Book review: The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger

Amina has moved to America from Bangladesh to be with her fiance George, who she met online and has only met once in person. They quickly marry, and we follow Amina as she gets to know George’s family and adjust to her new life.

nellI was sucked into this book straight away, and the early chapters do go back and forth a lot as we find out more about Amina’s family in Bangladesh and how her union with George has come about. George’s family welcome her and she forms a strong bond with his adopted cousin Kim.

I do love a book about the immigrant experience, but I liked that this book was different in that it didn’t dwell on people’s negative or racist reactions to Amina’s arrival in America – instead George’s family are very open and warm towards her, and Amina also manages to find work easily.

Instead, the struggles and tension are between George and Amina themselves, and we soon find out that Amina intends for her parents to move to America to be with her and – in the traditional Deshi way – move into their house. We also discover that George too has a secret of his own.

I really enjoyed this book and found it easy to read, and I was keen to find out what would happen to the characters. However there are a lot of characters introduced over the course of the book, including both Amina’s and George’s extended family, and there are quite a few very minor subplots which, ultimately, add nothing to the story. I could definitely have done without a few of these as it is quite a lengthy novel.

I also would have liked to have found out more about George and his motivations.

But overall I found this quite a moving story, and there was something a bit heartbreaking about it all too. I would definitely read another of Freudenberger’s books.

My rating: 7/10

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