After reading this book I am wondering that why is this the first novel that I have read by Zeenat not counting the short story the Accidental fiancée. How did I miss the other books?

She has the pulse of the generation; her writing is so fresh, crisp and youthful. The conversations, the tension, the wit and sarcasm are all tightly packed in this story. She writes the story with such a flow using the conversations and comments of all the protagonists of the story. I was hooked with the first chapter itself!

Zoella and Fardeen are a special couple – why? Because their story can be the story of so many star crossed lovers. Yes, it is a take on the classic beauty & the beast but it goes a step further. By the time you are waiting for the lovers to unite you end up wondering who is being more beastly? Fardeen, the obvious one with his sharp words or Zoella with the snide rejoinders!

This is a tale of love and longing. Beauty and the beast. Forgiving and loving. Learning and growing. This book is straight forward story about good things finding a way to happen. Zoella is love struck and fate with its twists and turns offers her the love of her life, even though he is damaged goods. Fardeen sees pity and duty in Zoella’s every action and sets out to distance him from her. She wants to free him from his self imposed prison and leaves no stone unturned to achieve it.

The sweet simple Zoella with her lovely smile, bubbly nature is a challenge and a perfect match for Fardeen. She matches him word for word and learns from him getting so adept at sarcasm by the end of the book. Yes, Zoella loves him since forever and blushes to the core when she sees him but still stands her own against him.

Handsome, cocky and so sharp Fardeen reminded me of the current heartthrob Fawad Khan! I have only seen him the movie Khoobsurat and I loved what I saw. Fardeen is our hero from the first page and even when tormented by his injuries makes you fall in love with him. He too grows up as the story moves. It was so refreshing to see him wearing his heart on his sleeve and acknowledging his wife’s achievements.

The author has maintained such chemistry and sexual tension with her words that I kept turning pages to read who won whom? Her greatest advantage is her play with words, the sparring, the simple conversations and the energy and passion the characters bring to the story.

I see it as a winner all the way. It also has family playing a major role, guiding them and supporting them, a big happy family that sticks to its own like flies on honey!! Yes, the family is important and they add so much depth to the story, I especially like the younger brother Salar. I want to now read his story – please write one for him Zeenat.

This story is not about the young, mushy, gooey, teenage love; it is a love that is practical and grows and learns. She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not is an affirmation that love can surmount all odds. I was rooting for them to win together, to find that peace and love for each other that both try so hard to hide.

Love truly transformed the ugliness in their lives; much like real life. Yes, it is a very real, grounded and present day love story. A perfect read for my Valentine’s 

Book Blurb

Zoella’s been in love with Fardeen, 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.
Zoella has no chance with him.
Until a brutal accident leaves Fardeen scarred and disfigured, that is. Suddenly bereft of his looks and his 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 where he was once Prince Charming. And a twist of fate lands him his very own princess—Zoella.
The beast, 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
 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 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.
‘Haveli’ is Zeenat’s first published novella.  
She can be contacted on her FB page

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