote at the beginning and two headstrong characters, there aren’t many similarities until you get to the end. The comparison was actually a distraction, as I kept looking for similarities that weren’t there. If anything, this reminds me more of a Shakespearean comedy with its mistaken identities.

    I’m not usually a fan of women’s literature, but I found this book engaged both by head and my heart. I cared for both of the main characters and enjoyed the way the story plays out.

    This story is told in third person narrative and swings from Ayesha’s life to Khalid’s.

    Jalaluddin does a great job of painting the scene, giving us the rich details to see the rooms, the food, the clothing.

    I also appreciated the way she shows us both the casual and direct prejudice that Khalid encounters as a conservative Muslim and his being forced to choose between assimilation and his religious beliefs. Flip side, he initially looks down his nose at Ayesha, who has a more modern viewpoint.

    This is a fairly standard romance novel, but it’s done well. It’s a fun, mostly light story. Think more along the lines of Crazy Rich Asians than P&P.

    My thanks to netgalley and Berkley Books for an advance copy of this book.

  • Meredith

    The main characters, Ayesha and Khalid are not the typical characters who appear in commercial fiction. Ayesha is a strong, independent Muslim woman who is trying to find herself. Khalid too is trying to find himself. He

    The main characters, Ayesha and Khalid are not the typical characters who appear in commercial fiction. Ayesha is a strong, independent Muslim woman who is trying to find herself. Khalid too is trying to find himself. He uses his faith, strong-willed mother, and traditional Muslim clothing to hide from what he fears. His appearance provokes some to call him a fundamentalist. Ayesha and Khalid are what I loved most about this book and kept me turning the pages.

    While I loved Ayesha and Khalid, I had some issues with the plot. At a certain point, the plot spins out of control as there is too much going on. Trying to cover too many storylines, too many characters, and too much drama detracted from Khalid and Ayesha’s characters. I also had some other issues concerning the plot, but I am not going to get into them because of potential spoilers.

    Overall, in spite of some of the issues I had, this was an enjoyable read. I found Ayesha and Khalid’s characters to be refreshing and I was rooting for them. I also loved Nana and Nani.

    I received an ARC of this book from Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    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

    ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

    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.

    My reviews can also be found on my blog:

  • Nilufer Ozmekik

    Three point five, should I round it up or down ….Up, down , up down, funk you up, up for fantastically developed, amazingly-rounded, strong hero and heroine, sweet, enjoyable rom-com materials capture your heart by extending through pages, down for cliches, third person narration, up for in the name of Jane Austen love , but down for “ it is not close to any other Jane Austen” books, there are too many cheesy parts, oh come on decide, okay, rounded down to three stars.

    First of all, I thi

    Three point five, should I round it up or down ….Up, down , up down, funk you up, up for fantastically developed, amazingly-rounded, strong hero and heroine, sweet, enjoyable rom-com materials capture your heart by extending through pages, down for cliches, third person narration, up for in the name of Jane Austen love , but down for “ it is not close to any other Jane Austen” books, there are too many cheesy parts, oh come on decide, okay, rounded down to three stars.

    First of all, I think advertising this book as Middle Eastern version of “Pride and Prejudice” is not the right definition. It reminded me of soft Shakespearean comedies like “Much Ado About Nothing”, “As You like it”.

    Another book is also on my list advertised as Indian version of the book named “Pride and Prejudice and other flavors” but as we may understand from the name , this book was a real retelling. Its blurb was closer to the classic novel.

    So before starting the book, we may know that Ayesha and Khalid’s story was so different from Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam( most people call him my his last name, Mr. Darcy, we blame it on Colin Firth for being memorable one and his performance was imprinted on my mind forever!)

    I liked Ayesha, strong, sarcastic, smart ( in my opinion there was not much similarities with Elizabeth Bennet and her characterization), independent woman who doesn’t only try learning to exist but live , express and find herself.

    Mostly I liked the chemistry and connection, dialogues between Ayesha and Khalid and that pushed me to round up my stars. But … yeap, there is a big BUT that stopped me to do that.

    What I didn’t like about the book : The hatred Ayesha had to endure and fight against made me want to toss the book too many times from my hands.

    Too many characters and unstopping drama parts are some elements of Middle Eastern culture but those parts didn’t fit this kind of romantic comedy. A little angst and edgy parts are spices of a good-developed novel but if you add over-exaggerated drama, you kill the romance and create a soap-opera kind of melodramatic novel.

    And don’t forget the pace. I got lost so many times. Maybe I had some issues about writing style but I had so many hard times to concentrate and give my full attention to Ayesha and Khalid because too many characters got in their way.

    Only Khalid’s parts about his family’s pressure and his ethical and religious norms giving him hard time to make a choice between his beliefs or being expelled from his society are the closest parts about the prejudice.

