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February 9, 2017

Review: Beauty Sleeping by Farha Hasan

by MK French

January 2017; Evatopia Press; ebook (219 pages)
romance
a free book was provided for this review
In Beauty Sleeping, Saifa is absorbed in her work at an advertising agency while her sister Laila is in a coma. She meets Aidan several times, and their fates seem to be entwined. He's a Wall Street broker dissatisfied with his busy schedule and empty emotional life, and a friend is getting him involved in a new business venture. Of course, Saifa is involved in advertising for it, giving them opportunities to meet. It's difficult for her to bond with people, especially because of a secret involving her sister and the way she views herself.

The South Asian culture is vividly described in this book, and the lyrical prose style really suits it. The style also helps the magical realism of Laila's traveling to observe strangers and people she knows, especially as she tries to draw a Prince Charming to wake her from her sleep. On the other hand, the point of view switches are even more difficult to tease apart in the beginning because of the lyrical style. Laila isn't a likable character from what we see of her, self-absorbed and prone to stealing boyfriends just because she can. There is the social pressure to marry well and elevate the family's social capital, which is felt by both Saifa and Aidan. The introductions to them, their families, their friends and work worlds is very slow, dragging the first half of the book. Once we see a little less of Laila in the second half, the pace picks up and the plot is more easily understood. This is the first book in a series so it could be that questions raised by the ending will be answered in future novels.

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