An Ayah's Choice- Shahida Rahman (audiobook)
A rare jewel, beautifully contrasting the vivid world of turn-of-the-century India with the gray skies of pre-war England through the eyes of a fiercely independent young heroine. Shahida Rahman's starkly drawn prose will linger in the memory – Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Rose Code
Underpinned by true events, An Ayah’s Choice draws us into a rarely-seen aspect of British Indian history. Following the momentous life of Jaya Devani, an Indian woman harboring a secret that propels her to find her own agency against a backdrop of sex, class, and race discrimination.
In a small Indian village in 1900, aspiring artist Jaya Devani yearns for freedom beyond the confines of the life expected of her. When she begins a tumultuous relationship with her British colonial employer, William Edmundson, she launches herself on course for a new life as an ayah, a nanny, in London. Arriving on British shores as the suffragette movement is growing, Jaya grapples with a choice: can she really find freedom in the arms of William, or will she have to seek out her own way to be truly free?
A story of the tenacity of the human spirit, friendship, and blazing your own path. Perfect for fans of The Paris Library and The Beekeeper of Aleppo.
'An intriguing tale, extensively researched, an odyssey of Britain's complex relationship with India at the height of the Raj. This is a tale of love, broken promises, murder, and revenge set against the backdrop of the fights for female suffrage and Indian independence' – Dr Sean Lang, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge
Deviant Quill Review: The story is crafted by an English author of South Asian descent with a deep feminist mentality. It takes about the life, struggles, and complex growth of a woman from a culture in which women are seen as property even today. It shows how women in times of gender suppression (and not only) had aspirations, made mistakes, and learned from them. The author doesn't coddle them based on social status or nationality but presents them as they are, with strengths and weaknesses. Abuse and neglect don't know any social status. For readers that are not familiar with South Asia, Shahida Rahman paints a deep historical and cultural setting that can serve as teaching.
I chose to review the audiobook, and this is where I found my main critique. Amina Zia is a wonderful narrator who can immerse the reader in the story by perfectly speaking in foreign accents that give a strong outline to the characters. However, I felt like Jaya seemed much older than she was in the way she was portrayed.
Audiobook review copy provided by Saga Egmont Audio @ Net Galley
Publication date: March 27, 2022
Audiobook ISBN 9788728402818
Audiobook Publication Date: 8 Dec 2022