Chicklit Club
 

NADIYA HUSSAIN

 

The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters (2017)

 

The Amirs live in a small English village and have five children – twins Farah and Bubblee, Fatima, Mae and Jay. Farah, the married one, has created a comfortable life with her cousin from Bangledesh, Mustafa – but now desperately wants to start a family. Bubblee, the creative one, lives in London and has no plans of settling down. Hand model Fatima, the chubby one, feels like she never quite measures up – she’s still even trying to pass her driving test after numerous attempts. Mae, the youngest one, is still at school and loves filming her colourful family and sharing their lives on social media. And Jay, the only son, is off doing his own thing. When Mustafa has a car accident and is left in a coma, a number of the family’s secrets start tumbling out.
This novel - which the Great British Bake Off winner wrote with Sofia Khan is Not Obliged author Ayisha Malik - was a bit of a letdown for me. I was expecting much more flavour about their culture since the blurb describes them as “the only Muslims in the village”. I also didn't get a strong sense of place throughout. The narrative is shared between the sisters but Fatima definitely feels like the main character and could have held the story on her own. The book ended with a few unanswered questions about a character or two but that may be understandable since it’s reportedly the first in a trilogy. Perhaps this was only intended as an entree. 6/10

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