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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  394 ratings  ·  74 reviews
It’s the 1970′s in Jalalabad, an erstwhile princely state in Pakistan. Chandni is a self-proclaimed cynic and prefers to be called C. An orphan brought up by her domineering grandmother, a.k.a. The Broad, C is rebellious, quick-witted and stunningly beautiful.

When Taimur, a.k.a. Alpha Male, enters the closed universe of the haveli, he is smitten, but he’ll never admit it.
ebook, 93 pages
Published June 12th 2013 by Indireads
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  394 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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Ronak Gajjar
Mar 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018, stand-alones
Was this a book? A joke? A prank on my brain cells? – Then not funny at all!
Therefore, it was that – I read blurb after reading the so-called “Book” and it was supposed to be – ROMANCE!
Funny part - No relevance between title and the story!
‘Good girls’ wore red lipstick only after they were married.
Concept: 1.0/5.0
Execution: 0.0/5.0
Characters Bespoken: 0.0 /5.0
Cover: 1.0/5.0
Overall: 0.5/5.0
So, the story begins with:
An orphan girl named Chandni(*who btw hates her name) – struggles to mov
2.5 stars
A chiclit dealing with the angst of a beautiful, affluent 20 year old girl with green eyes, an orphan brought up by her Hitlerish maternal grandmother. She has a crush on an older widower, and then meets up with a handsome young, brash guy who rubs her the wrong way...
and then her long gone father makes an appearance with another young man.... and the comedy of suitors starts, with a sinister touch.
The first half was much better than the latter half.
Initially a 4 star material, the boo
Shilpa Garg
Jun 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved reading Haveli and that’s because of the witty, humorous and intelligent expression of the author. Zeenat’s style of writing is very engaging and lucid. Assigning nicknames to the various characters is an interesting approach. The 'literary' conversations between Chandni and Taimur are entertaining.

Haveli is a short breezy romance with charming characters, a fast paced storyline with funny and quick-witted dialogues. This is one novella, that I would love to re-read again!

Haveli is defi
Shuchi Kalra
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
The first thing about ‘Haveli’ that intrigued me was its setting – Pakistan in the 1970s. I have never read a book by a Pakistani author and I know little or nothing about the culture next door so I was naturally curious. Zeenat describes the era with such flair that none of it seems strange or alien. But the high point of the story is the spunky C – she is witty, bratty, strong-willed, sarcastic but completely lovable. I have to admit, I have a thing for raw, roguish heroes too and Taimur fit t ...more
Reet Singh
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. L.O.V.E.D it!
I wanted to be the one who had written it!

Zeenat Mahal, you are so irreverent; you have a naughty, cheeky, humorous voice. I kept grinning; even took my Kindle to work in case I got a minute during out-patients, just so I could get back to the sexy sparring between C. and Alpha-male. I didn't get time, sadly, but I did finish it this morning, and couldn't wait to tell you how much I loved C, what with all her name calling! And what an adorable rogue Heathcliff-t
Sara Saif
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: NO ONE.
Recommended to Sara by: My conscience
Er … What the actual hell?
I really thought this would be better than The Accidental Fiance. LOL, NAH! This was worse. I’ve read some really good books this past month so this feeling of absolute loathing and disgust is something fresh. I’m relishing it.
I had expectations. They’re making fun of me right now.

Reasons why this was mostly shit:

1.There is a thing called “trying too hard”. It was insufferably suffering from it. This is the crux of the matter. Everything, the protagonist, th
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A charming little romance which is set in the recent past. Pakistan in the seventies, to be precise. Chandni has been somewhat over-protected by her maternal grandmother in the crumbling haveli (palace) which is their family’s ancestral home. They are, as you might have guessed, erstwhile Indo-Pak royalty. Young, beautiful and extremely well read and educated due to rigorous home tutoring, Chandni longs for the love and affection of the father she has never known. He seems, her father, to have b ...more
Roopa Raveendran Menon
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Zeenat Mahal’s Haveli belongs to its protagonist C, a stunning, sassy 20- year- old with a strong mind of her own. She has a delicious Scarlet O’Hara bite to her that makes her absolutely unforgettable! As for Taimur- Alpha Male, sigh! The reader is clearly left gasping before his smouldering, roguish charm. Superb characterization aside, another stand out is Zeenat Mahal’s style-she uses the stream of consciousness narrative style with such flair and mastery that it takes this book to another l ...more
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fast paced love story with lots of humour and an awesome heroine who will give Elizabeth Bennett a run for her money.
Anum S.
Even though both Pakistan and India are experiencing a rapid change in terms of interest in South Asian English literature, the field stills remain sparse and dominated by only a few well known names.

