Aleezah is stunned to learn that Omar, her handsome older cousin, is returning to Lahore for the first time in years. A young university student, Aleezah lives with her grandmother in Lahore, and is thrilled to learn that Omar will be moving in with them for a while. Omar has abruptly left his post at the Foreign Service, Aleezah learns, and is now determined to join the police force instead.
Aleezah has lived with her grandmother for most of her lonely, unmoored life. Her parents divorced when she was a child and both remarried soon after. Aleezah’s father now lives between Muscat and Karachi, and her mother lives with her new husband in Australia. Aleezah has dutifully visited her parents through the years but has never really felt at home anywhere other than in her grandparents’ home in Lahore.
As Aleezah prepares Omar’s room for his arrival, long dormant memories well up and she is transported to another time. She thinks all the way back to the beginning, when she first encountered her flirtatious, charismatic – and mystifying – cousin. She remembers it was right here, in their grandmother’s house, that they had their first awkward and strange conversations. And it was also right here, she remembers, that she first decided she didn’t like Omar Jahangir at all…
Blogger Reshmy Pillai reviews the last episode of Love Lasts Forever:
Love Lasts Forever, noted Pakistani writer Umera Ahmed’s romance, is being published in an interesting format for the first time on a reading app – as weekly episodes, something similar to magazines. With this book, we readers of ebooks finally have our own version of weekly soaps! This book will be published in 22 episodes on the app, once every Tuesday starting from 18 October 2016.
In the first episode, we meet the protagonists, Aleezah and Omar — cousins who meet at their grandparents’ house in Pakistan, both of them being brought up away from their parents. Aleezah is told that Omar would be visiting, and that she would oversee all arrangements for his stay. We are then taken years back, when the two met for the first time in the very same house.
We are introduced to the silent and adjusting Aleezah and the charming and mysterious Omar in this episode. The first episode also shows us all the attention that is showered on Omar in his grandparent’s house, right from the food menu being of his choice to him being allowed to put plants and altering the landscaping. Aleezah seethes through all of this and goes about her days being miffed and avoiding Omar, till they discover their common love – the love for fragrances.
The writing is charming and visual. The reader is carried off into that old mansion in Lahore and can visualize Aleezah sulking and Omar smiling while sitting around in the long corridors. And smile at the innocence and charm of simple things like fragrances and gardening, at the memories that come back to us about our own summer vacations at our grandparents’ homes, at the innocence of youth. The author slowly and successfully builds the characters, showing us bit-by-bit of both the protagonists and the surroundings, and the situations they are in.
Episode 2 comes out on 25th October 2016, and I can’t wait to read what happens next in Aleezah and Omar’s life. The blurb tells us there is a love story in there and I can’t wait for it to unravel…
Reshmy Pillai is a writer, editor and book critic, and founder of The Tales Pensieve, a website dedicated to new writing from India. An ex-healthcare professional, her true passion remains writing historical fiction.