Not Just for Janeites
Unmarriageable

Unmarriageable

This contemporary Pride and Prejudice update is set in Pakistan, 2001, and features a modern day version of the family you know and love: the Binat family includes a sharp-witted father, marriage-obsessed mother, and five daughters. Despite the difference of centuries, it’s clear how women’s concerns are similar between Austen’s time and Kamal’s. Alysba teaches English, and in a fun opening scene she challenges her teenage students to reinterpret Austen’s famous opening line. Kamal uses her heroine’s profession—and accompanying love of reading—to explore themes of colonialism and identity; she also despite these weighty themes she keeps her tone light and sometimes irreverent. (Just wait till you hear how the Bingleys make their money!) This is, above all, a rom com—and it’s a fun one. More info →
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Ayesha At Last

Ayesha At Last

While it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single, Muslim man must be in want of a wife, there’s an even greater truth: “To his Indian mother, his own inclinations were of secondary importance.” In this P&P-inspired retelling, set in contemporary Toronto, Darcy becomes Khalid, a devout Muslim man whose mother is trying to marry him off. Elizabeth becomes Ayesha, a teacher who’d much prefer to be a poet. When they first meet, it’s utter disaster: she thinks he’s rigid and judgmental; he thinks she’s not a good Muslim because of the drink (virgin) and cigarettes (not hers) she’s holding. But circumstances bring them together again, of course. I loved the supporting cast featuring good friends, a cousin dreaming of a Bollywood-inspired wedding, an embarrassing mother, and a Shakespeare-quoting grandpa. If you’re a P&P devotee, this is a delight. If you’ve never read the original, you can still enjoy this story about friendship, family, obligation, and love. More info →
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The Accidental Beauty Queen

The Accidental Beauty Queen

From the author of Unleashing Mr. Darcy, a tale of sisters, love, mistaken identity, and the beauty pageant circuit. Charlotte and Ginny are identical twins, but they couldn’t be more different. Ginny’s a regular on the beauty pageant circuit, currently competing for the title of Miss American Treasure in Orlando. Book-obsessed librarian Charlotte has come to support her sister, for once—in no small part because of the pageant’s proximity to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. But when a major allergic reaction threatens to put Ginny out of the running, she begs her sister to step in until she can get back on stage. To further complicate matters, Charlotte develops a crush on a handsome man who bears an uncanny resemblance to Mr. Darcy, catches all her literary references, laughs at all her jokes … and thinks she’s her sister. This breezy, entertaining, and unexpectedly poignant novel caught me by surprise; I’m so glad I didn’t miss it. More info →
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