Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Ayesha At Last

Uzma Jalaluddin

When a surprise engagement is announced between Khalid and Hafsa, Ayesha is torn due to unsettling new gossip she hears. She finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.

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A modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice for a new generation of love.

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 who dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.

When a surprise engagement is announced between Khalid and Hafsa, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.


Advance Galley Reviews

I will read anything that has to do with Pride and Prejudice or Jane Austen. A N Y T H I N G. And when I saw a Pride and Prejudice with Muslim characters was coming out, I shouted and flailed. The more people who can see themselves in this story, the better! Everyone wants a happily ever after after shouting at a rich dude, right? Exactly. Ayesha At Last did not disappoint. Ayesha and Khalid are wonderfully written characters. They banter, they fight, they learn, and they love. I smiled so much while reading this. Let's get to the review! Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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. Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself. The book switches between Ayesha and Khalid's POV. So unlike the original, we get to know both of their thoughts and feelings which I LOVE!. Ayesha has a lot to deal with. Her young cousin Hafsa is like Lydia Bennet, but in the modern age and Ayesha has her hands full ensuring she is happy and not getting into too much trouble. She also has to deal with her own immediate family including her distant mother, not to mention everyone in the neighborhood wondering if she'll ever get married. Oh and did I mention she is also a new teacher?! She has to deal with students that are...less than lovely. Like I said, Ayesha has a lot going on. But so does Khalid. He is constantly worried about his sister who was sent overseas to be married to a stranger because of her "misbehavior". He has to deal with his mother who wants to control his whole life including who he marries. Additionally, he works as an e-commerce project manager and tries to make his incredibly Islamophobic boss happy so she won't fire him (not an easy task). He also has just met a strong young woman who fights with him and who he may or may not have feelings for. Her name is...AYESHA.  Ayesha and Khalid do not get off to a great start. This is Pride and Prejudice after all. It must start with a misunderstanding. Khalid says something insulting about Ayesha, she hears it, and vows to dislike him forever (ok that's not exactly it but you get my point). But through planning an event at their masque and a few meetings planned by their mutual friend, Clara, they begin to enjoy each other's company. Unfortunately, the people in their lives have other plans. Khalid's mother picks someone for him to marry who is not Ayesha and Hafsa gets herself into something none of them could have imagined. I absolutely loved this book. It has just enough of Pride and Prejudice that die-hard fans will recognize the call-backs, but also is definitely it's own story. You don't need to have read Austen to enjoy this. It's fun and romantic and the characters could honestly not be better developed. Ayesha and Khalid come to accept each other for who they are, but also find out things about themselves along the way. I am giving Ayesha at Last 4 out of 5 stars. I love Pride and Prejudice and I'm so happy there are diverse re-tellings coming out for those who never saw themselves in the original. Please pick up this book. You will not be disappointed. Ayesha at Last comes out June 4, 2019 Thank you to First to Read and Berkley Books for the free eARC in exchange for an honest review!

I don't often read retellings but I enjoyed this one. It's a pretty well done retelling with good writing and interesting characters. 4/5 stars.

I love me some Pride and Prejudice retellings!! This book did not disappoint. Such an education to me as well into Muslim culture. It makes you think about stereotypes without slamming them down your throat. I enjoyed the characters, the story, the romance, the culture. Wonderful, light read. Perfect for spring/summer!! Thank you First2Read :)

True Rating: 3.75/5 As far as Pride and Prejudice retellings go, this is a fairly decent one. If you're familiar with the original, then its easy to see the parallels between the two. Which isn't a bad thing. It was entertaining trying to figure out how the big plot points of the original would unfold. Besides, there were moments where I was completely engrossed, that I forgot it was a retelling! What I particularly liked was the dual viewpoint. We see what Ayesha is up to, how she feels, we understand her. We also get Khalid's view! So his horrid first proposal? Completely makes sense because we've come to see how and why he acts the way he does. A big part of this story weaves religion (Islam) into the narrative. Both Ayesha and Khalid are devout Muslims, which is crucial to the way they interact with one another. I really liked how that was explored. The overall tone of the story is pretty upbeat and light-hearted. But there are moments where things got really real. It is a modern-day retelling so prejudice towards Muslims does appear. The way it was handled is important. Especially as hatred spreads through our society like wildfire. One thing I did not like? Lydia's (okay, that's not her name in this book, but I am not spoiling the story by telling you who she is) happily ever after. Ugh! Why?? She's so annoying! :/ *Thank you First to Read for providing an eARC in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own and based solely on the book*

