Published by Berkley on April 13, 2021
FINAL DECISION: I almost DNF’d this book at about 55% because the book seemed more interested in Hana’s family restaurant, her radio career, her visiting relatives, and just about everything except the romance. I continued reading, and it got somewhat better, but too much about her and not enough romance for me. The final quarter of the book was great the characters and story came together well. I might try it again with my expectations in check.
THE STORY: Hana Khan is balancing a lot is things. Her family restaurant is on a decline just as a new competitor is opening in the neighborhood. She has an anonymous podcast about her life and an online friendship/relationship with a follower. She is trying to establish a career in radio broadcasting but worries about the compromises she may be making. And the owner of that new restaurant is a man that she can’t seem to forget.
OPINION: I liked a lot about this book, but I expected a romance and got women’s fiction instead. Perhaps my mistake, but the book’s blurb emphasizes the romance, which is not true in the book itself. Enough about that.
I thought the book depicts well Hana’s life and community. I enjoyed learning about her as a character, and I thought she and the other characters had integrity and real identity in the story.
Because I wasn’t interested in Hana so much as the romance, I almost gave up on this book about 50 percent in. The romantic interest is introduced by then, but they have almost no page time. The last third of the book is much more focused on the romance which I really enjoyed, but there was too much other stuff to get through to enjoy that part. The final 25 percent of the book was really good. The plot and the characters fell together so well. I wish the setup had been better, but I really enjoyed that final piece. Indeed, I was prepared to give the book three stars (others might enjoy it much more) but pushed it up once the final acts of the book were done.
Hana and Aydin’s relationship was really enjoyable in the last half of the book, as they are the focus, and I loved how respectful they are to one another, how Aydin listens to Hana and how things are resolved between them.
I remain ambivalent about his book. I might try this book again after understanding the balance between Hana’s journey and the romance. The ending was so good that I might like it better next time.
WORTH MENTIONING: For readers who are interested in Hana’s journey rather than romance, this book is well-written and explores many contemporary issues of race, religion, immigration, gender, and a woman establishing herself.
CONNECTED BOOKS: HANA KHAN CARRIES ON is a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.