A sparkling, reader-favourite rom-com for fans of You’ve Got Mail, set in competing halal restaurants
“A novel of wit, heart, substance and depth—a love story that explores the challenging issues of our times.” —Ausma Zehanat Khan
“Readers won’t be able to put this Own Voices Muslim romance down.” —Library Journal (starred review)
Sales are slow at Three Sisters Biryani Poutine, the only halal restaurant in the close-knit Golden Crescent neighbourhood. Hana waitresses there part-time, but what she really wants is to tell stories on the radio. If she can just outshine her fellow intern at the city radio station, she may have a chance at landing a job. In the meantime, Hana pours her thoughts and dreams into a podcast, where she forms a lively relationship with one of her listeners. But soon she’ll need all the support she can get: a new competing restaurant, a more upscale halal place, is about to open in the Golden Crescent, threatening Three Sisters.
When her mysterious aunt and teenage cousin arrive from India for a surprise visit, they draw Hana into a long-buried family secret. A hate-motivated attack on their neighbourhood complicates the situation further, as does Hana’s growing attraction for Aydin, the young owner of the rival restaurant—who might not be a complete stranger after all.
As life on the Golden Crescent unravels, Hana must learn to use her voice, draw on the strength of her community and decide what her future should be.
About the author
UZMA JALALUDDIN is the author of Ayesha at Last and Hana Khan Carries On. A high school English teacher, she is also a Toronto Star columnist and a contributor to the Atlantic. Her first novel was published in the US, the UK, Australia and India and was optioned for film by Amy Pascal and Sony Pictures.
"A delicious and entertaining novel.”
<em>Kirkus Reviews </em><strong>(starred review)</strong>
"Packed with emotion, this romance is also a beautifully written coming-of-age story about a first-generation immigrant. Hana is a relatable, flawed narrator, and the other characters are complex, nuanced, and well-developed. The story is intricately plotted, with dramatic, often heartwrenching scenes that build to a satisfying, realistic conclusion.... Readers won’t be able to put this Own Voices Muslim romance down."
<em>Library Journal </em>(starred review)
“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 <em>A Dangerous Crossing</em>
A grand celebration of a novel: big, noisy, and joyous. Jalaluddin’s new book is a wholly original romantic comedy for our times, with irresistible banter, near-misses, ulterior motives, and an all-out Bollywood-style climax. I loved it.
Kate Hilton, author of <em>Better Luck Next Time</em>
“This sweet debut novel ticks all the boxes for one of summer’s best reads: it’s smart, witty, romantic and utterly charming.”
"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."
"The clever and independent protagonist, large cast of vivid characters, strong family ties, and satisfying enemies-to-lovers trope all have the feel of a classic remake and will thoroughly delight readers looking for modern Indian Muslim representation in a love story that hits real-life issues on the way to a very satisfying conclusion."
“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
Jalaluddin portrays a swoon-worthy romance as skilfully as she captures the heart of a community. A novel of wit, heart, substance, and depth—a love story that explores the challenging issues of our times.
Ausma Zehanat Khan, author of <em>A Deadly Divide</em>
“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
"Jalaluddin follows Ayesha at Last with another charming contemporary romance, which maintains a fun, energetic mood while tackling serious themes of prejudice."
"A delicious treat filled with South Asian fervor and Canadian heart."
“An uproarious romp, filled with farcical cases of mistaken identity, disastrous proposals and a big Bollywood wedding.”
Cute, emotional, and ultimately joyful. A romance with a warm heart, one wrapped in the bonds of family and friendship, this book left me with a delighted smile on my face.
Nalini Singh, <em>New York Times</em> bestselling author
A sweet and satisfying retelling of “You’ve Got Mail” and absolutely irresistible. I read the whole book in one sitting and cannot wait for more from Uzma Jalaluddin!
Sonya Lalli, author of <em>Serena Singh Flips the Script</em>
"Ayesha at Last is a delight from the first word to the last. Rich with cultural texture, replete with social nuance, and brimming with humor, it is one of the best retellings of Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.”
“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, <em>Saints and Misfits</em>
Hana Khan Carries On serves us all the ingredients of a delicious tale: a dynamic setting, vibrant characters, a romantic problem of wires-crossed proportions, and a lead you’ll find yourself rooting for until the end. Truly a burst of joy!
S.K. Ali, author of <em>Love from A to Z</em>
“[An] irresistible debut.”
"'Ayesha at Last' is light and incandescent and deeply pleasurable from start to finish."
Christian Science Monitor
"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."
<em>Library Journal </em>(starred review)
“Jalaluddin cleverly illustrates the social pressures facing young Indian-Muslim adults...a highly entertaining tale of family, community, and romance.”
<em>Publishers Weekly</em> <strong>(starred review)</strong>
“Ayesha At Last is a beautiful testament to the power of family, kindness, and getting out of one’s own way.”