book reviews

The Marriage Clock by Zara Raheem

The Marriage Clock by Zara Raheem

Rating: 5/5

Publication Date: July 23rd, 2019

In Zara Raheem’s fresh, funny, smart debut, a young, Muslim-American woman is given three months to find the right husband or else her traditional Indian parents will find one for her–a novel with a universal story that everyone can relate to about the challenges of falling in love.

To Leila Abid’s traditional Indian parents, finding a husband in their South Asian-Muslim American community is as easy as match, meet, marry. But for Leila, a marriage of arrangement clashes with her lifelong dreams of a Bollywood romance which has her convinced that real love happens before marriage, not the other way around.

Finding the right husband was always part of her life-plan, but after 26 years of singledom, even Leila is starting to get nervous. And to make matters worse, her parents are panicking, the neighbors are talking, and she’s wondering, are her expectations just too high? So Leila decides it’s time to stop dreaming and start dating.

She makes a deal with her parents: they’ll give her three months, until their 30th wedding anniversary, to find a husband on her own terms. But if she fails, they’ll take over and arrange her marriage for her.

With the stakes set, Leila succumbs to the impossible mission of satisfying her parents’ expectations, while also fulfilling her own western ideals of love. But after a series of speed dates, blind dates, online dates and even ambush dates, the sparks just don’t fly! And now, with the marriage clock ticking, and her 3-month deadline looming in the horizon, Leila must face the consequences of what might happen if she doesn’t find “the one…”


I received this e-ARC from Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own!

As soon as I read this synopsis I immediately HAD to get my hands on it because if this isn’t my life I don’t know what is! Though I don’t have any plans to find a husband right now, this could easily happen to me!

Leila is too relatable of a character, flaws and all! I found myself laughing so much throughout the book, especially as she goes through with her plan to find “the one”. It felt like I was watching a montage of hilarious (and mostly failed) dating attempts in a modern rom-com!

It was really refreshing to read a book that talked about arranged marriage without dismissing it completely. My own parents had basically an arranged marriage and they turned out pretty fine, but a lot of books tend to think that these marriages are forced and never bring any positive thoughts about it. This book, however, shared thoughts about dating and arranged marriage. It talked about the pros and cons of both and how each could work… but it’s more of a matter of each experience!

I also loved that her religious identity was established without making it the sole focus of her identity! She wasn’t a hijabi, but her friend (who by the way deserves her own book–like, I would read that in a heartbeat!) was and they all got along fine. I loved the way Desi stereotypes were brought up and explained (and refuted). I just loved how relatable everything was!

Of course, Leila’s character development made me incredibly happy and though the story might have been cliche (which made it all the more fun, since it played out like a modern rom-com), I loved every second of it! I was rooting for Leila’s happy ending, and the ending really tied everything together nicely!

It should also be noted that for once, the parents weren’t seen as the stereotypical bad guys of the situation! I seriously couldn’t appreciate that more! I loved the family dynamics and I loved how much they all cared for each other in their own ways. Of course, they had their flaws, but that’s what made it even more real!

This whole story was hilarious, witty, and overall refreshing! I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good bollywood romance, romantic comedies, failed dating, desi representation or Muslim representation, flawed characters, and just overall fun! If you want a relatable character and fun family and community dynamics, this should definitely be on your TBR!

2 thoughts on “The Marriage Clock by Zara Raheem”

  1. this sounds absolutely adorable!! i’ve been in such a mood for romcoms and hearing ones that feature muslim characters from diverse backgrounds (with healthy family relationships!!!!!! gimme) makes me so much more excited. so glad to hear that you enjoyed it, i can’t wait to read it
    great review!!

    Liked by 1 person

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