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 Prejudice Firmly In Place, Jalaluddin Lays The Groundwork For A Raucous Story That Mixes A Zany Cast Of Characters With A Tightly Wound Plot. You re very honest I have been told it s one of my worst qualities Ayesha is in her late twenties, unmarried and works for a living cue the muted gasps of horror As a modern Muslim, she walks through life with her head held high Her best friend has a live in boyfriend, she teaches at a coed school andshe s lonely Very lonely.Her younger cousin, Hafsa, seems to have one arranged marriage proposal after another Ayesha swore to herself that she would never go that routeand yetshe finds herselfnot quite jealous, but wistful. 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.Khalid is nothing if not devout 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 bitodd 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 he feels wistful.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 or so he thought I will find you the perfect wife modest, not too educated Love often comes after marriage and his mother knows him better than anyone, so surely she d know what s best for him or so he thought It is so difficult to find a truly well trained girl these days So many modern ideas about education and careers When I was growing up, a girl knew her role Despite his mother s best efforts, the two of them meet and suddenly they don t feel quite so lost any However, while Ayesha may be devout, Kahlid is traditional And they clash Oh do they clash. You have a job Khalid asked, surprised I also dress myself, bathe myself, drive a car and have opinions about things, Ayesha said. Despite Ayesha s immediate dismissal and Kahlid s immediate disregard there is something.something that almost inexplicably draws them together When he looked at her, he was not sure what he saw.But he was starting to feel something. 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 Marriage is too important to leave to chance. This is one for the ages I am an absolute sucker for Pride Prejudice remakes and this Muslim Canadian version is absolutely divine 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 strong, spunky and sassy.Ayesha was wonderfully outspoken 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 an inspiring character The way he came to life within just a few short pages really set the tone for the novel Are they afraid of me Khalid wondered When Shelia looks at me, what does she see 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 true to the original 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 And the humor 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 Did you talk to her or stare at the floor she asked lightly It wasn t just me Everyone was staring at the floor They had a really nice carpet All in all this book was brilliant 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 I don t think this is the end of of the story for you With thanks to Berkley Publishing for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.All quotes come from an unedited proof and are subject to change upon publication. Sometimes there were no words, only sunshine on your heart Ayesha at Last is a romantic comedy about marriage, love, and family in the Muslim culture The plot loosely mirrors Pride and Prejudice but also incorporates elements of Shakespeare and other literature 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 give Jalaluddin props for pushing boundaries and presenting characters that go outside of the box.I received an ARC of this book from Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 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 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 modern viewpoint This is a fairly standard romance novel, but it s done well It s a fun, mostly light story Think along the lines of Crazy Rich Asians than PP My thanks to netgalley and Berkley Books for an advance copy of this book. 3.5 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 Choose laughter over tears 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 firstlove or marriage My struggles with this book were that the banter just felt mean at times There was so much hate 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 discussionsThank you to Elisha at Berkeley Publishing for an ARC to read and review. Because 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.All the stars for this debut Canadian author Ayesha at Last was without a doubt my most anticipated 2018 release Come on, a modern PP 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. 3.5 Stars rounded up Being yourself and following your heart is not always easy, nor is it allowed 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 loved Ayesha as she made me smile throughout 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 had it not existed That aside, the writing in Ayesha at Last is absolutely superb If you enjoy rom coms with heart that also have a serious side to them, I recommend Ayesha at Last This was a buddy read with Ms Kaceey This rom com garnered a lot 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. i meant to write this a very long time ago and then i forgot oops heheMINOR SPOILERS AHEADthis 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 nothingmuslim rep stereotypes 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 the romance 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 notrying to do too much 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 realisticthe writing 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 knew 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 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 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 Ayesha at Last is a modern day retelling of Pride and Prejudice with a Muslim main character I loved it 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 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 www.jennifertarheelreader.com 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 PP retelling with a diverse cast, this might be for you. 3.5 starsI ll admit I almost passed on this book because I thought does the world really need yet another modern day retelling of Pride and Prejudice Thankfully, I went ahead and read this book anyway and I can honestly say it feels like something fresh and different and not something I have read a hundred times before Ayesha Shamsi lives in Canada and is working as teacher even though she has dreams of being a poet Her cousin Hafsa is younger than Ayesha but she has already rejected numerous marriage proposals Enter Khalid, who Ayesha kinda sorta likes but also kinda sorta hates because he comes across as super judgmental But now that he is set to marry Hafsa, Ayesha s feelings towards him don t even matter, right RIGHT It took me a pretty long time to warm up to Khalid and I much preferred Ayesha s parts of the story I do wonder if I would have liked the book a tad if the focus would have only been on Ayesha rather than being split among multiple characters I love how the book featured Muslim characters and the different ways the author was able to weave that into the story really sets this book apart from typical romances Definitely recommend giving this one a chance even if you feel like you have read one too many modern day retellings of classic books This one is worth a read in my opinion.I won a free advance copy of this book in a giveaway but was under no obligation to post a review All views expressed are my honest opinion.