This very realistic novel is by Beena Khan, a very young author from Pakistan based in New York. Being a Pakistani it made me so happy that another fellow is making her name in the world of authors with such a great writing style and stories. I haven’t read her debut novel yet but I have seen great reviews on that and it’s in my TBR already. While reading “The Flame Must Burn” I was feeling so many emotions all at once. It has cute young romance, a pragmatic story, a lesson for parents or in fact for everyone. Author used very plain and understandable words to narrate the story and the use of Arabic, Urdu and Persian words for love made this book more appealing. Although the cover of book gives the image of a very steamy romantic novel but it is not even close to that. The characters of Cyrah and Ryder try to follow a traditional way to lead their love into a marriage and struggle for it. As the story progresses you come to know about daily life problems of a girl who belongs to Iran, how she tries to stay positive in all this and how she pursues Ryder’s love.
Novel starts when Cyrah, a very shy girl of age 19 from Iran went to a summer scholarship program to Canada. She was one of those girls from Asia who prefer to study and have a career instead of marriage. She convinced her father with such difficulty to let her go out of the country for this program on a deal that when she will be back, she would have to get married instantly. Cyrah was already in a cultural shock in Canada and whenever she was about to do something like putting on makeup or going out she was reminded of her father’s advices on how to be a good girl and how good girls behave even away from their country. She wanted to be free of all these chains which bound her to her cultural hidebound norms. Although she was frustrated of this all but still found it difficult to free herself. Ryder saw her on the beach and was dumbfounded by her beauty. Later they were both were found in the same class and both kinda giggled inside on this coincidence. At first she avoided him but later found out he was a Muslim too and his roots were from Pakistan. This was a sigh of relief for her but still she was not much comfortable around him in the start.
Ryder was in love with Cyrah at first sight and he was determined to look out for her since she was new in the town and already seemed scared. Even once he tried to save her from a life threatening incident which made Cyrah trust him more. With time passed they both confessed to each other but decided they won’t be dating instead they will be having a courtship which was a cute thing ❤ Ryder took her to his favorite places and told her about his future plans. Slowly and exponentially the flame in both hearts was burning and they both were not ready to give up on each other when Cyrah told him what has her father pre-decided for her and it’s nearly impossible for her to have a love marriage. Neither they wanted to lose each other nor wanted to disrespect their parents. So Ryder made a plan to save Cyrah from a forced marriage and win her father’s heart but there were some unfavorable circumstances for both of them.
In this book Beena highlighted a social issue of love marriage and how it is perceived in Asian Muslim countries not only for women but for men as well. Also she brought out the problems of conservative families, forced marriages, child marriages, women assigned a “duty” to bear children, less opportunities for women to flourish and how in the name of honor their dreams are crushed. But on the bright side, she has mentioned that not every man of the house is so much stern as to not let his daughters breathe freely. Some are just bound to their cultural norms and do not want to go in the opposite direction as it will bring disgrace to their family. It’s not their fault they are raised like this but when these men take stand for their daughters or any woman of the house, there is nothing that can stop them. Parents at least should be rational about their children’s wishes related to life long decisions. I would definitely recommend you all to give it a read and appreciate Beena for her efforts to show us both sides of a picture.
My favorite quote from this book was “When I look into your eyes, your eyes are as pure as the ocean water.” Then, he continued, “I don’t call you Blue Eyes just because of your eye color. Your eyes are the blue of a sweet dream…You’re the blue of the sky.” ❤
Let me know yours 🙂