The Flame Must Burn by Beena Khan
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Beena, for allowing me to read and review for you again. I truly appreciate the opportunity and look forward to reading for you again in the future.
The flame must burn.
Beena Khan is a new author who has written four beautiful stories so far. Beena brings a colorful mix of humor, romance, and diversity to each of her novels. Her characters are so carefully crafted, from a perspective of the uncommon, which is refreshing. She writes such lovely stories, filled with a mix of cultural diversity that provides an insight into a world many of us have never seen.
Cyrah, on her own for the first time in a foreign country, trying to find herself while making sure she upholds her family honor. She struggles to abide by all of her Baba’s rules. While she desperately wants to be the good girl, she is expected to be, she cannot help but feel the forbidden pull of freedom.
Ryder, a carefree college student who can’t wait to escape his small hometown and stretch his wings, who is looking for peace he feels only when he’s near the ocean. He longs for the freedom that can only be found outside of his hometown, that is until a pair of blue eyes come into his life.
This is the third book from Beena Khan that I have read, and she keeps getting better with every chapter she writes. Her stories flow smoothly, and she writes characters that have so much to say.
Something I appreciate about Beena’s writing is how heavily influenced it is by her culture. As someone who is not familiar with Southeast Asian culture, it is an educational moment to read about the practices and traditions being upheld. Been a does a beautiful job of showing respect and honor to her culture and the other cultures and writes about.
This book discusses the concept of arranged marriage and goes into the patriarchal stance of family. I enjoyed learning more about this practice and getting a glimpse into a Pakistani home. Unlike Beena’s precious novels (the Red series), this novella focuses a lot on the cultural beliefs of Cyrah and her family. While there is a forbidden romance intertwined within the pages, I appreciated that portions of the story took place in Pakistan. And that, we get a glimpse into what being a Pakistani woman is like.
This is a reasonably unconventional love story, and there are times when you can’t help but truly love the sweet, shy, and good Cyrah. I appreciate how Beena wrote her female characters in this book. Despite them being women from cultures that teach women to be submissive and silent, the women within this novella are strong and brave. It was refreshing to meet Cyrah’s Maman and discover there is much more to her than her subservient upbringing. Writing strong women from this perspective is so powerful, and I applaud Beena for doing that. I enjoyed this story very much. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.
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