Independent review of the book
By Samreen Ahsan
A Silent Prayer is a book that deserves all the attention, including the many awards it has received.
In just over a year since its publication, A Silent Prayer won first prizes at book fairs in Los Angeles, Hollywood and Paris, first prize in the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards, and an Honourable Mention at the New York Book Festival.
Like all great novels, it has a universal appeal.
I know from the author’s statements on social media that she hated the bestseller, 50 Shades of Grey. I did, too. And reading A Silent Prayer, I got the distinct feeling that Ahsan thought “Let’s try that thing again.”
So, like so many books out there, it has a similar premise: a very rich man who has determined never to get emotionally involved with his sexual conquests falls head over heels in love, almost against his will.
But that’s where the similarity ends. First, Ahsan is a talented writer with a competent, smooth style. She knows how to draw a reader into the story.
The characters are sympathetic and believable. Adam Gibson is a real estate developer in Toronto, and he’s close to 40 years old. Like Christian Gray, he has an emotional trauma in his past that prevents him from getting emotionally involved with the women he beds.
And Rania Ahmed is as different from Anastasia Steel as could be imagined. She’s smart, professional, religious and independent. She also has some kind of trauma in her past, a trauma that the author slowly unveils through the story.
Then the author has added a mystical, supernatural thread to the story. It picks up in the first chapter, when Adam Gibson finds a staircase leading to a roof access in a building he renovated—and that he does not remember being there before. This is a classic magical element: the mysterious portal.
He follows “magical-sounding” music to another building’s rooftop, opens another door to a spiral passage that leads downward, where a beautiful girl is dancing. “For the first time in my life, I feel my soul is pulling me … toward her.” He follows her in a scene that reads like a dream. When he finally touches her, they look at each other briefly, and then the spell breaks. The music ends, the woman walks away, and even the spiral passage vanishes.
Of course, the woman has an uncanny physical resemblance to the heroine of the story, Rania. Next is the chance encounter between her and Adam, which leads to their inevitable mutual attraction.
But that’s the extent of the love story tropes. Adam and Rania are unique, sympathetic and believable.
What I liked
- believable characters
- writing style
- professional production values
The only drawback is that A Silent Prayer does not answer all the questions it raises. It has a beginning, middle and end that tell a complete story—except for resolving the magical element. Was it really Rania that Adam saw dancing in Chapter 1? What is the cause of her nightmares? What is the mystical, shadowy presence in her life?
To find those answers, you have to read the sequel, A Prayer Heeded. I understand that. I’ve done the same thing with my Eastern Front series, Army of Worn Soles, Under the Nazi Heel and Walking Out of War. But I have to admit, it’s a little frustrating.
Still, I will read the sequel and I promise not to take so long to review it.
To find A Silent Prayer and its sequel, A Prayer Heeded, visit author Samreen Ahsan’s website. There, you’ll get all the links to buy it from just about every e-book platform there is, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters Indigo, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, Scribd and Inktera.