Today’s review is for the new rom-com Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin. Thanks to Berkley Romance for the advanced digital review copy.
Sales are slow at Three Sisters Biryani Poutine, the only halal restaurant in the close-knit Golden Crescent neighbourhood. Hana waitresses there part time, but what she really wants is to tell stories on the radio. If she can just outshine her fellow intern at the city radio station, she may have a chance at landing a job. In the meantime, Hana pours her thoughts and dreams into a podcast, where she forms a lively relationship with one of her listeners. But soon she’ll need all the support she can get: a new competing restaurant, a more upscale halal place, is about to open in the Golden Crescent, threatening Three Sisters.
When her mysterious aunt and her teenage cousin arrive from India for a surprise visit, they draw Hana into a long-buried family secret. A hate-motivated attack on their neighbourhood complicates the situation further, as does Hana’s growing attraction for Aydin, the young owner of the rival restaurant—who might not be a complete stranger after all.
As life on the Golden Crescent unravels, Hana must learn to use her voice, draw on the strength of her community and decide what her future should be.
Although I’m not a fan of Pride & Prejudice, I absolutely ADORED Jalaluddin’s modern twist in Ayesha at Last. So I was understandably excited for her next romance, Hana Khan Carries On. And it was … good. It just didn’t dazzle me like Ayesha did.
There is really so much to like about this book: the chemistry between Hana and Aydin is definitely there. Hana’s family, especially her aunt and her cousin, add so much vivacity to the story. The romance plot-line is countered with Hana’s potential career in radio, the future of her family restaurant, and escalating violence fueled by racism towards Hana’s community.
I think perhaps I just didn’t connect with this book like I did with Ayesha, and I can’t really put my finger on what exactly it was. But I want to be really, really clear: as cliched as it sounds, I think this one’s on me, not the book. Because Hana Khan Carries On is actually a pretty great book. It just wasn’t the book for me.
Look for Hana Khan Carries On in stores and online April 13th.