Header Image

Review: Hana Khan Carries on by Uzma Jalaluddin

Title: Hana Khan Carries On

Author: Uzma Jalaluddin

Year Published: 2021

Category: Adult fiction (romance)
Pages: 368
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2021 Google Reading map)Canada

Summary (from Amazon): Sales are slow at Three Sisters Biryani Poutine, the only halal restaurant in the close-knit Golden Crescent neighborhood. 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 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.

Review: What an enjoyable novel! I read Jalaluddin's earlier book, Ayesha at Last, so I knew I was in for a story that centered on an Indian Muslim woman who would spend a good deal of time asserting herself and being strong. And there would be romance.

Hana is a good character. She cares deeply about her extended family, dedicating time every day to work in her parents' restaurant even though she works at a local radio station. Hana also wants to look out for herself, knows what she wants, and is willing to fight for what's right.

The story is also good. I liked hearing about the neighborhood businesses, Hana's best friends, the drama at her work and how she is fighting to avoid stereotyping in the shows she is on/producing. The romance is fun even though it was fairly predictable and I saw the twist coming from the first third of the book (how did Hana not see it?!). 

But this book is more than romance; it also brings up issues of immigration, racism, questionable business practices, and the impact of family secrets. I like it when a book delves into deeper-than-the-surface issues and this one does just that.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Diversity--Indian Muslim author and characters
  • Popsugar--set in a restaurant

No comments