Have you ever wondered what a modern-day Muslim version of Mr Darcy looks like?

Ayesha At Last is Uzma Jalaluddin's debut novel and is an enthralling adaptation of the classic Pride and Prejudice, with hijab's instead of top hats and kurtas instead of corsets.

Mr Darcy has been transformed into Khalid, a professional who wears his thobe and Islamic skull cap to work. For Khalid, “his white robes and beard were a comfortable security blanket, his way of communicating without saying a word.”

His religious beliefs conflict awkwardly with workplace etiquette when he is introduced to a new colleague, "I'm sorry, I don't shake hands with women. It's against my religion." 

Usually when he was introduced to female clients and co-workers, Khalid “had time to prepare beforehand with a carefully worded email about his no-touch rule.”

In contrast we are presented with the liberal protagonist, hijab-wearing Ayesha Shamsi who dreams of being a poet, although she is stuck in a demanding teaching job. Her boisterous Muslim family and numerous interfering aunties are professional naggers. 

Ayesha is adamant she does not want an arranged marriage. 

Furthermore, her younger, flighty and beautiful cousin Hafsa, who is about to reject her one hundredth marriage proposal, is a constant reminder that Ayesha is still single.

Her aunt benevolently says, "Perhaps I can send a few proposals your way. The ones that aren't suitable for Hafsa."

Khalid, on the other hand has resigned himself to the fact that his mother’s mission in life is to find him a suitable bride. "I will find you the perfect wife- modest, not too educated. If we can't find someone local, we will search back home." 

Ayesha’s first impression of Khalid is that he's a "bearded fundy" after they clash at a poetry night in a bar - Khalid was lured there under false pretences by colleagues.

He says rather sanctimoniously, “I stay away from the type of Muslim who frequents bars,” later adding, “Someone who dresses as you do should not frequent a bar. Hijab and alcohol don’t mix.”

Despite their mutual dislike of each other and the constant acerbic skirmishes, Khalid can’t get the captivating and outspoken Ayesha out of his mind.

This version of the well-loved novel is innovative, relevant and so very relatable.

The prevalent themes from Pride and Prejudice are all present in Ayesha At Last, amalgamated fluidly with the issues faced by contemporary, young Muslim people today.

In the 200 years since Pride and Prejudice was published, it is delightful to see a Muslim version, complete with cross-culture nuances, wit, humour and classic romance.

A must read for Jane Austen fans.

Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin is published 11 April and be purchased here