"An intense, joltingly modern love story."– Kirkus Reviews
A love affair between an atheist and a Muslim takes some bizarre turns in this sequel to A Silent Prayer (2014).
Ahsan’s series continues the tempestuous, and now badly fractured, love affair between millionaire Toronto philanthropist Adam Gibson and the beautiful, enigmatic Rania Ahmed. The events of the previous novel have left Rania bitterly confused about Adam’s honesty and intentions. She’s fled from his life, and in this novel’s opening scenes, he’s bleakly depressed and utterly determined to find her and win her trust again. (“You have no idea what you are getting yourself into,” Rania warned him when their relationship was just beginning.) Once he succeeds in finding her and bringing her back into his life, that warning takes on unexpected resonance. Readers of the previous novel were shown brief glimpses of the traumas that scarred Rania both physically and emotionally; in this new installment, Ahsan gives those traumas an unexpected supernatural element. She’s not just haunted by memories, but by actual spirits and Jinni that only she can see. Although Adam “only believes what he sees,” he finds his beliefs being tested in ways he never imagined. Ahsan continues the vivid, interior narrations that made the earlier novel such an interesting read (“Is she crazy?” Adam wonders. “She definitely needs to see a therapist”), and through that device, readers see the torments of faith that afflict both lovers. The prominence of the fantasy elements gives the love story a sharp turn that will lose some readers but perhaps gain others. However, the change strengthens the author’s prose; she seems far more comfortable with the highly charged events of this novel’s surreal second half than with the restaurants-and-boardrooms milieu of the previous book.
An Arabian Nights–style conclusion to an intriguing cross-cultural love story.
A contemporary romance between modern professionals in Canada.
At the start of Ahsan’s debut, millionaire Toronto philanthropist Adam Gibson is leading an empty existence. He gives generously to charities throughout the country, but his personal life consists of a string of meaningless sexual encounters with women whose names he seldom troubles to learn. He runs his prosperous company, Gibson Enterprises, with care and skill, aided by a faithful staff and watched over by his bodyguard, Ali bin Moosa. However, he doesn’t realize how much is missing from his life until he runs into Rania Ahmed, a 25-year-old creative designer for Greenway Advertising. (They literally collide, Hollywood-style.) Rania is shy and beautiful, and Adam is instantly smitten. “I feel like I had been living in the dark,” he tells her, “and you’re the only one who could bring me into the light.” He sets out on a single-minded campaign to woo her: He instructs his staff to learn everything about her, explicitly telling them that he doesn’t care about her privacy; he evicts business tenants in his building so he can move Greenway Advertising nearby to have Rania closer to him; and he wears down Rania’s resistance by taking her to the movies and the opera. Ahsan ably shifts between Rania’s and Adam’s points of view in alternating chapters as the two warily get to know each other. Adam wants to “claim her entirely,” and that’s not the only stalkerlike sentiment he makes; at another point, when Rania wonders if he’s the jealous type, he says, “Don’t ask me, and don’t provoke me, either.” Ahsan sprinkles both narrations with plenty of internal dialogue (such as Rania’s “What does he want from me?” and “Oh, I need some space”), and some of these ruminations include jarringly rough language. The author is fairly skilled at depicting the emotional roller coaster of a new relationship, and her handling of Rania’s deeply conflicted personality is sensitive and intriguing. However, when it comes to brusque, domineering Adam, readers may ask that age-old question: What does she see in him?
An intense, joltingly modern love story.