Well this is exciting! The first review for Lifelines has been posted by Readers’ Favorite!
Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers’ Favorite
Lifelines by Shireen Magedin is a sweet, romantic drama set in rural Pakistan in 1975. Sarah Shah is a naïve seventeen-year-old when she heads off to Medical School in Nawabshah. One of the people she meets on her very first day is the newly-appointed Police Inspector, Tanya Kareem. Tanya, the first female police inspector for the district, is well aware that to succeed in a man’s world, especially in a Muslim country like Pakistan, she has to be not only faultless at her job but perfect in her private life as well.
There is one problem, however; Tanya prefers women over men, something she has known since she was a young woman and also something that saw her thrown out of her family and effectively disowned by them. Determined to make a success of her career in the police force, Tanya has suppressed her own personal desires to ensure her long-term ambition to reach the top of law enforcement. From the very first moment Tanya lays eyes on Sarah, she feels electricity and an attraction that is undeniable.
Deep in her heart, she knows this beautiful young woman may well be the soulmate she has been longing for. As a warm friendship develops between the pair and slowly deepens into an all-consuming love, both these women must consider their futures. If it is possible to seriously build a life together, both know that it must be somewhere away from Pakistan and away from the deep-rooted prejudice and religious intolerance of their sexual orientation.
Lifelines is a gentle, yet still exciting love story, especially as it is set in a society, a culture, and a time when same-sex relationships are not just frowned upon but are considered seriously deviant and against God’s will. Author Shireen Magedin has done a lovely job of exploring these two very different women and their fierce love and protectiveness for each other. Written from a dual perspective, each event in their lives is explored from both Sarah’s and Tanya’s viewpoints.
Although this literary technique has the potential to become repetitive, this author did well to keep the reader’s interest by presenting two women who are markedly different in many ways and view each circumstance from a distinctly different perspective but despite that are still united in their love for each other.
The author is a medical doctor herself and this clearly shows through the story arcs, especially as it pertains to her detailed descriptions of patients’ injuries and illness, as well as detailed knowledge of hospital procedures and surgical techniques. The central theme of the novel is love and this is explored in all its facets, without resorting to crude or lurid details. This was refreshing and a credit to the author.
I particularly enjoyed the sense of anticipation over the two women’s desire to express their love for each other and their concurrent fear of rejection by the other party. The suspense was well built and maintained throughout the bulk of the story, along with a fascinating undercurrent of the supernatural and extrasensory perception. This was a sweet and enjoyable read that I can recommend to lovers of romance with a difference.