Haveli, one of the more popular ventures of Indireads, a Canada-based independent publishing company, is a novella set in a time period that appeals to both Pakistani and Indian readers. The location of the story, a mansion in Jalalabad, featuring in the book as a former princely state of Pakistan,
Njkinny (Njkinny's Blog)
May 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Njkinny by: Zeenat Mahal

Having already read and loved The Contract by Zeenat Mahal, I already loved the author's writing style. The Contract had a strong and sensual romance more to do with strong feelings that any physical acts and this was what had me loving Zeenat Mahal's style.

But when I read Haveli, I realized that she has so much more to offer. I absolutely loved the romance, the feisty heroine, the struggles that she threw to make the story more appealing and the whole em
Lemon Review
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Originally posted on The Lemon Review

Lemon Reviewer: Lindsey

I’m always on the lookout for new fiction that pushes the boundaries of what I typically read. Recently, I had the opportunity to do just that with Haveli, by Zeenat Mahal. Haveli is a novella set in 1970’s Pakistan. This intrigued me because a) though I love learning about different cultures, I literally know next to nothing about Pakistan and b) most romance novels I come across have current, futuristic, or regency era time periods.
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is the second book I've read by Zeenat Mahal. In "Haveli" (which is set in 1971).

We are introduced to a twenty year old, green-eyed Chandni ;or as she prefers herself to be called "C".

"I hated my name. It made me sound like some prostitute from Pakeezah"

She lives in Gulaab Mahal with her grandmother - "The Broad" (Zaitoon Begum, the widow of the last Nawab of Jalalabad) who wants to see her become a "lady" and marry someone respectable.

"I was convinced she was born from Satan’s rib"

Jan 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
This was a short and sweet novella that I would ask everyone to take an hour off to read.

Set in an older era of 1970s, we are provided with an outlook on the many facets of a strong-willed Pakistani woman’s life.I was expecting a rather conservative and a more serious story based on the backdrop of the novella, but what I got absolutely left me giddy with delight.

I really liked the sassy and spunky heroine; her headstrong and impulsive nature might make her appear a little bratty, but her sensi
I've tried to gather a range of different types of books for my first ever official 'reading challenge'. One day, I decided I want to include something by an author from my homeland... after days and days of searching, I stumbled upon Haveli... there was something about the name that intrigued me so, I bought it immediately... and I'm so glad I did!

My first ever anything by a Pakistani author! When I found it, I was ecstatic.. when I read it, I couldn't put it down... when it ended, I was like
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Check out this review at

The story starts with the relationship between Chandni and her grandmother, whom she lovingly calls –The Broad. This is enough to hook the readers till the end of the story. It's hilarious how the author brings out the humor, as well as the conflicting emotion, between the granddaughter and the grandmother. Chandni is an orphan, whose mother had died while waiting for her husband to return. She is brought up by her grandmother and turns o
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read 'Accidental fiance' and 'The contract' by Zeenat Mahal . But this is way too good . I was grinning throughout the book .

This is just fantastic , Not only the plot , characters butalso the writing style is different . *good different*

Chandni aka C' is abandoned by her father and hence is brought by her strict grandmother whom Chandni fondly calls 'The broad' - 'Bride of Satan' . She is secretly in love with a Man , 20 years his senior and wants to get married to him eventually , ONLY .
Sumeetha Manikandan
Jun 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was hooked on to the book right from the line ‘the Broad’ makes an appearance. Chandini who prefers to be called C is a beautiful wilful child abandoned by her father. She wants to marry Kunwar, on whom she has a big crush but her grandmother’s choice of groom is Taimur, whom she loves to hate. Too add to her confusion, her long absent father makes an appearance and not alone. He too has a groom for her.

I love the descriptive style of Zeenat Mahal’s writing. It is so lucid that I felt as if I
Yamini Vijendran
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Zeenat Mahal is the name to watch out for, that is a given. The attitude in the narration is just... juicy! It breaks a lot of stereotypes, about the people, about the era and about writing itself. I loved the way literary characters moved in and out of Zeenat's world. And the sheer command over the language that Zeenat exhibits is in itself a treat. I commend Zeenat for having created a masterpiece. ...more
Kate Sherwood
Dec 29, 2013 rated it liked it
I really liked the setting, but I didn't really buy the romance. And the hero was way too overbearing. I mean, I wanted to read the book to add to my understanding of a different culture, but I hope the hero ISN'T representative of the men of that culture (any more than the alpha-hole heroes in some western romances are representative of our men).

