Published by Berkley Romance on 6 April 2021 in Canada, US publication date is on April 13th!
Age Range: Adult
Sales are slow at Three Sisters Biryani Poutine, the only halal restaurant in the close-knit Golden Crescent neighborhood of Toronto. 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 her mother’s restaurant.
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 neighborhood 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.
My Spoiler-Free Review
First off: a huge thank you to NetGalley, Kate, and Uzma Jalaluddin for an early reviewer copy which ended up being so good that I had to pre-order it!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing a book that’s going to stay with me forever! I also have some exciting media coverage that I’ll be doing next week so I’ll try to keep this as an informal review.
Hana hit home for me. I’ve never read a book about a Muslim women who was dealing with journalism before this. For those of you who don’t know, I did my B.A. I’m Journalism and Professional Writing. A lot of what Hana went through with dealing with racist people at work is what I went through even in some of my journalism classes.
Like Hana, I also have a podcast (called Raise Your Words ) and I loved how Hana used her podcast to talk about her life. The way she told her stories felt so raw and I honestly ended up highlighting a majority of the book on my kindle (got an e-arc and I can’t wait to take pics of the physical book when it finally arrives)!
There’s so much drama and romance in this book which is one of the reasons why Uzma Jalaluddin is an insta-buy author for me.
I usually guess the plot twists, but I didn’t in this one. I also love that there’s a cameo from Ayesha & Khalid (if you didn’t read Ayesha at Last, it’s a cameo you might miss)!
I’ll admit when I first started reading it, I wasn’t a fan of her aunt until later on.
I also loved her cousin Rashid (although at times I thought he was a bit of an inconsiderate jerk).
Aydin’s bolder than Khalid and he’s definitely snarkier but I loved reading about him.
The character development in this book is incredible!!
I guessed only one of the plot twists but the others took me by surprise!!
This GIF is honestly how I felt about this book. As an American Asian Muslim, I’m extremely picky about the books that I consider to be good Muslim rep. I loved that Uzma Jalaluddin’s characters are proud of their religion and they practice their religion! I want to see more books like this one by Muslim authors!!
With the recent news about France banning the hijab and the consenting age is eighteen (despite the fact that in France kids as young as fifteen can give consent for sex) this is a must-read! There’s also been news in Sri Lanka (I’m American Sri Lankan) where there is a burqa ban.
With all of these Islamophobic hate crimes happening I thought it would be a good idea to recommend a book that sheds light on that and has one of the most compelling storylines I’ve read in a romance.