She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not by Zeenat Mahal

Title: She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

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 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.

‘Haveli’ and 'The Contract' are Zeenat’s first two published novellas. She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, is her next.

She can be contacted on her FB page hereHer email:


Rating: 4/5


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Book Blurb:

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

Now for my view:

I must confess at the onset that Zeenat is one of my favorite authors. I not only like her stories but also the way she writes and the characters she builds immensely. I have read Zeenat’s works, ‘Haveli’ and ‘The Contract’, and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading both. So when I got my hands on ‘She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not’, I knew it would be time well spent.

‘She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not’ is the sub-continent’s Beauty & the Beast. Zeenat, to my mind, always writes stories which have a classical touch to them. I don’t quite know how to articulate it better. The fact is every time I read her work, it reminds me of the ones by Jane Austen or the Bronte sisters. In fact, after reading ‘Haveli’, ‘The Contract’ and now this too, I have walked up to the classics in my book-self like clockwork. All three times! So that’s the beauty of Zeenat’s work for you. Unpretentious and powerful.

She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, again, is a page turner. The story of Zoella and Fardeen keeps you glued. Zoella, the damsel who might be in distress but in no way helpless, and Fardeen, the beast with scars both on the inside and out, together make this a very endearing read. Typical romance with all the ingredients thrown in for the tale to tug at your heart.

You’ll find yourself rooting for Zoella, cursing Fardeen for his nastiness and then later thinking maybe she ought to just walk out of his life. And when Fardeen has a change of heart you’ll wish these two should quickly kiss and make up. Any story which can do that to you is in my view a read which can’t be missed.

So if romance if your cup of tea, then ‘She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not’ is definitely worth a read.

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