So, high marks for the setting, medium marks for the heroine, low marks for the hero.
Pratikshya Mishra
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Set in the 1970’s in the town of Jalalabad, Pakistan, ‘Haveli’ is a witty humorous contemporary novella by Zeenat Mahal. It narrates Chandini’s story from her point of view- her childhood and upbringing at her strict influential maternal grandmother Zaitoon Begum, the widow of the last Nawab of Jalalabad; her romantic fantasies for Kunwar Rohail who is almost twice her age; her war of words with Taimur, the guy she’s attracted to; the return of her estranged father after 20 long years and the ch ...more
Priyanka Batra Harjai
Feb 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
‘Haveli’ is a story about the heir of a Haveli of Nawabs in Pakistan. It is about a girl ‘Chandini’ (a.k.a C) who has a sanctified lineage.

The story starts as we experience a sweet and salty rapport between a culturally rich grandmother – Zaitoon Beigum (a.k.a Broad) and a saucy granddaughter – Chandini. Moving a little back to the times of yore, her father abandoned Chandini and later she lost her mother also, both during her infancy and since then felt the agony of being a forsaken kid. She wa
Deepali Joshi
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Haveli (though the name sounds spooky) is a beautiful tale of a smart and witty Pakistani Punjabi girl who finds herself in odd situation almost all the times. I am not sure you could use “cute” as an adjective for books, but that is exactly what comes to mind when I think about Haveli. After reading murder mysteries and war stories for a long time now, this entertaining story with Bollywood style twists felt refreshing.
Chandani or C., as she likes to call herself, is a teen-aged girl brought u
Rekha Seshadri
Haveli transports you to the world of the privileged class in 1970’s Pakistan.

Etiquette and excellence are the cornerstones of the widow of the last Nawab of Jalalabad - Bi Amma’s life. Her home-schooled grandchild Chandni aka C struggles with the demands of her elitist society. Abandoned by her father – Nameless, motherless C finds affection in her half-brother Zafar (another of her father’s castaways) but it’s never quite enough. The green eyed beauty has her share of admirers but sets her sig
Ruchi Singh
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance
What comes to mind with a setting of 1971, nawabs and haveli? Iridescent chandeliers, flowing gharara, shimmering dupattas, tinkling bangles, and an intense, magnetic hero, each of these things came alive for me from the first page when ‘C’ starts to pour tea under the watchful eyes of ‘The Broad’.

Intrigued?'s a must read.

Chandni, our well-read protagonist, is an innocent girl abandoned by her father, who tries to handle life on her own terms. But is she able to understand the wicked w
Oct 14, 2016 rated it did not like it
I know a lot about Indian/Pakistani/Punjabi/Muslim culture (also i have a bird named Chandni, but that's another story) and i have to say that this book set in the Pakistan from the 70' does NOT match the content.

To have this sort of character - who acts like an occidental millennial - in that 70' Pakistani setting should put this character in the fantasy/paranormal category.

Author should have added a time-traveling arc, or maybe she should have wrote the character in a modern context, having
Ipshita Ranjana
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
The first thing which attracted me to Haveli was its cheeky blur.I could not wait to find out more about Chandni and the choice she makes.Who could resist a story set in 1970's and that too amid all those nawabs.So I dived in and enjoyed every moment.

Chandni is a strong,independent heroine who is full of spunk.She is sarcastic when the situation calls and so full of life.I loved her wit and not a single moment with her was even close to dull.She has her moments of uncertainty and confusion as sh
Shweta Ganesh Kumar
Jun 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Zeenat Mahal’s Haveli is all about old-world charm and romance in the truest sense of the word. Despite the setting and the era though, the heroine of Haveli, C is a firebrand – a lovable, fiercely stubborn and outspoken girl. Mistaking the throes of her first crush as true love, she fails to recognize the actual thing when it stares at her in the face from another set of piercing eyes.
So beautifully written, I could see the entire story story play out in my mind’s eye with one of my favourite I
Jan 11, 2014 rated it liked it
I won this book in a contest. Not sure if I would have actually bought this book if I hadn't won but I am glad I did win it as it is a good book. Getting to read a book about a different culture was very interesting. The only thing I actually had a problem with what the different names she had for different people. I would have liked a list of who was who so I could keep track. I will read another book like this as I enjoyed it. It was a short read but good. I would like to know what happened to ...more
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