Book: Ayesya At Last
Author: Uzma Jalaluddin
Published: June 12, 2018
Publisher: Harper Collins
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 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. (Goodreads)
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My rating: 5 stars
I loved this book! It’s a must have.
As you know, I need to read any Pride and Prejudice retellings I can find. And this one…oh this one.
Ayesha at Last is my favourite Pride and Prejudice reimagining yet.
This book is hilarious and sweet and frustrating and romantic all at the same time. It’s a romance, a coming of age story, and a diverse and unique retelling of the classic tale about first impressions, family obligations, and social scandal.
I couldn’t put this book down. I loved reading the parts in Ayesha’s perspective. I loved reading the parts in Khalid’s perspective. I loved the sections that overlapped and let me see both of their takes on the same scene.
I don’t read nearly enough books by Canadian authors, and I’ve only read a handful of books actually set in Canada. I lived in Toronto for about 8 months, and reading about the locations I had been was really cool. As a Canadian, I’m so excited to shout about this book to the entire world.
Pride and Prejudice is all about those first impressions and the misconceptions that often come from judging someone by their appearance or off-hand comments. Uzma Jalaluddin has taken those topics into the 21st century by rewriting the familiar tale from her own perspective as a contemporary Muslim-Canadian woman. She’s added in the element of fear — of people who are of a different faith than you or who practice the same faith a little differently, or in an extreme (to you) way. She tackles both overt and subtle prejudices, conscious and unconscious prejudices, and even self-prejudice in Ayesha at Last in a smart, completely accessible way, without ever preaching to the reader.
The relationships, the dialogue, the scenes, the transitions. This book is magnificent.
I can’t wait to see what Uzma writes next. Until then, I’m going to go reread Ayesha at Last.
What Pride and Prejudice retellings do you love?