Bookish Witch

Loving You by Andaleeb Wajid

Blurb (as on Amazon)

Hamza Ali has learnt a valuable lesson from his twin brother’s disastrous first marriage: Love is not enough.
Determined to have an arranged marriage, he is soon to be engaged to Mahrukh, the ‘ideal wife’ his parents have found for him. And yet, it is not Mahrukh who stirs his heart and scrambles his brain. It’s her aunt, Noorain.

Divorced, independent and happy, Noorain Alam wants nothing to do with men. Until the day she meets her niece’s fiance…

Hamza realises that there is no ideal wife… only an ideal woman. His ideal woman. And it is Noorain…
Their love is forbidden. Their love is wrong. Their love is impossible. And yet, their love is everything.
Hamza and Noorain are about to find out the answer to an age old question.

Is love enough?

Genre: Fiction/Romantic Drama

Pages: 182

Format: Kindle eBook

Price: 150 INR/$2.99

My Ratings: 4.3/5

Seeing the happiness of his brother and sister-in-law after an arranged marriage, Hamza asks his mother to look for a suitable life partner for himself. He meets Mahrukh, a pretty and docile girl, whom he likes. The two soon get engaged but as the day towards their wedding draw close, Hamza realizes that he doesn’t share that ‘special’ connection with Mahrukh. Mahrukh’s aunt, Noorian, though, makes him feel things he isn’t proud to admit even to himself. Does Noorain feel the same too?

Book cover taken from Amazon

What I liked about the book:
-> Noorain’s character is an inspiration; reading about how she managed to create an identity for herself despite her traumatic past and standing confident against a judgmental family/society, was nothing less than empowering.
-> The stigma around divorces & everything else surrounding failed marriages has been tackled very delicately.
-> I loved how Hamza remains unfazed by any of the so-called ‘stigmas’ around Noorain’s past. In fact, my favorite part was where they discuss their ages and he remains unaffected when Noorain says she is older than him (which isn’t true by the way). We need more of such men in real life. If not that, at least we need more writers writing such fictional male protagonists so that real-life men can learn from them.
-> The way Maharukh handles things in the climax. I was impressed by her maturity and character growth.
-> Nani’s (Noorain’s grandmother) character and her naughtiness are so heartwarming. I wish we had more chapters/pages about her.
-> Arwa’s character is a typical frustrated ‘aunty’ whose only goal in life is to demean women who seem to be happy even without a husband by their side. I loved how Noorain stands up to her snide remarks every time Arwa says something mean to her.

What I did not like about the book:
-> Mahruk’s character comes off as childish, docile, a pushover, unambitious, and somewhat insensitive. But later the way she handles her breakup, Noorain’s revelations and then her determination to focus on a career are completely contradictory to her earlier actions and behaviour. I found this a little unbelievable.
-> I wish we were shown how Noorain’s relationship with her sister Haniya changes or becomes better after Mahrukh sides with Noorain.

Quotable quotes:
-> All mothers want to see their children happy. But sometimes children should also think about making their mothers happy.
-> One couldn’t actively go and fall in love with someone. That’s not how it works.
-> What didn’t come naturally could be learned. But did love work that way? Was it possible to make yourself fall for someone?
->Love isn’t easy.
-> Love can happen even in an arranged marriage.
-> One can’t live their entire life, shunning others, and not engaging with people.
-> Don’t worry so much about what people will say. People will always talk, no matter what you do.
-> It made no sense, but then, love rarely made sense.
-> Love hits you when you’re least prepared.
-> Time isn’t important when it comes to falling in love.
->Falling in love isn’t a crime.
-> Sometimes, the right things happen to us in all the wrong ways.
->People reveal what they’re like during difficult moments. You can’t do anything about that.
->Our society always blames the woman, no matter what the truth.
-> Running away from her problems wasn’t going to make them go away. It would give her temporary respite but that was it.
->This is your life. Don’t let the fear of other people stop you from living it.
-> You and I love each other. It makes no sense for us to stay away because of what other people will say.
-> My home is wherever you are.

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