Book Review :: ‘She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not’ by Zeenat Mahal

Book Review


Zoella didn’t know whether she was devastatingly happy or happily devastated.

Zoella has been in love with Fardeen Malik, her best friend’s gorgeous older brother, since she was ten, but he’s always seen her as a ‘good girl’—not his type—and he can barely remember her name. Besides, he’s engaged to a gorgeous leggy socialite, someone from the same rarefied social strata as the imposing Malik family. In short, Zoella has no chance with him.

Until a brutal accident leaves Fardeen scarred and disfigured, that is. Suddenly bereft of a fiancée, Fardeen is bitterly caustic, a shell of the man he used to be, a beast that has broken out of the fairy tale world he once lived in. And a twist of fate lands him his very own beauty—Zoella.

This man, however, is a far cry from the Fardeen of her dreams. Stripped of her illusions, Zoella creates her own twist in the fairy tale, beating him at his own game.

Zeenat Mahal explores themes of love, longing and arranged marriages in this modern, unusual interpretation of the old-age fairy tale

My Review:
A classy, touching, South Asian flavour to the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale.

‘She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not’ by Zeenat Mahal is a heart-breaking romance between two unforgettable, lovable characters, splendid in the backdrop of joint family and its traditional values. The story makes one believe that beauty, really, is skin-deep, and it’s the inner strength and core values, which have the power to win true love.

Zoella has been in love with her best friend’s brother, since childhood. But the handsome, intelligent Fardeen, a lawyer, has eyes only for beautiful Neha, his fiancée.  Zoella knows, she figures nowhere as far as Fardeen is concerned and accepts her fate. Fardeen’s world comes crashing down, when he loses his good looks in a terrible accident, his beautiful fiancée dumps him and people recoil as they get a glimpse of his burnt half-face. In a sudden twist of fate, Zoella finds herself married to Fardeen, the beast. Then there is Neha…

Zoella, with her feet firmly planted on the ground, becomes the much-needed anchor for Fardeen during his emotional upheaval. She is Ms Sunshine, the epitome of optimism and courage, bringing humorous angle to otherwise a poignant story. And that seduction scene. J

Fardeen, the gorgeous, how I hated-loved-hated him, then finally fell in love, as he tries to win Zoella over. Zeenat has managed to express his insecurities, vulnerability and confusion admirably.

As one gets drawn into the story, one empathizes with both Zoella and Fardeen, at times gets exasperated with Fardeen’s blunders, their quarrels and misinterpretations. In all this passionate mayhem, Zeenat Mahal’s entertaining brand of humor can be seen throughout the book.

The secondary characters both Swaba and Salaar suit the story to the T (did I mention that all the names chosen by Zeenat are lovely). Swaba is a perfect friend and a no-nonsense sister. I loved Salaar and the support he gives to Zoella, bringing some light-hearted moments in the story.

Is Zoella able find the happiness and love, which all girls dream of, with their hero? Or is there a beast in the garb of Prince Charming? How will her love for Fardeen stand the test of time and his scorn? Or is she fighting a losing battle. To find out read Zeenat Mahal’s latest offering ‘She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not’.

About the Author.
Zeenat Mahal (@zeenat_mahal) is an avid reader and has been writing for as long as she can remember. She has an MPhil in English literature from Government College Lahore and is currently doing an MFA in creative writing from Kingston University, London. She won a BBC short story competition in 2001 and has been a regular contributor to newspapers.

Running out of Ink, another international online magazine has publ
ished her short story, The Accidental Fiancee in their August 2013 issue. 
‘Haveli’ and ‘The Contract’ are Zeenat’s first two published novellas. She can be contacted on her FBpage 

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