This was a really interesting retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in a modern day Muslim community. I enjoy reading Jane Austen books as well as books about different cultures, so this was a perfect combination of the two. I thought the Rishtas were hilarious and cringe worthy at the same time. Although there is something to be said for holding on to tradition and having your parents play match maker, women being appraised like cattle is something left to be desired. Insert Ayesha who's personality I found to be very refreshing. I enjoyed how strong willed and opinionated she was, never bowing down to a ruthless Aunty or afraid to speak her mind. In a culture that believes that love blossoms after marriage it was cute to see how Ayesha and Khalid's love story unfolds unconventionally which I surprisingly found to be endearing and not cheesey. Although this was a retelling of a classic, the plot was still very unique and filled with all kinds of twists and turns that kept me glued to the page. I still have 2 more retellings of Pride and Prejudice that I want to read this year but this one really set the bar high! I hope the others are just as good as this one.

5 stars for me. I loved Ayseha and Khalid's story and think this was a worthy Price and Prejudice retelling. To be honest, it 's been many years (ahem, maybe 20?) since my last reading of Pride and Prejudice, and this story makes me want to revisit it soon. I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of a classic story with a modern Muslim community. I thought this was very readable, I connected to the characters, I loved learning about another culture, and I had a hard time putting it down. Somewhere during the last third of the book, I took to the internet to find out if the author, Uzma Jalaluddin, has a backlist- turns out this is her debut. Hopefully that means there will be more stories coming. Thanks to Penguin's First to Read program for access to an Advance Review Copy of this book.

what a ride this was. wild. because so many things were going on but i loved it! i never felt like any of it overshadowed Ayesha and Khalid. Now, I've never read or watched anything Pride and Prejudice related. i only know of it from twitter posts lol. But i feel like i was able to see the correlations. Ayesha and Khalid were both sooo judgy of each other. So much judgement from Kalid because he sees A out at a lounge and questions the type of Muslim she is, and Ayesha is equally judging Khalid for being a more conservative Muslim. I truly wanted to shake them both. Also whew A's cousin was just a terrible spoiled brat, she saw the error of her ways at the end but wowwwwww that child was doing the most. I was a bit concerned when I saw reviews stating that Khalid had this makeover and changed but realize now those were a bit misleading???? He does get a makeover for a specific reason SPOILER!!!!!!!!......... . . . . . so he could confront the HR lady who had it out for him and got him fired! and this was the only way she'd agree to see him since she didnt even recognize him until he was there. So this change was not because he was forced into it by Ayesha or anyone else and he even puts back on his robe after. So i'm not sure why some people phrased it like he was made to change his entire self. Anyway i found this book to be funny (omg Masood as a character was killing meeee) and showed alot of growth for Ayesha and Khalid as individuals. And i found how they eventually fell for each other really sweet. Just to note this book is no heat. No kissing. Also the way he shows he cared for Ayesha was a pretty great gesture IMO (enlisting her brother's help to bring down that scum!)

This is one of those books that I was so sad to finish! Ayesha At Last held my attention from beginning to end, with it's time tested plotline and realistic characters. It showed people who are flawed and hurt, but still willing to hold on to hope and love. The characters grow and I was even wrapped up in the storylines of the secondary characters, in the end rooting for everyone. I am so excited to see what this author has in store for the future!

I enjoyed this Jane Austen inspired story loosely based on Pride and Prejudice. As Nana says, “alls well that ends well.”

I loved this book so much! What a beautiful and well written story. It was so easy to root for Ayesha and Khalid. I love any retelling of Pride and Prejudice and this was no exception. I really enjoyed learning more about Muslim culture as well!

I loved reading a novel centering Muslim characters and families who are, largely, happy and living normal lives, concerned with falling in love, building a home, deciding how to spend your life, all questions that we ask ourselves growing up. That said, it was really fun to read and see more Muslim and Indian-specific culture that was included. It is a lovely, fun, and engaging read.

