Author– Laaleen Sukhera
Previous Works– Debut novel
Publishers– Bloomsbury India
Number of Pages– 179
Heiress Kamila Mughal is humiliated when her brother’s best friend snubs her to marry a social climbing nobody from Islamabad. Roya discovers her fiancé has been cheating on her and ends up on a blind date on her wedding day. Beautiful young widow Begum Saira Qadir has mourned her husband, but is she finally ready to start following her own desires?
Inspired by Jane Austen and set in contemporary Pakistan, Austenistan is a collection of seven stories; romantic, uplifting, witty, and heartbreaking by turn, which pay homage to the world’s favourite author in their own uniquely local way.
Jane Austen’s stories with a Pakistani twist.
The ladies at the Jane Austen society of Pakistan had decided to serve the stories with kebabs instead of English tea and I must say, they marveled at it.
The only Jane Austen novel I had come across was Pride and Prejudice so the view on this book is from the side of a reader willing to explore.
The Fabulous Banker Boys, which deals with a mom with four daughters who wants to get them married off to a good household , but will her daughters be able to make those boys swoon?
Begum Saira Returns, a gorgeous widow who stepped into the conservative zones of the Pakistani community, will she survive against the rumors, responsibilities and desires?
Emaan Ever After, Emaan’s quest for the Mr.Right, would she find love at the charity event her friend forces her to go? Or would there be realization that she was made for something else?
The Mughal Empire, Kamila Mughal and the tale of her broken heart, will she be able to mend her ways?
The Autumn Ball, Maya’s life that has lost her spark and her desire that don’t tinkle anymore. Would she ever be able to get out of it?
Only The Deepest Love, Samina, her not so perfect life and the stranger who keeps rescuing her.
On the verge, blogger Roya Khalil and her little adventure when she goes to meet Princey, the highly eligible bachelor who would “blow’ her mind away.
Austenistan was a fresh breeze as we get the age old stories kindled with the quirky writing style, making it more or less of a chick flick.
If a reader is looking for something to blush about and enjoy with the evening serenity, Austenistan is their go to book.
It kept me hooked till the end. The meddlesome quality of the pakistani aunties, the classic worrying for their daughters, thing that moms of the eastern countries are probably famous for.
As I have not read too many of Jane Austen’s works, I can refer to the first story “The Fabulous Banker Boys” only, if I am looking at a comparision basis. As it is similar to Pride and Prejudice, I was left with expecting a bit more from the story. There could have been some more involvement of plot in it and I was left with a bit of disappointment. So hard-core austenians might be left with asking for more but for a normal reader, you just have to sit back and enjoy.
For the average reader, this would be quick read to get your mind off something highly intriguing that you probably read before this.
The cover shows a lady with sunglasses and an off shoulder shirt, sipping tea, making the cover a perfect one matching the content, where you get the quirky ladies in classy backgrounds.
Jane Austen in Pakistan, Austenistan, a perfect title.
Cover- 5 star
Title- 5 star
Blurb- 4 star
Plot- 5 star
Writing and Presentation- 4 star
Overall- 4.6 stars out of 5
I absolutely loved the book because it took me back to falling in love with the characters and giggling my heart out.
Reviewed by- Banaja Prakashini
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About the Laaleen Sukhera-
Austenistan is edited by Laaleen Sukhera, a Lahore-based communications consultant and media professional. She is a Contributing Editor for quarterly magazine Libas and the founder of the Jane Austen Society of Pakistan (JASP). Laaleen is currently working on a novel and a screenplay. This is Laaleen Sukhera’s first book.
About other authors-
Nida Elley is a college teacher, writing coach, and freelance journalist based in Austin, Texas.
Saniyya Gauhar is a barrister and former editor of Blue Chip magazine. She is currently a freelance journalist based in Islamabad.
Mahlia Lone is the editor of Good Times magazine and based in Lahore.
Mishayl Naek is an economist and freelance journalist based in Karachi. She also runs the Yummy Mummy network which helps provide childcare facilities to Karachi-based mothers.
Sonya Rehman is a Lahore-based freelance journalist whose work has been published in publications including the Huffington Post, Al Jazeera, The Hindu, Rolling Stone and Forbes.
Gayathri Warnasuriya is a scientist and programme manager based in Amman. She holds a PhD from Dundee University in Toxicology and Molecular Biology.