A young Canadian Muslim woman finds that sticking to one’s principles is not for the faint of heart, especially when you’re juggling two jobs—and a brewing romance.
Twenty-four-year-old Hanaan “Hana” Khan has her hands full: She has an internship at a local Toronto indie radio station; a job at her family restaurant, Three Sisters Biryani Poutine; and a self-produced podcast, Ana’s Brown Girl Rambles. Unfortunately, the internship is not quite the career launchpad that Hana hoped it would be. Worse, Three Sisters is in trouble despite the family’s best efforts. Wholistic Burgers and Grill, claiming to do halal right, is opening across the street, threatening to further sink the Khan family’s fortunes after 15 years of business. It doesn’t help that handsome Aydin Shah is spearheading the new restaurant with his rich father and threatening to gentrify the diverse Scarborough neighborhood. Hana’s podcast might be the one lifeline she has, especially as she finds a confidant in devoted admirer StanleyP. But Hana is not one to give up without a fight. She recruits Rashid, her newly arrived cousin from India, and other neighborhood players for a restaurant survival plan. But Cupid has other ideas. Hana finds there’s more to Aydin than his sexy silver shades and is not sure what to make of her budding feelings for the enemy. Jalaluddin has a keen ear for rapid-fire dialogue and lively characters who add plenty of color. Hana’s feistiness and occasional impulsiveness make her an endearing protagonist, and you'll root for her especially when darker events threaten to torpedo the carefully constructed community festival her family has cobbled together. Certain predictable plot elements notwithstanding, there’s plenty of lighthearted whimsy to warm a reader’s heart.
A delicious treat filled with South Asian fervor and Canadian heart.