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The Contract

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  515 ratings  ·  78 reviews
“…We’ll get married, but I’ll pay you a monthly salary to behave and appear for all practical purposes as my wife…If you agree, the marriage vows can be taken on the phone on Saturday, since I have an hour free in the morning.”

Shahira, a young, divorced mother of a seven-year-old son, wants nothing to do with men ever again. But circumstances have forced her hand, and Huss
ebook, PDF/ePub, 108 pages
Published June 12th 2013 by Indireads
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Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  515 ratings  ·  78 reviews

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Sara Naveed
Mar 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
'The Contract' was an amazing book to read; really enjoyed it.
I finished reading it in just one sitting because it only consisted of 95 pages.
I must say, it's a well-written book. Apart from Zeenat's writing, I found the plot way more interesting. I really liked Hussain's character and could easily imagine his well-mannerisms had he been a real person. In fact, all the characters were lovable and relatable.
I loved how Zeenat has weaved in the story and made Shahira and Hussain fall for each ot
Sep 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I rly rly enjoyed this book . It was humorous and the situations , characters seemed very real . I really liked Hussain , Shahira , the two adorable kids and of course The loveliest mother in law ever .
Shabana Mukhtar
Non-review Rant
'The Contract' was literally how I found about GoodReads.

Back in January 2018, I was ready with a few draft novellas as well as a list of catchy titles ready. I, however, wanted those titles to be unique. I googled a couple and viola, the second one 'Terms and Conditions Apply' was taken. What surprised me more was that the writer was a Muslim. The story features Muslim protagonists. And it was based on one of my favourite romance tropes - contract marriage or marriage of conv
I rarely read novellas. However, this is a novella that made me change that decision of mine. This is a short and sweet novella and I would recommend everyone to take a few hours off and read it.

The author did a good job with the hero and heroine's characters. The hero, Hussain, a businessman always on the move. He is a widower who has been thoroughly disillusioned with matrimony and also has a small daughter. The heroine, Shahira, is a 30-year old divorcee with a son. Her previous husband and i
Jacqueline J
This was an okay read with some pluses and some minuses. First of all the major plus was that it was a romance written about another culture written by a person from that culture. There was a very real sense of a different set of social mores. They were however presented in an accessible manner for someone not of the culture. There were however enough commonalities to traditional western romances that the story was a comfortable read.

Minuses included a lack of real sexual tension between the tw
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My yearly re-read of this author's books ... stands the test of time and presents an interesting take on a contract marriage ...
Love this h's practicality and the H's outrage as he realises h's gives him the marriage he thought he wanted but realises he doesn't ... he invests time and effort to win h over ... worth reading ...
Adiana Ray
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shahira and Hussain are two beautiful but scarred individuals; one by an abusive husband and the other by a promiscuous wife. Thrown together by circumstances, they get into a contractual marriage which is supposed to work like a business arrangement: no relationship, no sex and no emotion. Hussain finds someone to look after his daughter and also manages to get his match making mother off his back; whereas for Shahira it spells financial security for herself and her son.
Dec 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved loved loved this book! I gobbled it up in one go and had so much fun reading it!

Story: This novella was about two scarred people who heal each other. They don't know it but they are what the other person needs. The author expertly took a serious subject, abuse, betrayal, dysfunctional relationship, and told it in a lighthearted way. Don't get me wrong, this book is pretty deep and a food for thought. But it makes you think without being too serious. I love "contract relationship" plots.
Ishi Bhanot
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it
~I got a copy of this book as a part of Indireads Reviewer Program in exchange of an honest review~

This is a story of how an unconventional marriage, which started as a 'Contract', turned into something entirely different.
The writing style was fabulous. The words, meant something to you. There are places where I felt the story is a bit rushed though.
The characters were described greatly. I really liked how the background story of both the MCs was told. The kids were cute and Ami was caring.
I absolutely fall in love with the characters Zeenat Mahal creates. Though a relatively new author, she definitely shows signs of creating characters who are as unforgettable as those of Lisa Kleypas' (I can't think of any better compliment). She can pen down an old, well-known story yet I'll still love her book.
"He’d had this intense, possessive desire to protect her. He’d wanted her to feel she could
count on him to be her champion. He wanted her to know that she could depend on him, that he
Njkinny (Njkinny's Blog)
May 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Njkinny by: Zeenat Mahal

Shahira is finally living her life on her own terms. She is free of her abusive marriage, is independent and has a son who completes her world. So what if she is divorced with no male protection. She wants to prove to everyone that women don't need men to protect and support them.

