I’m reading Ayesha at Last, a book about a very traditional Muslim man, Khalid, who wants a wife and a more modern Muslim woman, Ayesha, who doesn’t care about marriage. At first they hate each other, but slowly they start to fall in love. Also there’s a huge misunderstanding where Khalid thinks Ayesha is her cousin, Hafsa. It’s honestly kind of hard to read.
Khalid has known all his life that he wants his mother to pick his wife for him. He trusts her judgement and believes in arranged marriages. So, when his mother finds out about Ayesha and tricks him into believing he’s going to marry her, he gets so excited. Really, he’s now engaged to Hafsa, Ayesha’s cousin, but he doesn’t know her real name.
I’m not sure what the themes or messages of the book are. Maybe tell people the truth from the start? Or don’t blindly trust people, even if they’re family. Or maybe the message is to do these things to make your life more interesting. I guess I’ll find out as I read more of the book.
Ayesha at Last is the debut novel of author Uzma Jalaluddin. As a Canadian Muslim school teacher, she shares a lot in common with the protagonist of the story. She never saw much Muslim representation in books, so she decided to write her own book. According to an article by She Does The City, Jalaluddin adores the way Pride and Prejudice, the book Ayesha at Last was based on, was written. The wit, comedy, and warmth of Jane Austen’s storytelling brings Jalaluddin back time and time again for every adaptation of the story she can find. So naturally she decided to write her own story that was so unique and interesting as an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
The novel introduces the reader to a Muslim community which many have never experienced before. I know I’ve learned a lot about their culture just from reading the book. Clearly the author knows what she’s talking about.
I’ve never actually read Pride and Prejudice so prediction what will happen next is tough. The truth will probably reveal itself in a dramatic way, Khalid finding out with shock who Ayesha actually is. There will be fallout and drama, but eventually they’ll end up together. it is a love story, after all. that’s my prediction, but I’m sure there will be some other curveball, Something about Khalid’s sister maybe.
Overall, though I am kind of annoyed by the misunderstandings, I have enjoyed reading the book and I’m excited to finish it!