Saturday, February 22, 2014

#BookReview : Haveli by Zeenat Mahal

On the jacket:

It’s the 1970′s in Jalalabad, an erstwhile princely state in Pakistan. Chandni is a self-proclaimed cynic and prefers to be called C. An orphan brought up by her domineering grandmother, a.k.a. The Broad, C is rebellious, quick-witted and stunningly beautiful.  When Taimur, a.k.a. Alpha Male, enters the closed universe of the haveli, he is smitten, but he’ll never admit it.   The stakes get higher when the father, who had so cruelly abandoned her at birth, returns and C’s dream of reuniting with him becomes a reality. But now she has to choose between her father and his hand-picked groom on the one side, and Alpha Male and The Broad on the other.


Haveli is Chandni's story. A dead mother and a father who deserted her, she has grown up in this grandmother, whom she refers to as The Broad, but calls Bi Amma and her half brother, Zafar. Chandni has been in love with a man years her senior, Kunwar Rohail Khanzada, since she was nine and he was twenty eight. Now, he has a thirteen year old daughter but this fact doesn't deter Chandni from her ambition to be his bride one day.

Chandni hates her name and prefers to be called 'C'. She also hates her Bi Amma, as she is very strict, but dearly loves Zafar. Also in the plot are Baba and Bua, whom C loves dearly and the love is reciprocated. Hell breaks loose in the haveli when while C is eyeing Kunwar, in comes the very handsome and sure of himself, Taimur, Baba's son, whom Bi Ammi has picked to be C's groom.

Taimur and C hate each other from the first glance. Or at least, C does. She picks the choicest names for him when she is angry at him - from Alpha Male, Evil Moriarity, Uriah Heep, to Darcy and even Heathcliff, as and how he made her blood boil. Taimur on the other hand, seemed to see through her and at times, called her Medusa. With her mind set on marrying Kunwar, Taimur was an irritation she didn't want. Imagine her plight when Bi Amma declared she was to wed him, Taimur, and Kunwar to wed a Ayesha Chugtai!

Amidst all this, C's estranged father returned to claim her. Just her, and take her away. Everyone sees a selfish plot behind this act, except C. She wants to go with him and even fights with her beloved brother Zafar for this. Will she? What will happen? Heartbroken, and with everyone who had once loved her, now against her decision, what will Chandni do? Will she fall in love with Taimur?

A very interesting and gripping tale of love, deceit, deception and loss, Zeenat Mahal has done a very good job in telling a story in mere 63 pages. Characters are well defined and the situations very new and fresh; she has also peppered the plot with a bit of timely humour. I read this book as a bystander of the events going by in C's life.

Rating: ****.5/5

[This is an author request review, however, the views are mine.]

1 comment:

  1. 63 pages! Wow! That's brevity at its best! Will grab this one for sure...


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