The Lost Love of Akbar Manzil by Shubnum Khan

"The Lost Love of Akbar Manzil" by Shubnum Khan as part of a readalong hosted by Tandem Collective Global.  This was a wonderful opportunity to, in the company of South Africa's best Bookstagrammers, discover the beauty and magic of this book.The Lost Love of Akbar Manzil by Shubnum Khan is a captivating novel that blends history, romance, and fantasy in a richly detailed setting. The book follows two parallel stories: one of Sana, a troubled teenager who moves into a dilapidated mansion in South Africa with her father in 2014, and the other of Meena, a young bride who arrives at the same mansion in 1932.

The book vividly depicts the different settings of the story, from the grand and elegant mansion in its heyday, to the rundown and haunted house in the present, to the various locations in South Africa and India. The author uses descriptive language and sensory details to create a realistic and immersive atmosphere, as well as to contrast the beauty and the horror of the different scenes.

The book features a diverse and complex cast of characters, each with their own personality, background, and motivation. The main characters, Sana and Meena, are both sympathetic and relatable, as they struggle with their own issues and try to find their place in the world. The secondary characters, such as the other tenants of the mansion, the family members, and the friends, are also well-developed and add depth and colour to the story.

“The Lost Love of Akbar Manzil” by Shubnum KhanThe book has a compelling and engaging plot, that keeps the reader interested and curious throughout. The book alternates between the two timelines, creating suspense and anticipation, as well as showing the connections and parallels between the two stories. The book also has some twists and surprises, that add to the drama and the emotion of the story.

Khan’s writing is lyrical and evocative, transporting the reader to the different eras and cultures of the characters. She skillfully weaves together the threads of the past and the present, revealing the secrets and tragedies that haunt the mansion and its inhabitants. The book explores themes such as love, loss, identity, belonging, and faith, as well as the impact of colonialism, racism, and sexism on the lives of the Indian community in South Africa. The author also incorporates elements of magical realism, such as the djinn, the ghosts, and the enchanted objects, to create a sense of wonder and mystery.

The book is not a light read, as it deals with some dark and disturbing topics. The villains of the story are cruel and ruthless, and the fate of some of the characters is heartbreaking. The ending is bittersweet, offering some hope and closure, but also leaving some questions unanswered.

I also shared my favourite quotes from this book here.

I read this book as part of a Tandem Collective Readalong #lostlovereadalong #shubnumkhanreadalong Thank you to Pan MacMillan SA, Exclusive Books, Tandem Collective
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