Haveli – Review

As I sat staring the computer screen , trying to select a novella from a handful of others just reading the blurb, Haveli caught my attention.

Before I get angry glances that I have not yet started reviewing the said story here, I am jumping right into the review.

Warning: Only book lovers proceed further! 😛

Haveli- Zeenat Mahal

A tale set in 1970’s

Haveli (2013) – by Zeenat Mahal.

Set in Jalalabad, the Princely state in Pakistan,the protagonist Chandni is the granddaughter of the late Nawab of Jalalabad. Growing up along with an elder half- brother and a grandmother(nick named The Broad!) who didn’t believe in showering love through sweet words.

‘C’ (Chandni calls herself ‘C’) hides her innocence behind her sharp tongue! At first, she comes across as  spoilt and sassy, but as we get to know her, we begin to like her.

Already a 20 year old, she is now old enough to be married! (Set in 1970s,that is..!)

Enter tall, handsome and almost perfect Taimur,(nicknamed Alpha Male!) the groom selected by the grandmother. The interaction between Taimur and Chandni is very good to read.

Just when things seem to be going as planned, there comes the father of Chandni (The Nameless), who tries to get into her good books ,showering 20 years of love in a few days time.

The Nameless brings with him Faisal, a groom-to-be for Chandni!

With a groom on each side,whom will Chandni select? Is it Taimur or Faisal?

Why did the father return after all these years? Is his conscience working overtime?

To know this read the novella for yourselves.

What I like:

The story is written in first person, in the point of view of Chandni. I loved the setting of the story. The heroine shows her innocence as the story progresses.

I also liked Taimur, who for a man who never read much, knows his literature! (It is a rare sight seeing a man talk about Darcy and Jane Austen!) In spite of Chandni trying to mislead him at different instances, he is clever enough to grasp the truth.(Commendable!)

I also loved the caring half – brother, the proud royal grandmother and the fatherly figure Baba!

By the time we reach the crux of the novella , i had this fear , whether Chandni will take a wrong decision and live to repent it. I was very scared actually. But then, she proved to be the granddaughter of ‘the Broad’! I loved what she did.

What i didn’t like:

Chandni comes to know the culprit before the closing scenes by chance and that’s too much of a coincidence! What if the heroine never went where she could eavesdrop?

Final words:

It is a very good read and I am eager to read the next novella,The contract written by Zeenat Mahal.

I give 4.2/5


1. The language, at first seems new, but then I got used to it. I enjoyed reading it.

2. The writer put all her knowledge in literature to good use. She had sprinkled many of the famous characters throughout the book in the conversations.

3. The protagonist has the habit of giving a nickname to all the characters she loves. So there, I gave away the clue of whom Chandni loves. 😉

4. Let me add,one last point, the most favourite line in the whole of the novella is when the hero says to Chandni, ‘After all, a man doesn’t get proposed to, often in these parts.’ That,clinched it! (I like other parts as well and if i start writing them, I will end up writing the novella here!)