*I received an ARC from Netgalley. However, I liked the book so much that I bought a copy.
Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a story of life and love in Qatar. Abdulla lost his first wife in a tragic car accident, but after three years, his family feels it’s time for him to marry again. His cousin, Hind, is their choice, but Hind is no more interested in the marriage than Abdulla. Reluctantly, the two become engaged on Hind’s condition that she be allowed to live in England for a year to finish her Master’s degree. While studying abroad, Hind meets Sangita, an Indian woman from America, and the two become fast friends. But Hind’s decision to experience life has far-reaching consequences that may change the course of four lives.
Love Comes Later is a wonderful book about Qatari culture, which differs in many ways from Western culture, and is a culture I was only vaguely familiar with. Rajakumar peppers Qatari cultural terms and Arabic phrases throughout the book, which I felt enhanced the setting and gave me a better idea of the culture the book is set in. In Qatar, arranged marriages are still the norm, and I felt the characters brought to life the difficulties of trying to balance family and religious duty with the more modern concept of marrying for love. Abdulla is a devoted Muslim and a man who feels deeply. After the loss of his first wife, he struggles with the idea of marrying again. Hind, on the other hand, desires freedom, education, and a career, things that are in the realm of men in Qatar. Sangita comes from a fairly strict Indian upbringing, and she has always expected to be a career woman. However, when she falls in love, she finds herself struggling to fit into a culture where women marry but rarely have careers. Love Comes Later is a fascinating read and I highly recommend it. In fact, I went out and purchased all the author’s books after reading this one, and I’m looking forward to them.