The Newlyweds – Nell Freudenberger

Published June 4, 2013 by bibliobeth

The Newlyweds

What’s it all about?:

In The Newlyweds, we follow the story of Amina Mazid, who at age twenty-four moves from Bangladesh to Rochester, New York, for love. A hundred years ago, Amina would have been called a mail-order bride. But this is an arranged marriage for the twenty-first century: Amina is wooed by—and woos—George Stillman online. 
For Amina, George offers a chance for a new life and a different kind of happiness than she might find back home. For George, Amina is a woman who doesn’t play games. But each of them is hiding something: someone from the past they thought they could leave behind. It is only when they put an ocean between them—and Amina returns to Bangladesh—that she and George find out if their secrets will tear them apart, or if they can build a future together.

What did I think?:

The premise of this novel made me quite eager to read it – an American man meets a Bangladesh woman online and marries her after wooing her in the form of letters/emails. How she adjusts to her new life in America, adapts to different customs, while keeping her habits and culture alive is a paramount part of this story and one which I think the author carried out admirably well. At first, it took me a while to get into the story, but I ended up really caring about Amina, and the struggles she faces with getting employed, and relating to her new husband through the early days of their married lives. When a secret is unearthed that involves her husband George, the author keeps us on our toes and gently peels back the layers so we learn more about Amina and about what kind of person she is.

I also loved Amina’s relationship with her parents, signifying how important culture and family is or should be to us, and how we cope with daily struggles whilst trying desperately to please our loved ones. The only part of this novel that didn’t sit well was the family feud that Amina’s parents were coping with, I’m not sure why but it felt slightly unbelievable to me as the reader. Although it led to a highly emotive and shocking incident, I’m not really sure that it slotted in with the rest of the story. The ending however, is incredibly sad and poignant, and I felt myself turning the pages frantically wondering what would happen next. I would say it’s definitely worth a read.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

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