Saturday, February 14, 2015

#111 : She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not by Zeenat Mahal : A Review




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BOOK TITLE: She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
ISBN: B00S1HKGIK
AUTHOR: Zeenat Mahal
GENRE: Fiction - Romance
NUMBER OF PAGES: 260
FORMAT: Digital
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
REVIEW BY: Shree Janani
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from the writer – Thank you Zeenat!
SUMMARY :  Zoella didn’t know whether she was devastatingly happy or happily devastated. 

Zoella has been in love with Fardeen Malik, her best friend’s gorgeous older brother, since she was ten, but he’s always seen her as a ‘good girl’—not his type—and he can barely remember her name. Besides, he’s engaged to a gorgeous leggy socialite, someone from the same rarefied social strata as the imposing Malik family. In short, Zoella has no chance with him. 

Until a brutal accident leaves Fardeen scarred and disfigured, that is. Suddenly bereft of a fiancĂ©e, Fardeen is bitterly caustic, a shell of the man he used to be, a beast that has broken out of the fairy tale world he once lived in. And a twist of fate lands him his very own beauty—Zoella. This man, however, is a far cry from the Fardeen of her dreams. Stripped of her illusions, Zoella creates her own twist in the fairy tale, beating him at his own game.

Zeenat Mahal explores themes of love, longing and arranged marriages in this modern, unusual interpretation of the old-age fairy tale
REVIEW:
I don’t normally pick up a book without reading the book back summary. This book is my first exception and I don’t regret it at all. Having read all of Zeenat’s book, I had become quite comfortable with her style of writing and characterization. Particularly, strong female characters are like a much needed dose of caffeine.
Our protagonist, Zoella, has been in love with her best friend’s brother Fardeen ever since she was 10. While he has never given her anything more than a cursory glance, fate brings them together into matrimony when he is left badly disfigured with an accident which brings out the beast in him. La! You have the beauty (Zoella) and the beast ( Fardeen). The story then moves on to elaborate if the beast finds the beauty’s heart.
There are few elements of the book which I would like to elaborate upon thereby reasoning my verdict.
The Socio-Cultural backdrop – A good way to show modernization of thoughts.
Set in Pakistan, the Socio- cultural practices described in this book are simply intriguing, especially for an Indian who is clueless about the neighboring country. The marriage of Zeenat and Fardeen is essentially a result of a narrow minded social setup where girls are looked upon nothing short of a burden and being open minded is thoroughly frowned upon – especially in the middle class families. Eventually, Fardeen goes on to point out this prejudice to people who think upon Zoella as a liability.  Score one for the writer!
Characterization & Emotions
Zoella, the name itself sounds thoroughly exquisite – the character herself was even more exquisite. That character was everything a simple girl from a similar social set up could relate to.  Her determination, her take on “seduction” and her emotions are something I was able to completely relate to, for I felt I was reading a story that portrayed me. Fardeen’s character would be the quintessential caustic beast. All the other characters (the best friend, the sister-in-law, the brother) supplemented the story perfectly emoting perfectly. A double goal for the writer!
Writing
The story was written in a very simple manner that effectively packed the punch. The writing was laced with appropriate amount of humor and emotions. There is a very fine line between being romantic and erotic. The writer thankfully never ventured anywhere near that boundary and stuck to the classic sense of pure romance. Score 4 there!
VERDICT: A well written romance which does immense justice to the age old concept of beauty and beast. The perfect Valentine’s Day read ;-)
RATING: 4 on 5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Zeenat Mahal (@zeemahal) is an avid reader and has been writing for as long as she can remember. She has an MPhil in English literature from Government College Lahore and an MFA in creative writing from Kingston University, London. She won a BBC short story competition in 2001 and has been a regular contributor to newspapers. 
‘Haveli’ and 'The Contract' are Zeenat’s first two published novellas. Her next novel. She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, is due for release on 14th February, 2015.  She can be contacted on her FB page 
https://www.facebook.com/zeenatmahal....

Her email:
zeenatmahal@yahoo.co.uk
website: 
http://www.zeenatmahal.com
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital
PRICE: Rs.150 (Digital)

BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B00S1HKGIK/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=goodreads_in-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00S1HKGIK&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse
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