ARC REVIEW: TO LAHORE WITH LOVE by Hina Belitz

Hi! I’m back with a review of a book I was actually supposed to review for the first time in like two months! It’s been an interesting few weeks especially and I’ve really been struggling to read, but I think I might be getting back into it.

My Netgalley TBR is terrifying right now but, after weeks of trying and failing to read, I finally got through one of my anticipated reads! This was a super quick and easy read, and I actually found it great as a short escape from being locked in the house…

So thank you, Headline Review, for an e-arc of ‘To Lahore, With Love.’

‘To Lahore, With Love’ is the story of Addy, a British woman with an infectious love of cooking, and her journey to discovering her true self when her life in London is turned upside down. We learn that she has been raised as British, aware of both her Irish and Pakistani heritage, and that she’s perfectly content with little knowledge of the side of her family from Pakistan- namely, the now-deceased father who left when she was younger- until a secret about her marriage sends her spiralling into depression and, very suddenly, on a healing trip to Lahore.

For the first half of this book, I thought it was good. The writing style throughout is easy and very readable, and the recipes at the start of each chapter provided such refreshing mini-commentaries on the story as a whole that I found myself to be as excited about what she would be cooking next as I was about the progression of the story. I liked Addy as a character and I loved how passionate she was about cooking, which was and will always be her truest passion.

It was the second half of the book that made me fall in love with it, though. As soon as Addy reached Lahore, her character development increased exponentially. The way she connected with the city and her newfound family was beautiful to read and her changed perspective was drastic and yet completely believable. I found myself seriously rooting for her towards the end of the novel, grinning like an idiot when she did something I was proud of. It’s a feeling I haven’t felt about a book for a while and it was an absolute pleasure to experience. I must say that Addy makes a lot of discoveries that I didn’t always find to be quite as believable or developed as other aspects of the book towards the end, but the growth visible in her responses alone to these made them completely necessary, in my opinion.

As well as the characters, two things that can’t be ignored about this book are the recipes and the scene setting. Both of these elements were huge parts of the story and I found them to be so beautifully done that I was, at times, starving for some of the delicious meals that Addy described, tasting them from the descriptions alone, and craving a trip to Lahore. The portrayal of Pakistan was not always idyllic, but the overall description was stunning, with the vibrant sounds, atmospheres and (specifically for Addy) flavours being so incredibly believable. This book contains the kinds of descriptions that make you desperate to go and see the featured places for yourself and I certainly find that, now I’ve finished it, I’ve got serious wanderlust.

This book is perfect if you’re looking for escapism through a funny, reassuring, and easy read. With the current incapacity to leave the house, I found the ability to escape to Lahore in this story incredibly calming and refreshing. It made me forget my surroundings for hours whilst I kept turning the pages and I’m sure that it would have the same effect on anyone else who picks it up.

RATING: 4.5/5

If you want to read this book, you can grab a copy right here.*

I get a small commission if you use any of my links 🙂

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