Jennifer Zobair was my Featured Author in June, and I’d started her Painted Hands when approached for this blog tour – how could I not participate? 🙂
About Jennifer Zobair:
Jennifer Zobair grew up in Iowa and attended Smith College and Georgetown Law School. She has practiced corporate and immigration law and, as a convert to Islam, has been a strong advocate for Muslim women’s rights. Her essays have been published in The Rumpus and The Huffington Post. Painted Hands is her first novel. Jennifer lives with her husband, three children, and two dogs outside of Boston.
About Painted Hands:
Muslim bad girl Zainab Mir has just landed a job working for a post-feminist, Republican Senate candidate. Her best friend Amra Abbas is about to make partner at a top Boston law firm. Together they’ve thwarted proposal-slinging aunties, cultural expectations, and the occasional bigot to succeed in their careers. What they didn’t count on? Unlikely men and geopolitical firestorms.
When a handsome childhood friend reappears, Amra makes choices that Zainab considers so 1950s—choices that involve the perfect Banarasi silk dress and a four-bedroom house in the suburbs. After hiding her long work hours during their courtship, Amra struggles to balance her demanding job and her unexpectedly traditional new husband.
Zainab has her own problems. She generates controversy in the Muslim community with a suggestive magazine spread and friendship with a gay reporter. Her rising profile also inflames neocons like Chase Holland, the talk radio host who attacks her religion publicly but privately falls for her hard. When the political fallout from a terrorist attempt jeopardizes Zainab’s job and protests surrounding a woman-led Muslim prayer service lead to violence, Amra and Zainab must decide what they’re willing to risk for their principles, their friendship, and love.
Jennifer Zobair’s Painted Hands is an enchanting tale of long-lasting friendship, fresh-blooming love, ever-meddling family, cultural tradition, religious differences, and even political aspirations. All wrapped up in one fast-flowing read that entertains as it instructs.
I love Zainab Mir – she’s confident and opinionated, and wants the best life has to offer, for herself and her best friends. She’s running the campaign for an outspoken female Republican candidate for office, garnering attention from fans and opposition alike – because of her candidate, her background, and her religion. Zainab shrugs it off. She’s not a radical Muslim after all, and therefore has as much intention of committing a terrorist act as she does getting married.
Her best friends are Amra and Rukan, the former a hard-charging lawyer, the latter in love with and engaged to a non-Muslim. So what, you say. So a lot of things, if you’re familiar in any way with the close-knit community of Pakistani-Americans. Amra eventually finds love the “old-fashioned” way, and is terribly afraid of jeopardizing it. And Rukan learns that love outside of your culture can bring heartache – and not just the my-parents-hate-you kind…
I loved this look at life and love from Jennifer Zobair. There are so many similarities between different communities and cultures, it’s a shame that we let the differences define us. Painted Hands gives us a great “inside look” at the familial obligations and expectations, especially those placed on the daughters – and what happens when they don’t see themselves in those pre-defined roles. It doesn’t gloss over the somewhat hypocritical behavior of their men either – they’re free to do as they wish (as long as they keep it concealed) yet can’t be quick enough to condemn their women who transgress as much as they do – or, as is more often the case, less. Painted Hands is a well-told story that I loved for its familiarity and its message of inclusion, acceptance, and the importance of standing up for yourself.
I know that my review is probably colored by my background and experiences, so I would just LOVE to hear what you think of it. And I definitely can’t wait to read what Jennifer Zobair has for us next.
drey’s rating: Outstanding!
Have you read Painted Hands? If you haven’t, read on to win your own copy!
Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours, I have one copy of Painted Hands for you. This one’s open to US & Canada residents. To enter, fill out the form below before October 10th. Good luck!