On first impression, Courting Samira might appear only a fluffy love story — but it would be a mistake to underestimate it. Author Amal Awad has imbued it with subtle layers — on the top, the story of a Muslim woman navigating the tricky territory of culture and romance, but on its deeper levels, an exploration of that culture and what it means to those who live in it, as well as a wry (and affectionate) criticism of Austenian romance.
Awad's characterisation is perfect. Each person feels rounded and three-dimensional, and protagonist Samira is almost alive. Her confidential tone makes the reader feel as if this is a close friend rather than a character — her exchanges with her friends in particular bring to life her wit and heart.
Above all, Courting Samira is tremendous fun, and an absolute delight from start to finish.
(reviewed 12 days after purchase)