Book Review: The Contract

Source: Novella
Title: The Contract

Grab a copy here:

Author: Zeenat Mahal

Rating: 4/5

About the Author (From the Novella):

Zeenat Mahal (@zeenat4indireads) 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 local newspapers. Zeenat has eclectic tastes and an insatiable desire to learn. Her romances are a heady mix of the traditional and the contemporary, old world values face the challenges of a shrinking globe that impinge upon and help shape South Asian sensibilities. The Contract is Zeenat’s second published novella. Currently she is working on a literary novel with elements of magical realism, while continuing to write romances.

She can be contacted on her FB page

Zeenat currently lives in Kingston Upon Thames with her fabulous sons.


Indireads was started with the aim to revolutionizing the popular fiction genre in South Asia. With edgy, contemporary and compelling fiction by new writers and its digital-only publishing model, Indireads is breaking new ground in terms of the reading experience and giving voice to new writing talent.


Twitter: @indireads

Indireads Official Blog:

Books Blurb (From Indireads):

“…I’ll pay you a monthly salary to behave and appear for all practical purposes as my wife…If you agree, the marriage vows can be taken on the phone on Saturday, since I have an hour free in the morning.”

Circumstances have forced the young divorcée, Shahira, to accept Hussain’s unusual proposition. As per their contract, she’ll have his name, will be paid to look after his ailing mother and motherless daughter and will be left well alone by him. Perfect!

Until her new husband decides to stop playing by the rules…

Now for my view:

What do you do when there are connectivity issues at office? Guesses anyone?


Yes. You are right indeed. You read when connectivity goes for a toss. And I did just that.

After having read Zeenat Mahal’s Haveli in the beginning of the year I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that I was smitten by her as a writer. I knew it then that I would straightaway like anything else that she writes. You know because there was an instant connect between the world she portrayed and my likes as a reader. So today when I picked up ‘The Contract’, I already knew two things. One that I would breeze through it and two that I would be left wanting more.

And trust me when I say that is exactly what happened. I finished ‘The Contract’ in 3 hours straight maneuvering through colleagues pulling me for tea and my manager’s buffoonery with him offloading his ridiculous ‘to-dos’ onto me. Once done I cannot express how much I wish to read a full-fledged novel by her. Please Zeenat if you read this then do come out with a big fat novel because I can’t tell you how much your sensibility as a writer appeals to the reader in me.

As you might have read in the blurb already ‘The Contract’ is the story of relationships, love and new beginnings. It is the tale of Shahira and Hussain. It is the tale of a woman rising up like a phoenix from a dreadful experience and taking the reins of her life in her own hands even if that involved a marriage contract. It is also the tale of a man who runs away from reality owing to his bitter past but then returns perhaps to a future he had always dreamt of.

The two novellas of Zeenat that I’ve read so far have both had strong willed women as protagonists. Sure they had their own quirks sometimes but I simply loved the characters. And I don’t know if any other reader has noticed this but both of them, the protagonists I mean, were avid readers or literature lovers. A facet I liked very much. But not only the women. The male heroes in both her novellas have been sketched beautifully too. Pardon me if you see me swinging between both her works. What can I do I simply loved reading both? But still remaining true to the review let me focus on ‘The Contract’ for now.

Zenal Zeenat has a knack for mixing the traditional with the contemporary and she did it brilliantly in this novella too. The story has a feel of reality. Trust me that is so important for a read to be good. It appeals and connects in ways that keeps the reader hooked. At least that’s what happened to me. And hence I would very much recommend this to everyone out there.

Go grab a copy now. Click here.