Author: Soniah Kamal
Publisher: Balantine Books
Publish Date: January 22, 2019
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "A scandal and vicious rumor concerning the Binat family have destroyed their fortune and prospects for desirable marriages, but Alys, the second and most practical of the five Binat daughters, has found happiness teaching English literature to schoolgirls. Knowing that many of her students won't make it to graduation before dropping out to marry and have children, Alys teaches them about Jane Austen and her other literary heroes and hopes to inspire the girls to dream of more.
When an invitation arrives to the biggest wedding their small town has seen in years, Mrs. Binat, certain that their luck is about to change, excitedly sets to work preparing her daughters to fish for rich, eligible bachelors. On the first night of the festivities, Alys's lovely older sister, Jena, catches the eye of Fahad "Bungles" Bingla, the wildly successful—and single—entrepreneur. But Bungles's friend Valentine Darsee is clearly unimpressed by the Binat family. Alys accidentally overhears his unflattering assessment of her and quickly dismisses him and his snobbish ways. As the days of lavish wedding parties unfold, the Binats wait breathlessly to see if Jena will land a proposal—and Alys begins to realize that Darsee's brusque manner may be hiding a very different man from the one she saw at first glance."
My Two Cents:
"Unmarriageable" is the story of Alys Binat, a young woman who loves teaching young schoolgirls. She thinks that it might even be her calling even when her mother keeps pushing her to settle down and get married to someone. Alys has other ideas though and doesn't want to be tied down by marriage unless she meets the right man and then she still doesn't want to be tied down and still wants to have enough freedom to pursue her dreams. When she meets Valentine Darsee, he seems like the exact opposite of what she is looking for but we all know that looks can be deceiving.
First things first, I love "Pride and Prejudice" retellings and I love when authors of these retellings can make the story feel fresh. "Unmarriageable" does both! This book is like having a cup of tea with a good friend who has a great new story to tell. This retelling is set in Pakistan (which fits perfectly into my Around the World challenge for this year) and I loved how the setting made this storyline feel very fresh. I don't know a lot about Pakistan and so I loved getting to know it a bit better through this book.
I loved these characters! The way that the author was able to adapt the characteristics (and the names, which are so clever) from the original story into this book was really great! I loved the whole Binat family. The father is still stoic. The mother is still scheming, sometimes suffocating, and trying to find her daughters a love match. The daughters are all great in their own way and very much their own individual people. The relationship between Alys and Mr. Darsee is still very swoon-worthy.
This was a great read!