I have read Ayesha at Last to completion.
Ayesha finally revealed who she really is to Khalid at his and Hafsa’s engagement party, who he thought was Ayesha. They had the conference/singles mixer, and it went well. Farzana’s (Khalid’s mother) reputation was essentially ruined and Khalid moved out of her home. The engagement was broken off, and Hafsa went missing, but she came back, as did Zareena (Khalid’s sister). Then, Khalid got engaged to Ayesha, at last.
The book is strongly focused on family, loving and caring for them but also knowing when they’ve gone too far. Khalid was way too trusting of his mother, Farzana, and Ayesha was too forgiving of her cousin, Hafsa. By the end of the book, everyone matured and learned to care for themselves as well. Another theme in the book is about communication. So many simple issues could be fixed if people just talked to each other. If Ayesha never posed as Hafsa, if Farzana and Hafsa didn’t go behind Khalid’s back, if Khalid understood the situation with Zareena. So many things.
There were many powerful scenes and messages in the book, including the scenes my group and I shared shared for our podcast. The first scene sets off all the events in the book. It’s when Ayesha (as Hafsa) and Khalid first meet at the council meeting. Scene two is when Sheila tries to sabotage Khalid’s career but instead screws herself over. It’s a great moment where Khalid is pushed out of his comfort zone and Sheila gets what she deserves. The third scene is when Khalid visits Ayesha’s house and her grandmother teaches him how to cook. They bond and fall even further in love. Scene four is the when Farzana manipulates Khalid into thinking he’s marrying the girl of his dreams, all because of the misunderstanding Hafsa and and Ayesha created. In the final scene we chose to reflect on, Hafsa runs away after Khalid breaks off their engagement, planning to elope with Tarek (the conference organizer), but he breaks her heart.
This book is set in modern day Canada, in a community of mainly South Asian Muslims. An interview of three Canadian Muslim women by Canadian Living revealed one woman’s observation that people often overlook that veiled Muslims can come from Africa and not just South Asia or the Middle East. Another woman shared her experience of when she moved to Canada and was appalled that a bill which would prohibit religious symbols at work was being discussed in Quebec. This actually closely relates to a point in the book where Khalid is discriminated against by Sheila for his religion. The last woman’s belief may not be clear at first sight, but it is deeply rooted, so when she heard news about a shooting at a mosque in Quebec, she was heartbroken to think about all the families it tore apart.
Lastly, there is a surprisingly (at least for me) amount of Muslims living in Canada – over one million and 3.2% of Canada’s total population. The population of Muslims really started to grow in the 1960’s, when Canada adopted a new immigration policy. Now, the population is growing faster than ever. These statistics from A New Life show the significance of this community of Muslims.