Ayesha at Last

Ayesha at Last

Book - 2019
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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 his engagement to Hafsa is announced, Ayesha must deal with the truth about Khalid, her family... and herself.
Publisher: New York : Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, 2019.
Edition: Berkley trade edition.
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781984802798
Branch Call Number: FIC JALALUDDIN, UZMA
Characteristics: 351 pages ; 21 cm


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Jun 26, 2019

This was a cross between a Harlequin romance and Bollywood meets a Midsummer Night's Dream....lots of convoluted plot twists, misdirection, identity confusion, and just an overall mishmash of silliness. It was not my cup of tea, or should I say, not my cup of Chai. It was the least favorite for me of the three choices for "Red Deer Reads", and I would not recommend that you waste your precious reading time on this particular book.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Jun 17, 2019

More successful as a rom com than as a Pride & Prejudice reboot. This title, set in the Toronto Muslim community is good fun!

AshleyF2008 Jun 14, 2019

I am of a mixed mind on Ayesha at Last. On one hand, the beginning was catching and illuminating. I have never read anything from a Muslim woman's perspective. I enjoyed the characters and the family dynamics.

On the other hand, the conclusion of the book (no spoilers) seemed a bit close-minded for a book that had begun by trying to open minds. Also, there are too many unnecessary perspectives. Nothing was left to the imagination and very little of the book happened 'off-stage'.

JCLGreggW May 24, 2019

A romance full of charm, wit, and warmth, set in a Canadian Muslim community, and an excellent Jane Austen riff to boot. I dare you not to smile while reading this.

Feb 07, 2019

Began with an optimistic attitude that quickly disintegrated. I stopped reading around page 50 - fed up with the Muslim male attitudes shown by Khalib towards women.

SPL_Melanie Nov 06, 2018

Please see summary tag for full review of this book

K_ROK Aug 13, 2018

This was a book I normally wouldn't pick up as Romance is not normally my go-to genre however the story was light and fun. It definitely felt like YA fiction and by the end some of the events seemed unbelievable. I could also have done without all the Shakespeare anecdotes. I saw this story as it's own, rather than a P&P retelling.

Aug 07, 2018

This is a young adult novel, it really is just a romance novel but, in a completely muslim culture context. I was very surprised at this, I expected something more.
I actually just skimmed the majority of the novel and even when I left out a chapter or two and joined in 3 chapters later, I had hardly missed anything.
The book is very light reading. I would not recommend it to readers of more substantive books or even those who expect to learn something from reading a novel.

Jul 25, 2018

I read this book after it was recommended in my book club. I thought it was an intriguing read. However, I didn't relate it to a modern Pride and Prejudice retelling as many other readers did. A major thing the book did was draw you into the characters so very well, that you could understand who they are and where they are coming from (even those you don't agree with [the moms lol]. It was also an easy book to visualize as you read through it. I found it very interesting to learn about another culture, their traditions and the different views on marriage and relationships. So I think if you are looking to learn, to be inspired by a strong woman, to fall in love with your opposite, its a great book to read.

neyoscribbles Jul 18, 2018

Any novel that adopts the patterns of a classic like Pride and Prejudice can be enjoyed in one or two sittings. Though it is very P&P-esque, it is still unique because this novel presents an opportunity to break some of the stereotypes that not only box in Muslims but really any group who is constantly presented as extremists within our community/media. At the end of the day, the characters are all 20 to 30 something year old adults trying to establish and redefine themselves as their own individuals apart from an overbearing and protective immigrant family.

Having said that though, I disliked that the author had to be extreme in order to prove a difficult point about an immigrant family's sense of belonging to their new home while attempting to implement the traditions and staying connected to their roots back home. Some parts just did not feel genuine when you mix in super cliche 'Aunties' spewing rumors and others citing Shakespeare all too often.

Regardless, I still enjoyed the absurdity of some of the situations and my ability to relate to some of the experiences of the protagonist. Added bonus: the references to many parts of Scarborough I know all too well.


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SPL_Melanie Nov 06, 2018

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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