Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Book Review: Love Comes Later

Love Comes Later           
by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar 

I always enjoy a peek into other cultures through the experiences of a fictional character.  Almost always I am fascinated by the differences and reminded that underneath it all, we all have the same basic needs.  Love Comes Later describes characters that are vibrant, realistic and in pursuit of a need that transcends all cultural identities, happiness.  Of course, happiness, as it often seems, comes at a price.

A Description and A Review (all rolled into one):

The story begins with Abdulla learning that his wife (who also happens to be his first cousin and newly pregnant) had been killed in a car accident, the number one cause of death on his country.    Abdulla is from Qatar, a sovereign Arab state and small peninsula jutting into the Persian Gulf.  His Muslim family arranges marriages with the ambition of keeping the family’s bloodlines unified.  (On a side note, I was reminded of Jeff Foxworthy’s one liner, “If you go to a family reunion to get a date, you might be a redneck.”) 

Abdulla had loved his first wife, Fatima, and never wants to marry again.  His family isn’t buying it and arranges another marriage to another cousin, Hind.  At this point, the glossary of terms located at the end of the book may prove helpful as the author incorporates many unfamiliar terms and Qatari phrases.  After an engagement ceremony, Hind plans her escape to study in London for a year.  It seems she’s not a fan of the arranged marriage family commitment, either. 

The story follows Hind to London where she befriends a fellow student, Sangita, who is an American with an Indian background.  Against the rules of her culture, Hind takes on Sangita as her roommate and a wonderful friendship ensues.  But then, Sangita’s brother, Ravi, shows up one day and here’s where the story gets juicy.   So, Hind, such a rule breaker, runs off with Ravi to India for a week or two.  But, the arranged wedding date is looming closer and Abdulla, unsure if he wants to proceed with it, decides to take an unannounced trip to London to see Hind.  Instead, Sangita greets him and tries in vain to keep Abdulla in the dark about the whereabouts of his fiancĂ©.  Meanwhile, the Summer Olympics are going on (as they were while I was reading this story which was so cool!) and Sangita shows Abdulla a good time around London.  Perhaps she shows him too good of a time.  Hind, who finally got the urgent message to return back to London, walks in on Abdulla and Sangita in a compromising position - if you know what I mean.  

So, I won’t spoil the end.  I will say that the ending honors the main characters beautifully.  Also, there are dynamic supporting characters and a glimpse into the world of the Qatari women, from lavish lifestyles to full body coverings.      

The description provided by Robyn Chausse of WOW - Women on Writing sums up my feelings about this book perfectly: Love Comes Later is a thoughtful and entertaining look into cultural differences as we follow the story of Abdulla, Hind, Sangita and Ravi--four people struggling to balance personal happiness with tradition. A literary romantic rollercoaster you should definitely add to your summer reading pile.”
Kindle E-Book: 256 pages 
Published: July 2012
Genre: Literary Fiction 
Twitter Hashtag: #LCLQatar  

Love Comes Later is available at Amazon.

 About the Author:   

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. Moving to the Arabian Desert was good in many ways, since that is where she met her husband, had a baby, and made the transition from writing as a hobby to making it her full-time gig. She has published three e-books this year: Mommy but Still Me, So You Want to Sell a Million Copies, and Coloured and Other Stories. Since she joined the e-book revolution, she has dreamed in plotlines.

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar, PhD
Twitter @moha_doah

Currently Mohana is working on a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf and a novel based in Qatar. She believes words can help us understand ourselves and others. Catch up on her latest via her blog


  1. Thank you Audry for hosting me and also for your feedback about the book. It's funny how you work so long with characters they seem real to the writer -- and the best compliment is when the readers agree that they seem like people they'd be friends with and can relate to.

    Hope your blog followers enjoy learning more about this book.

    1. Thank you, Mohana, for being this week's featured book review. I happened to be away at the shore this weekend and I swear I saw Abdulla and Sangita sharing some quality time on the beach together!

      (Side note: The quoted description in this post was not provided by the author, but by the wonderful Robyn Chausse of WOW - Women on Writing.)


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