This is a new publication (pub Jan 22, 2019), a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice set in Pakistan. I love, love, love Pride & Prejudice, re-read it regularly and also read most re-tellings/re-imaginings (except the zombie one, I can’t get my head around that at all!!). My favorite of these is Eligible by Curtis Sittenfield. But it feels rude to talk about that book in a review of a completely different book but do check it out if you like P&P re-tellings.
Ms. Kamal weaves a good story and the background details about life in Pakistan for unmarried women (of any age) was absolutely fascinating. The obsession with weddings and parties and marrying off daughters was told very well, and vivid descriptions of the clothes and food were right up my alley! I did have one beef in that the Urdu words were often used in the descriptions of the clothes and my poor Kindle dictionary/Wikipedia was not liking them at all. So I found it difficult to visualise in my head what sort of things people would be wearing in a given setting. I could of course, have used Google but didn’t really want to take myself out of the story to Google eastern styles of dress.
The book was long (352 pages) and very dense. It took a long time for Elizabeth and Darcy to meet (here called Alys and Darsee). I understand why the names had to be changed to suit the story but some of the name choices would stop me short every time Fahad “Bungles” Bingla was Bingley and as for Wickham’s first name, I couldn’t read it without cringing.
I would recommend this only to the most die-hard of P&P fans. This is not the book to get started on P&P retellings. I didn’t buy into the relationship between Alys and Darsee although the drama between Jane and Bingley (Jena and Bungles) was better done. Altogether a somewhat disappointing read for me.