I absolutely ADORED this retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I am admittedly a sucker for any Pride and Prejudice adaptations, but this is my favorite I have read. The author did a fantastic job of weaving enough elements of Jane Austen's story, but with so many of her own original spins that it kept it interesting and not as predictable as one would think. I was impressed with the different layers and story lines that seamlessly intertwined and came together. I fell in love Ayesha and Khalid. All of the characters are well written and easy to either love or hate. Highly recommend this. I couldn't put it down and I can't say enough good about it. 5/5!

I was drawn to Ayesha at Last because I enjoy reading #ownvoices, and because I was intrigued by the colorful cover art (of the upcoming US version) of the woman wearing a purple hijab. Thank you, First to Read, for giving me the opportunity to read and review it. Ayesha at Last is a contemporary story featuring a creative, independent young woman (Ayesha) who effectively navigates between cultures, and a conservative young man (Khalid) who prefers holding on to tradition at all costs. The thing is, they both still have a lot of growing up to do. When they first meet and as they get to know each other, both of them get stuck in their own judgmental thinking. Ayesha " . . . had always seen the world and the people who inhabited it exactly as they were: flawed, imperfect, eager to think the worse of others while excusing their own misdeeds." Equally rigid in his righteousness, Khalid is not easily moved. So from the very beginning, they have difficulty trusting each other. Then, plot twists (one after another!) and this is what makes Ayesha at Last a quick page-turning read. I could not put it down!

This is one of my favorite modern adaptations of Pride and Prejudice. The author does a great job of illustrating the societal struggles of a Muslim woman growing up in Toronto and dealing with the expectations of her family. I didn't feel like the story went in unbelievable directions just to hit the major Pride and Prejudice plot points. We need more heroines likes Ayesha. This was a lovely read and I look forward to more books by the author.

Ayesha Shamsi is a busy girl. She has put aside her dreams of becoming a poet, instead she works as a substitute teacher so that she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives in Toronto with her boisterous Muslim family who always reminded her that her beautiful younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Even though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid who handsome and smart, yet overly straightforward and conservative. She finds him incredibly irritating and judgemental of her, yet she is attracted to him. When a surprise engagement between Khalid and Hafsa is announced, Ayesha is torn between her feelings for Khalid and her own purpose. But Khalid is also struggling balancing his wants against his beliefs—he can't stop thinking about Ayesha. I first heard of this book at an author event I went to last summer (doesn't summer seem like forever ago?) and I was immediately intrigued. It was wonderful to hear Uzma speak about her inspiration for the book. She is utterly delightful and enchanting and I encourage you to attend any of her events. Jalaluddin is engaging with her gift for penning dialogue. The writing was clever with humour sprinkled throughout. She also highlighted the timely and relevant issues that immigrants face, even in countries that are more multicultural. Toronto was the perfect setting and I enjoyed learning more about their Muslim communities. Jalaluddin deftly guides the readers though the complex duality that her characters face; they are trying to honour their beliefs and culture without being conformed by the society they are trying to assimilate. I highly recommend this modern retelling that has has been optioned for film. What a great acquisition! I think that this piece will translate well on the big screen and I really hope the studio stays true to the book and shoots it in Toronto. Congratulations, Uzma!

I really enjoyed this lovely light read! I have to say I haven’t read Pride and Prejudice so couldn’t compare it to that (though other reviews successfully have). For me, it tells the story of Ayesha and Khalid: two young people in their 20s trying to navigate the world. They both encounter issues with their families, with love, and with their careers. There is also the added religious dynamic, as they both have their own interpretation what it means to be Muslim. Because there were so many layers to this story and so many different things that go on with the characters, it was more stimulating that your classic light read. I also really enjoyed the cultural differences (as a white, non-religious British person), and I’m aware that Uzma Jalaluddin has said in interviews that she draws heavily on her own experiences growing up in a Muslim community in Canada. Only draw back for me was that the some of the spoken conversations seemed stilted at times. All in all, a really nice light read that I couldn’t put down! Finished it in a couple of days... Thoroughly enjoyed! 4/5 stars!

To be honest, I forgot this was a P&P retelling until halfway through the book. The Muslim characters have different challenges than the Bennet girls, but family and societal expectations still play a huge role in the main characters’ choices. It seems like some of the tertiary characters come and go as needed, but the main plot is well done, and not so dependent on Austen as to be a scene-for-scene copy. I enjoyed reading this.

 


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