But a sudden tragedy forces Shahira's hand and she has to agree to the unusual proposal from Hussain who just wants a mother for his daughter and a wife in name only so that his e
Setting: Pakistan, contemporary
Genre: Sweet romance
I really wanted to like this more than I did. The premise is a good one, but it was so disorganized it was hard to follow. It was hard to see the plot hiding in so much extraneous detail.
The basic plot is a womanizing man contracts a marriage to a man-hating woman. He wants a mother for his daughter and to get his mom off his back about remarrying. She needs a cover to keep opportunistic men with dishonorable intentions away, and a job that pays
Prity Malhotra
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
After reading a hell lot of books with themes like Dystopia, Apocalypse, Thrillers, Romance, I found this book a welcome change. I never thought I would like this book so much that I will give it a 5 star. The plot reminds me of a Current TV show featuring on Star Plus ' Ye hai Mohabaattein' that my Mom religiously watchs. Coming to the Plot : Shahira (teacher) & Hussain (businessman) are both plagued by the thought of falling in love again due to their failed marriages. Hussain's daughter is a ...more
Feb 21, 2016 rated it liked it
This is my first time reading something by Zeenat Mahal, and I must say I quite enjoyed it. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Shahira was a lovely protagonist, her love for her son was beautiful. She willingly went through with a lifetime contract for the betterment of her son, regardless of how it would affect her. And, her love for Natasha and the grandma was really sweet as well. And, she's quite strong - to be able to leave her ex-husband with the fear of h
Jun 17, 2014 rated it liked it
The Contract was a short and entertaining story. The author did a good job of describing the characters in detail. Although when the book started it kept jumping from one person's POV to another. It was a little confusing. The expectations, aspirations and experiences of a typical woman, in South-east Asia, was described in the book. I liked that Shahira was described as a modern woman not bound by the old customs of her religion. It will hopefully change the outlook towards all Muslim women who ...more
Kokila Gupta
Aug 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary, romance
As Shahira ended her abusive marriage with the father of her child, her life started returning to normal when it changed again... by a contract deal with a snooty , proud, man with tons of money and a heart of stone ... or is it different ?
Though I was not expecting anything literary, yet, the characters could be more layered and meaty. As well as beside the Daahta Sahib, there is hardly any glimpse of Lahore or Paris Or London.
It would have been rewarding if little peccadilloes , the and rout
Feb 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book has been written very well and the characters are very well developed. The relationship between the characters has been very well portrayed. I enjoyed the book a lot.

More on
Jigar Doshi
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Amazing novella. battle of wits, lots of humor, some romance, some tragic past and over-all, a feel-good novella.
highly recommended to all romance fanatics. must-read.

whole review here :
Yamini Vijendran
Aug 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
a striking description of the business of marriage, and how, marriage can never be a business.
Saima Amer
Apr 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Such a sweet and darling book. Made me feel happy and good the whole day after reading it. Already looking forward to the next one by zeenat mahal
Srishti Ghosh
Dec 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
amazing book, is written very nicely & has a very, very good plot. Hope Zeenat keeps writing books like this.
Beena Tabassum
Mar 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
' The Contract ' was an amazing book to read.... enjoyed reading ...more
David Chance
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read

Wonderful story about finding love after abusive marriages. I really enjoyed this heart rendering story as I too have faith that not all men or women are evil.
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing


I’d heard of Zeenat Mahal back before publishers started giving Own Voices (and books by POC for POC) a chance. So when I won a Kindle Unlimited subscription (thanks to my brother) one of the first books I downloaded to read was The Contract by Zeenat Mahal.


It’s a romance set in Lahore, Pakistan! Yes I know there are some other books that may also be set in Pakistan but they’re usually literary tomes or some kind of social commentary wrapped up in the guise of fiction without an
Preethi Venugopala
Zeenat Mahal writes beautifully. The reason why I read the book late into the night. She took me to a different, yet interesting world. Shahira and Hussain are both well etched and loveable.
Looking forward to read more from the author.
Nazia Ahmed
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Short and sweet, storyline not original but nicely written.
Awais Khan
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an absolute pleasure it was to read this delightful book! I'm in awe of Zeenat Mahal and her novels! highly recommended ...more
May 07, 2021 added it
Easy Read.
Izzie d
Jan 17, 2017 rated it liked it
A good story, both had bad experiences in the past, in different ways.
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