CBR Square- Violet
Ayesha At Last is a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in a Muslim community in Toronto. Ayesha is a teacher but wants to be a poet and travel the world, and Khalid is a more conservative Muslim who wants his mother to arrange his marriage. It is a story about the experiences of immigrants, traditions competing with modern society, and a hero who learns that he can keep his identity and the things that he feels are important while also falling in love.
I liked this a lot. The villainess at Khalid’s job feels like a caricature, but the anti-Muslim violence and discrimination after 9/11 taught me that people are strongly attached to their biases against Muslims. My husband’s boss was attacked, spit on, yelled at, and he is a Sikh, not a Muslim. Khalid’s mother is a more fleshed out villainess, and her motivations are clear but her behavior is pretty horrifying. The plot with the mosque is a bit of a confusing stretch to fit the plot points of Pride and Prejudice, it seems like a lot of what happened had to hinge on Khalid’s mother telling a huge lie that I am not sure based on her prior actions she would do. I’m married to someone who had to tell his mother to butt out of his personal life a dozen years ago, so I did enjoy what happened to Khalid’s mother. Honestly, if the plot was a sweet very chaste romance I might have liked it even more. There is family, and nice friendships depicted, and a woman who proposes to her boyfriend who needs a bit of a jolt, and some Shakespeare. It was a fun and light read.