Butterfly Season: Natasha Ahmed

Right, so today I am celebrating for doing so much better than I thought I had in an essay. I have been panicking about this essay for what feels like forever. So, after being pleasantly surprised, I have celebrated by taking the entire day off to read, and blog and review! I’ve been reading this book on and off for around a week and it really is a lovely, interesting and well-written book. This was sent to me through my very popular reviews page, and is described by the author as a South Asian romance. However it turned out to be so much more than that, and I rather feel the author undersold it to me because it works rather brilliantly. The use of differing locations, cultures and social constructs leads to a book with a very interesting and quirky plotline. Additionally, and I know you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover; but the cover is feminine and girly and I love it. Thank you once again to the author Natasha Ahmed!

As a reader I love it when I am transported to another world; I had anticipated before starting this book that I was to be treated to a far-reaching story, that would transport me along a cultural journey and I was definitely not disappointed. This cross-cultural theme was beautifully told through a not often heard female voice which documents the stunning building romance between two Pakistani adults currently living in London. Firstly the witty and charming Rumi, and secondly the strong and steadfast Ahad, who is both a successful and attractive businessman. As soon as they meet there is an instant attraction and a sudden connection of interests. But there are a number of circumstances that could stop them from being together. On holiday for the first time in six years, the extremely likeable Rumi, had expected a time of relaxation and rest, however she is immediately set up by her long-time friend which she finds herself, rather surprisingly, wanting to explore. Ahad is not only charming but understanding and sympathetic and there is immediately a connection and the book follows the strengthening of the chemistry between them. However Rumi knows that if she decides to take their relationship to the next level then it has the potential to impact the rest of her life forever; is she ready to make that step and move outside of her comfort zone? Faced with the sweltering chemistry between the two, Rumi must make a decision; does she want to return to Pakistan an unmarried woman, or will she ignore the unforgiving cultural norms, and turn her back on her family to be with someone that really understands her and makes her happy.

This book is a real credit to the author; by describing the dependence that Rumi’s family have upon her it allows for a real development of the character of Rumi and makes the reader think, what would I do in that situation? This is really shown in the two characters that have been brought together so well, with believability and honesty. By bringing the difficulties of restrictive views into a modern setting means that the book also takes on a deeper meaning and becomes multi-layered; romance, contrasted with cultural norms which gives the books much more depth. This is further shown in author taking us on a literary adventure, which is brilliantly described; we move from the dark and dingy London to the blistering heat of Karachi. The description flows and reads so stunningly that you cannot help but be drawn into the story. The one aspect that really made me love the book was the locations; I have never read a book that looked at modern day Karachi and although it has been a first I really hope it won’t be my last. What was also so brilliant was the way in which the book was as much about Ahad finding himself and looking back at his roots as much as it was about Rumi finding herself and being liberated through her whirlwind romance. The book has a lot of give and take. We have all read books about females finding themselves after being strengthened and liberated by a relationship and we have all read books of males being tamed by a special female, and yet here it is woven and mixed so beautifully that it creates a cultural mix, not only in location but also in the differing social norms between East and West. The way in which the author describes this is beautifully delicate and low-key but with a real understanding of the importance of building layers to a relationship. Additionally the way in which Ahmed describes the relationship and builds it up over a period of time describes perfectly the way in which the character find hers feet and her confidence and allows herself to follow her heart. So the plot is perfect, what about the execution? The writing is spectacular; the description is full and has depth. It is extremely accomplished and it flows so beautifully that it makes the characters come to life in a way that many authors do not manage. I fell in love with book. I love travelling and through this book I found myself in the bustling streets London and then suddenly transported to the bright and colourful streets of Karachi; there are not many books where you can experience both and have them so strongly explained and described. I just hope now that there is another book on the way that will transport me once again to another world of delight and beauty. Definitely worth a read littlebloggers!’


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