I received an ARC of this novel courtesy of the author, Abda Khan, in exchange for an honest review of Stained. 

Selina, a beautiful, British-born Pakistani young woman 31437727recently lost her father, and finds herself struggling to cope with life, in particular with some aspects of her studies. Matters go from bad to worse, when a trusted family friend from the mosque offers to tutor her, and rapes her instead.

With the threat of dishonour to her family at her back, Selina goes to extreme lengths to avoid scandal, and prevent shame being brought to her widowed mother’s door. It will take all the strength and courage Selina can muster when her life travels down a dangerous path, from which there may be no return… (via Goodreads)

Rape is a topic that I avoid reading at all costs, but when Abda Khan contacted me in September, I read the summary for this novel and about Abda herself. I thought that this was something that I needed to read, whether I ended up enjoying it or not.

I was completely right, but I honestly found myself enjoying the novel. I loved waiting to see what would happen in Selena’s life next, rooting for her all the time. Selena is like so many women I know – amazing, resilient and fucking badass when she had to be.

I won’t tell you anything about the plot, but I will say that I wished that there had been more interaction with other women in this book. Selena’s life kind of wound up being centered around the men that were major in her life, when there were some great characters that could have been brought back throughout. I will also say that I wish it had been a little more descriptive at times, but those were my only complaints.

 This was a four star read for me, because it was well done, and I was proud of the changes that Selena was able to make for herself in the end. Stained wound up being about Selena’s empowerment, despite the odds being stacked against her.

four stars and one empty one meant to signify a four star review

Abda is a lawyer who has been writing for the last few years. abdakhanHer debut novel ‘Stained’ is to be published in the USA by Harvard Square Editions on 3 October 2016.
Her writing has been greatly influenced by her experiences in dealing with issues concerning South Asian and Muslim women in the communities in which she has lived and worked.
She has been shortlisted in three short story competitions, most recently by Wells Festival of Literature.

2 thoughts on “Review:: Stained by Abda Khan”

  1. I enjoyed this book too!
    I didn’t write about it in my review, but now that I think about it, I wish there had been more prominent female characters that Selina had positive relationships with. I did like the ending, though. I thought it was hopeful and was glad Selina exercised agency in her own life.

    1. I’m always here for female friends & agency in my stories. I think the potential was there – her friend from school, for example, but I also realize after re-reading this review that maybe she was holding herself away from others because of how scared she was of everything going on in her life. But there’s certainly potential for the future, if Khan wanted to write another book!

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