Length: 368 pages
Audiobook Length: 11 hours and 10 minutes
First Published: 2022
Ayesha at Last is a Muslim Pride and Prejudice retelling set in modern-day Canada, that is more inspired by Pride and Prejudice instead of being an exact retelling. A devout Muslim girl, Ayesha has given up her dreams of being a poet to become a teacher with a dependable salary. Although her cousin Hafsa is meeting potential suitors for an arranged marriage, Ayesha would rather find love on her own terms. When she meets the handsome but conservative Khalid, she is caught off guard by his sharp wit and his judgmental attitude.
I thought Ayesha at Last worked great as a love story, as you instantly fall in love with both strong Ayseha and gentle Khalid. Although I didn’t like that some of the side characters were stereotypically one-dimensional, I thought Jalaluddin did an excellent job portraying what it is like being both modern and conservative, reminding you that observant doesn’t equal backwards or oppressed.
Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid, who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and who dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.
When a surprise engagement is announced between Khalid and Hafsa, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.
Quotes from Ayesha At Last
Just remember to pack light. Dreams tend to shatter if you’re carrying other people’s hopes around with you.
He is a person, complicated and confused. Just like you.
A good teacher grows, they’re not born.
About Uzma Jalaluddin
Uzma Jalaluddin is an author whose works include Ayesha At Last and Hana Khan Carries On. Jalaluddin lives near Toronto. Visit the author’s website →