Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Monday, May 27, 2019


by Uzma Jalaluddin
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Publication Date: June 4th 2019
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★★1/2
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷✷

Ayesha at Last was a book I just couldn't wait to get my hands on to because:
a) Look at that gorgeous cover!
b) P&P retelling!
c) Brown people falling in love!
d) Did I mention, the gorgeous cover?????

I'm so happy that Ayesha at Last hit all the right notes for me.  It was such a gorgeously written debut and I, for one, can't wait to see what Uzma comes up with next!

Ayesha at Last was charming from start to finish, and a lot of it has to do with the characters. I adored each and every one of them. They will seem very familiar to readers who have read or watched Pride & Prejudice, but Uzma Jalaluddin still manages to make them across as fresh and delightful. I adored Ayesha. She was feisty, smart and very bull-headed, exactly like Lizzie Bennett. She had dreams and hopes of being a poet and was very passionate about the art. A misunderstanding at the local mosque pushes Ayesha to take the identity of her colorful cousin, Hafsah, and to be forced in the proximity of Khalid, a man she had previously met at a poetry lounge who had made assumptions about the kind of Muslim girl she was. Khalid, at first glance, may not seem anything like Ayesha. He was very devout and conservative and as a result, seemed a little quiet and stoic. To say that I loved Khalid would be a serious understatement. He may have initially judged Ayesha when he first met her, but he was such a kind soul. There was something very genuine and innocent about his character that I could not resist.

Ayesha and Khalid's romance was one that was developed slowly. I loved watching them gradually connect with each other and become acquainted with each others' real personalities. They meshed beautifully together and there were so many heartwarming and adorable scenes the two shared. These two certainly had my shipper heart very giddy! Admittedly, this isn't a romance novel that has any physical scenes of any kind between the couple, but that does not mean there is no sense of intimacy between the pair. In fact, I think the lack of actual physical scenes made Ayesha and Khalid's romance all the more intense for me. They both had a lot to overcome and their path to a happily ever after was far from without any obstacles. If you know anything about dramatic brown families, then you know exactly the sort of upheavals to expect with this book. I was delighted though so many of the faces were familiar. I especially adored Ayesha's grandparents, who were just breaths of fresh air. I also loved how rich in culture Ayesha at Last was. You see so much of both Ayesha and Khalid's traditions throughout the book. In particular, I was pleased with how Uzma Jalaluddin showed just how diverse and sometimes personal religion and faith can be to people. You see all shades of Muslims in this book and no one is villainized.

Ayesha at Last is definitely a book whose interior is just as lovely as the exterior. It was a beautiful and important tale of love, family,  faith, and life, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

What are some of your favorite P&P retelling?
Let me know in the comments below!

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