'Little Maryam' by Hamid Baig

About the Book:

Title: Little Maryam
Author: Hamid Baig
Publisher: Notion Press Inc.
Language: English
No. of pages:296
Year of Publication: 2018
ISBN: 9781642490558
ASIN: B0798TZH99
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While giving a speech for his Nobel Prize nomination, Dr. Saadiq Haider, a renowned gene therapist and professor at Stanford University, receives a phone call that changes his life. Abandoning his duties and responsibilities, Saadiq hurriedly boards a flight bound for India, embarking on a journey that spans thousands of miles and pulls him back into a past Saadiq thought long-buried. Seated next to him on the flight, Anne Miller—an intrepid journalist with a nose for headline news—senses the reclusive genius has a story to tell.

During the flight, Anne manages to break through Saadiq’s hard exterior and listens, rapt, as he unfurls a tale fraught with love and heartbreak.

His story transports Anne back in time to a small, sleepy town nestled in the mountains of northern India, where Saadiq spent his childhood. Through Saadiq’s narrative, Anne meets Maryam and witnesses the friendship between Maryam and Saadiq mature into an intense love; a love that is tested when tragedy strikes and the lovers are separated. Try as they might, their devotion is no match against the workings of fate, and the tighter Saadiq and Maryam cling to one another, the faster they slip apart.

Now, after two decades of trying to forget his past with alcohol and drug abuse, Saadiq tells Anne that fate has acted again; Maryam is the hospital, her condition critical.

When their plane lands in India, the newfound friends part ways and while Saadiq rushes to Maryam’s side, Anne returns to her life, grateful to have met the enigmatic man.

Months later, Anne learns that after wrenching Maryam from the indomitable grip of death, Saadiq took her back to America, where they finally married. But, her assumption that the greatest love story she had ever known would end happily is shattered when Anne receives devastating news.
About the Author:

Hamid runs a successful market research company, providing customer insights to some of biggest names in the industry. He is a voracious reader and has been one for as long as he can remember. He started penning short stories at a very young age, but never thought of writing a full length novel until the idea for Little Maryam popped into his head. He writes as fast as he reads, which is sometimes just a little too fast. 

Apart from enjoying good books, Hamid is passionate about travel and food. He is sometimes called “the culture connoisseur” by his friends because he loves having long conversations about different cuisines, exotic travel locations, and of course, books.
Hamid lives in New Delhi with his wife and two wonderful kids.

My Views: 

Whenever I read a debut novel by any author, I read it with an open mind. I know how much effort goes in giving form to ideas and then laying that out in the open for readers. 
"Easy reading is damn hard writing" - Nathaniel Hawthorne.
About the book:
The cover is simple, relevant to the story and impressive; the kind that would make you pick up the book in first place. 
The blurb of the book would make you buy it.
A good beginning, I say.

Though I received author signed paperback of the Novel; I read the kindle version, which I downloaded since I have kindle unlimited. 

It was early morning (late night for me) when I started reading the book, I thought I'd read a few pages and then continue the next night. I continued reading for two hours. 
The easy and fluent narration pulls you into the story from the beginning. 
It was difficult for me to close the kindle and put it away.
The story begins at airport where our journalist Anne sees our protagonist Dr. Saadiq Haider and senses that he has a story to tell. This is covered in Chapter One and then Chapter Two takes us on a journey into the past. This is what piqued my interest - The first meeting between Saadiq and Maryam is ordinary yet special. The tale of young love touches the heart. Saadiq's journey from 14 to late 40's is worth reading and so is Maryam's journey. Saadiq's protectiveness towards Maryam is evident from the beginning to the end of the book. Every woman would love to have a Saadiq in her life, someone who would do anything to ensure that she's happy.

The characters are real-life like and the author has dealt with the emotions of the characters perfectly. This makes it easy for the reader to relate to the character. Reading about the pain of the characters did not make me cry but it did make me feel sad for them.
Anne's role in the story gets due justice, especially in the second half.
Even though Saadiq tells Anne his story, the author has written the past as it happens and not as a narration. 
The book has two parts
1. Saadiq Haider - where we learn about the past
2. Maryam - where we take a dip into the past but learn more about how it progresses and ends. 

The plot is simple and believable. Editing is almost flawless. Yes, I found some typos that can be overlooked but there are some mistakes where it seems that the author changed his mind mid-sentence. "I wasn't as brave as her was" - it's as if author wanted to write "I wasn't as brave as her" and the flow of his thoughts was disturbed and when he came back to it, he continued differently. 
"A crash came from the side of the cottage, and Saadiq run around the corner towards the wall..."
"Are you ladies are finished..."
I know it happens. It happens with me too, the only difference being - Since I publish for free reading on blog the readers are lenient about such mistakes.  

There's a mention of a ring Saadiq engraves something on, for Maryam. I would have loved to know what was engraved rather than vague mention that it was "very Saadiq like".

The story flow is smooth that is what makes the book (kindle) unputdownable, except the few hiccups I mentioned above. 
Like I mentioned before, the story is believable with a twist. There's a surprise element, though it does not knock you off your chair.

I would recommend this book to the readers of my blog, those who enjoy reading romance fiction.
From the book:

They were just two words, and very simple ones, as far as words go. But, they fell from his mouth like a judge’s gavel, final and unsparing.

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