Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review: The Mother-In-Law Cure by Farha Z. Hasan

Release Date: September 8, 2013
Publisher: Createspace
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Goodreads | Website

The Mother-in-Law Cure is a modern day fairy tale that chronicles the rise of the book's central character, Humara from orphan to power matriarch in an affluent family. Humara's influence spans generations and continents, but things are seldom as they appear. Humara's prosperity is not simply good fortune but stems from something dark and sinister - as those who encounter her quickly begin to realize. It seems that nothing can stand in Humara's way as she pulls the strings of those around her, until she meets the unlikeliest of nemesis. Another young orphan whose status in the household is little more than a servant will be the instrument of Humara's demise. The Mother-in-Law Cure is an urban fantasy that takes you from Pakistan to the Middle East and back to the United States.

This was a weird twisted little story, but for some odd reason I really enjoyed it.
And, no.
I don't sit around and plot my mother-in-law's demise in my spare time. She and I might be from different planets, but (as this book points out) I could have done a  lot worse.
Besides, I'm probably going to be somebody's mother-in-law someday.
Of course, I'm sure I'll be much beloved by my son or daughter-in-law....

According to the blurb, this book is about Humara, the evil mother-in-law, but in reality, it's more about Miriam.

She's the second wife of Humara's eldest son. As the story unfolds, you find out through flashbacks what happened to his first wife...and it ain't pretty.
Something isn't right when it comes to Humara. The book never specifies exactly how she manages to twist fate into her hands, but the use of dark magic is definitely alluded to.
Everyone around her bows to her will eventually. And if they haven't learned to fear her yet...they will.

I know diddly-squat about what it's like to be a Pakistani American, so whether or not this gives you a glimpse into that culture, I couldn't tell you.
I can say that I did find the dynamics of the family interesting.

And then there was my personal favorite...Baby.
Baby was the gaudy, loud, and unbelievably overweight fiancee of Miriam's brother-in-law. The addition of this character was both hysterical and sad. Humara decides she's had enough of her youngest son's frivolous lifestyle, and chooses his bride-to-be from an unlikely place.
Why she decides to saddle her son with someone that he obviously cringes away from isn't really explained, but you can assume that it didn't come from a warm fuzzy place in her heart.
Baby, as it turns out, is the only daughter of a successful businessman...and Humara's old lover. Why Humara felt the need to drag this family down with her, is yet another question that's never directly answered. I could only assume that she felt a jealous need to insert herself into his life once more.

The cure, itself, is yet another mystery.
And while you may never know the whys or hows of it's true origin, the results are certainly...interesting.

This won't be a book for everyone, but since I'm still pondering it days later, I'd say it was a win for me.
It's a dark tale that's mundane and magical at the same time.
Oh. And it definitely made me want to be extra nice to anybody my kids decide to marry...


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