Uzma Jalaluddin’s debut novel is billed as a modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice, but any Elizabeth-and-Darcy-esque plot points pale in comparison to the real romance and individuals Ayesha at Last finds in the Toronto community. Khalid and Ayesha navigate the myriad definitions of love, faith, friendship, family, marriage, and more in this resonant 21st-century tale, flavored lightly with Indian cooking, spoken-word poetry, and tech-world shenanigans, that does not disappoint in either its characters or its heart.
As seen on The Today Show! One of the best summer romance picks!
One of Publishers Weekly Best Romance Books of 2019!
A modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice for a new generation of love.
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.
About the Author
Uzma Jalaluddin is a teacher and also writes a funny parenting column named “Samosas and Maple Syrup” for the Toronto Star, Canada's largest daily newspaper. Her debut novel is Ayesha at Last.
Praise for Ayesha at Last
“A delicious and entertaining novel.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"There’s an overabundance of Pride and Prejudice retellings, but few are as thoughtful and creative as this stellar debut from an author to watch."—Library Journal (starred review)
“Jalaluddin cleverly illustrates the social pressures facing young Indian-Muslim adults...a highly entertaining tale of family, community, and romance.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"'Ayesha at Last' is light and incandescent and deeply pleasurable from start to finish."—The Christian Science Monitor
"Jalaluddin constructs a timely and enlightening narrative that validates the experiences of many South Asians and Muslims today, while weaving in universal themes of identity, class, and discrimination....Ayesha at Last's fictional universe acts as a microcosm of a diverse and oft-misunderstood community, and Jalaluddin's compassionate and sensitive writing about it radiates off the page."—NPR
“This sweet debut novel ticks all the boxes for one of summer’s best reads: it’s smart, witty, romantic and utterly charming.”—Canadian Living
“Come for Darcy reimagined as a hyper-conservative young man and Elizabeth Bennet as a wannabe poet frustrated by family obligation; stay for Uzma Jalaluddin’s warm portrait of life for twentysomething Muslims in suburban Toronto struggling to honor their heritage while pursuing their dreams.”—The Globe and Mail
“[An] irresistible debut.”—Goodreads
“An uproarious romp, filled with farcical cases of mistaken identity, disastrous proposals and a big Bollywood wedding.”—Toronto Life
“This is the book I’ve been waiting for since my long-running Jane Austen obsession. Move over Darcy, Khalid’s in town.”—S. K. Ali, author of Morris Award finalist, Saints and Misfits
“Uzma Jalaluddin blazes a brilliant new trail with Ayesha At Last, a captivating romance set in the Muslim community, brimming with humour and heart. You will fall in love with Ayesha and Khalid—an Elizabeth and Darcy for our times.”—Ausma Zehanat Khan, author of A Dangerous Crossing
“Ayesha At Last is the modern Pride & Prejudice retelling I never knew I needed. Warm, witty, romantic, and relatable. Honestly, Darcy who? Khalid is everything.”—Alisha Rai, award-winning author
“Ayesha At Last is a beautiful testament to the power of family, kindness, and getting out of one’s own way.”—Entertainment Weekly