Ayesha at LastBook - 2019
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.
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At this dreary season in the year, brighten up a rainy day with some fresh, sparkling perspectives on romance! All three of these contemporary novels explore what happens when a young, busy working woman finally meets someone special – although in each story, the potential of The Man is certainly not clear at first glance.
In The Proposal, Nikole meets Carlos after she turns down a very public proposal from her short term boyfriend, and they begin a sexy flirtation – but is that all it is? This novel has snappy dialogue, wit, and is quite high on the spicy scale. It’s the second novel by Guillory (her first is The Wedding Date) and in both books, the main character is a determined and successful woman who enjoys her relationships.
A Princess in Theory introduces a new series by Alyssa Cole, Reluctant Royals (book two, A Duke By Default is also in the library now). Naledi, an American grad student, gets a series of spam emails claiming she is the true soulmate of Prince Thabiso of the African country of Thesolo – deleted, of course. Shortly after, she meets and immediately clicks with her new neighbour Jamal. But is Jamal who he says he is? He doesn’t seem familiar with the basics of life, like cooking or taking the subway… This is a clever story featuring a heroine who is a successful, smart scientist. It sets up the next book in the series well, and provides lots of laughs, suspense, and a slightly elevated spicy rating.
Ayesha At Last is inspired by Pride & Prejudice and is set in Scarborough amongst the Muslim community. Its spicy rating is quite low, and the romantic tangle comes more from community expectations and the main characters’ mistaken assumptions about one another. Ayesha meets Khalid at their mosque when she is volunteered once again to take her flighty cousin Hafsa’s place on a committee, and thus is mistaken for Hafsa. But it’s this very cousin who Khalid’s mother is trying to set him up with, leading to confusion all around. Drama, a large cast, and a seasoning of humour result in an entertaining Canadian read.
If you are in the mood to warm up with a good romance, any of these might do. Or ask us for more suggestions, any time!
(as published in the Stratford Beacon Herald Nov 9 2018)
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