    I honestly liked the effort and the book gave me too many food vibes but the things I didn’t like beat the parts I mostly like. Maybe if I didn’t think it was retelling of Pride and Prejudice before I started it and coded this one on my brain as an independent Muslim boy and girl’s sweet and dramatic love story, I would have a better and fairer perspective.

    So much special thanks to Berkley Books and NetGalley for sending me ARC COPY of this book in exchange my honest review.

  • Whitney Atkinson

    The premise and characters alone in this made it so groundbreaking and fun to read. I like that this book explored Islam from both a traditional perspective and a modern one, and how those two interact. The representation in this, the wide cast of brown characters, and the way it's focused from Pride & Prejudice were really done nicely. I liked how snarky and headstrong Ayesha was, and she was modeled after Elizabeth Bennet so well.

    The biggest downfall of this book was the pacing. It was so

    The premise and characters alone in this made it so groundbreaking and fun to read. I like that this book explored Islam from both a traditional perspective and a modern one, and how those two interact. The representation in this, the wide cast of brown characters, and the way it's focused from Pride & Prejudice were really done nicely. I liked how snarky and headstrong Ayesha was, and she was modeled after Elizabeth Bennet so well.

    The biggest downfall of this book was the pacing. It was so incredibly difficult to pick up because I was never sucked in. The plot isn't bad at all, so I think it's a writing style issue for me. It was quite longwinded and the third person narration of this came off a bit dry. I was so uninvested that I ended up skimming the last bits of it just for the scenes that would solve the main action, which I liked, but there definitely seemed to be a lot of filler.

    I'm torn with this book. I wouldn't necessarily call it a romance because there's so many rotating parts, but if you want to read a P&P retelling with a diverse cast, this might be for you.

  • Susanne  Strong

    3.5 Stars* (rounded up)

    In the Muslim culture, arranged marriages are often the norm. Ayesha, however, has never done what her family expects of her. Older than the other girls in her community, Ayesha also has a job: she’s a substitute school teacher and is also a gifted poet. She is passionate and has no qualms about speaking her mind.

    Hafsa is Ayesha’s younger cousin. Full of dreams and unable to standstill. Hafsa has/>Being

    3.5 Stars* (rounded up)

    In the Muslim culture, arranged marriages are often the norm. Ayesha, however, has never done what her family expects of her. Older than the other girls in her community, Ayesha also has a job: she’s a substitute school teacher and is also a gifted poet. She is passionate and has no qualms about speaking her mind.

    Hafsa is Ayesha’s younger cousin. Full of dreams and unable to standstill. Hafsa has turned down proposal after proposal and is determined to wait until receiving at least 100 until she says yes to the “one.”

    Khalid is a conservative Muslim who wears a robe and a skullcap and is a firm believer in arranged marriages. He is sure that his mother will find the right woman for him, someday. Khalid’s conservative dress code has never been a problem for him, until Sheila, a new HR Manager is hired at his place of employment, which brings to light discrimination and prejudice in the workplace and made for quite the heavy read at times.

    I also enjoyed the chemistry between Ayesha and Khalid but was disheartened by the negativity that surrounded the two of them as it brought me down and would truthfully have enjoyed this novel more had it not existed. That aside, the writing in “Ayesha at Last” is absolutely superb.

    This was a buddy read with Ms. Kaceey. This “rom com” garnered a lot more discussion than any other we have read -which is what buddy reads are all about!

    Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing Group and to Uzma Jalaluddin for an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

    Published on Goodreads on 7.6.19.

  • Kaceey

    Well played. I was expecting my dose of romantic comedy. But I came away with an unexpected, profoundly deeper read!

    Heavy tones of race, religion, sexual equality and even fat shaming laced throughout. Yes, this book has it all. And somewhere in the mix is a budding romance.

    I must say, sadly the romance somehow gets lost in the story.

    Ayesha is a young single Muslim woman living with her family in Canada. While she dreams of someday getting married, it/>“Choose

    Well played. I was expecting my dose of romantic comedy. But I came away with an unexpected, profoundly deeper read!

    Heavy tones of race, religion, sexual equality and even fat shaming laced throughout. Yes, this book has it all. And somewhere in the mix is a budding romance.

    I must say, sadly the romance somehow gets lost in the story.

    Ayesha is a young single Muslim woman living with her family in Canada. While she dreams of someday getting married, it appears Ayesha is too busy looking after everyone else, unable to focus on her own happiness.

    Khalid is a young professional single man. Still living with his mother. He is extremely traditional in his beliefs as well as his dress. He too wishes is to be married, but is conflicted with what comes first...love or marriage?

    My struggles with this book were that the banter just felt mean at times. There was so much

    tossed around and directed at Ayesha I had a hard time reading this one. (Of course, it’s just a novel…but still!) I couldn’t find the love and beauty within this story-line.

    On the positive side is the wonderfully warm and loving relationship between Ayesha and her grandfather Nana! I loved and cherished all his words of wisdom that he doled out to Ayesha in her quest to find herself.

    A buddy read with Susanne that sparked some incredible discussions

    Thank you to Elisha at Berkeley Publishing for an ARC to read and review.

  • may ❀

    i meant to write this a very long time ago and then i forgot oops hehe

    MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD

    this book honestly had great potential. judging by the synopsis alone, it basically sounded like the greatest book that would ever grace my life.

    when i picked it up, i became instantly invested in the story but somewhere along the way, between the teeny tiny font and the excessively long sentences, my emotional attachment slowly withered away to nothing

    - i t/>muslim

    i meant to write this a very long time ago and then i forgot oops hehe

    MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD

    this book honestly had great potential. judging by the synopsis alone, it basically sounded like the greatest book that would ever grace my life.

    when i picked it up, i became instantly invested in the story but somewhere along the way, between the teeny tiny font and the excessively long sentences, my emotional attachment slowly withered away to nothing

    - i thought this had a strong start, it showed muslims in their daily life, where the majority of their problems revolved around ridiculous family politics (!!finally!!) and not so much about their race or their colour of skin (which was included too, but to a very BELIEVABLE amount)

    - i liked how khalid's character was standing up for himself and his beliefs from the very start (that was so :') to see)

    - i loved the close knit family ties and the many different family dynamics we got to see

    - i liked how the mosque was given page time and it was shown how the community came together for events and programs

    - but here's where my cons come in

    - going back to khalid and his way of dressing, a couple characters kept saying how HE was so judgemental and yet they were CONSTANTLY judging his style of dress (his ankle-length robe) and the fact that he grew his beard??? like hypocrisy much

    - and his whole development was the fact that he changed both those things to appease the people in his life and i was just baffled why THAT part of him had to be erased. what happened to self-acceptance??

    - khalid's mother started off being the stereotypical, involved indian mother and quickly morphed into this ~witch~ of a character that was out to ruin ayesha's life

    - she played into a lot of stereotypes (the evil, controlling, possessive mother) and opened manyyyy cans of worms that i never felt were properly addressed (literally, her and her daughter's relationship)

    - in my opinion, as a 'halal' romance, i think it was done quite well

    - the scene where they were making roti with the grandmother hfkjdahfkjah

    - there were scenes where they were with each other and you got to see the internal dilemma they were battling out due to the situation (the name switch) they got themselves into

    - and i just WISH it stopped there because that was HONESTLY enough for a lighthearted romance novel

    - but no, we had to get trash-man tarek involved

    - did tarek's character even need to exist? the only answer is no

    - the biggest flaw i found with this book was that it was trying to do EVERYTHING in the world and then some. it tackled racism in the workplace, halal (and,,,,not so halal) relationships, arranged marriages, family disownment, alcoholism, theft, faking identity, self-righteousness & sleazy dudes, daddy issues, masjid politics etc. etc.

    - and i just felt it didnt need to do all that

    - if it stuck to telling a romance story, between two people who would never guess themselves to be compatible, then i would have been concise and enjoyable and not this disaster that ended up happening

    - and for a book that really went long and hard on explanations and internal dialogue, the ending wrapped up much too quickly to be even remotely realistic

    - it's very much 'day-in-the-life' sort of writing and while i appreciated that most of the time, the book felt HUGE

    - it felt drawn out and exaggerated and i really really thought it had so much potential to be something amazing but a lot was lost within the excessive descriptions and the unrealistic drama

    - listen, jane austen

    what she was doing when she wrote pride & prejudice and i think that if the author stayed closer to that narrative, the story would have been so much more enjoyable

    - why cant we just have a cute muslim love story between brown kids without all the excess trash in between???????????????

    idk where this fits in, but there were some character inaccuracies i noticed while reading (i cant remember more than this example :( but there were moments when khalid was talking like a 14th century philosopher and then the next minute hes speaking slang and i was just,,,,,bro are you okay?

    - i know it's supposed to tie into his character, like the socially awkward guy who's trying to fit in, but still, that's a wild jump to make in one conversation

    and yet, the book was funny. it made me laugh out loud. it had it's charming moments, it had it's cute moments.

    but i wish khalid's character development wasn't him giving up who he was for the girl he liked. i wish ayesha would stop having these extreme opinions of everyone while telling them they were too judgemental. i wish tarek didn't exist. i wish the book focused on the romance instead of trying to do a million things. i wish a lot of things

    ~this review is a disaster and so am i, but what else is new??

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