The Big Day

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Buy on
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date Jun 06 2024 | Archive Date Jun 06 2024

Talking about this book? Use #TheBigDay #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


A funny, heartwarming and page-turning novel about a British-Asian mother and daughter, who clash over the plans for the bride's Big Day.

Noor has no interest in getting married (much to the aunties' distress). Growing up she saw first-hand how divorce tears families apart... But then, she falls in love.

Soon, Noor’s engaged and planning an intimate wedding that feels perfect for her and her fiancé Dan. But when Noor discovers her mother Leena also has grand plans for the Big Day, their once-close relationship starts to unravel. Noor can’t understand why Leena is determined to have an elaborate Desi celebration when their lives have been anything but traditional. And after a lifetime following other people’s dreams, Noor is determined not to back down.

As Leena and Noor clash over every point on their to-do lists, it begins to look like there will be two weddings and only one bride. And when family secrets shake the women’s bond further, will there even be a wedding at all?

A funny, heartwarming and page-turning novel about a British-Asian mother and daughter, who clash over the plans for the bride's Big Day.

Noor has no interest in getting married (much to the...

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781800245730
PRICE £9.99 (GBP)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 24 members

Featured Reviews

The second book from this author and another five star review from me. I love the way the different cultures interweave throughout this book and I enjoyed learning about a Dessi wedding. I was so frustrated for Noor especially with her mum being so carried away with plans. I think I’d have eloped! I’m already looking forward to the next book from this author.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC in return for my honest and unbiased opinion.

Was this review helpful?

The Big Day is a joyful, page-turning read tackling some big life questions. Noor is getting married to consultant cardiologist Dan and is excited about her wedding day but her mother Lena is determined that everything should be done on a grand scale to impress their family and friends. Their mother/daughter relationship is close but tense, with a tricky history, and makes for very enjoyable reading. I was worried for Noor as her big day was constantly in danger of being hijacked but luckily she knows what she wants and it’s great to see her sticking to it. There are lots of appealing characters and wonderful descriptions. A feel-good book to get utterly immersed in. I loved it!

Was this review helpful?

"When your life has not gone according to plan from an early age, you live in fear of it happening again, and because you know things can go wrong, you prepare yourself by mentally always being ready for the next strike."

I have been waiting for Ms Ali-Afzal to grace my life with another masterpiece since I tore through her debut in one sitting and now the Big Day is finally here!

The Big Day has all the all the dramatic intensity and hidden secrets that I’d hoped for but with such a dose of heart and warmth that shine through in her writing. She finds a way to create an almost thriller vibe in daily circumstances by showing the real life stakes and consequences that happen every day and absolutely masters that feeling of being on the ledge before everything falls apart.

Her characters are beautiful - our leading lady was a delight, a woman a little lost and not keeping to societies timeline for her life but trying her best to keep it together. She leads us slowly through her life, her engagement, wedding planning — little snapshots of her daily life that all come together, the crushing pressures, the family traditions and the struggles to succeed as well as the beautiful moments. It moves slowly but at an excellent pace and felt more like a conversation than a a story at times. Noor truly captures the feeling of being pulled between people who have expectations of you and feeling like you’re about to rip.

A stunning emotional story about family and love that absolutely has to be on your shelves.

Was this review helpful?

Heartwarming romantic fiction.

Noor has grown up in the shadow of her mother's grief over her divorce. So when she falls in love she decides on a simple and personal wedding.

Unfortunately her mother has other ideas and will go to extreme lengths to get what she wants.

The resulting conflict leads to family secrets being revealed and to Noor learning to follow her own heart

Was this review helpful?

After the incredible writing in 'Would I Lie To You?', I wasn't sure how The Big Day would stack up. Ooohhh how silly was to question Aliya, she absolutely knocked it out of the park again. After two excellent stories, I officially know better.

Meddling aunties are incredibly relatable across so many cultures and The Big Day captures this so perfectly. When two quite intense cultures like Desi and Italian come together (along with influences from living in London), the result is always going to be somewhat tumultuous. To me, Noor is a perfect representation of young women in today's culture, people don't get married as early or even at all compared to even the generation before us.
I remember growing up with a vague expectation of the whole 'fall in love, get married, have children' life plan, and my upbringing was only mildly religious. It was just the 'done' thing.

The intensity of this book is really something else, you can't help but feel every little niggle of anxiety and fear that Noor is going through - but I say this as an absolute positive. It takes incredible skill to put such emotion into writing, so much so that you find yourself fully immersed in the feelings of the characters.


I spent almost the entire book waiting for 'the other shoe to drop' so to speak. I was so sure that it would all be ripped away from Noor and Dan right at the last second, even found myself semi holding my breath during the last few chapters. The 11th hour reveal from the PI was absolutely out of nowhere and shook me to my core. There was a hundred ways that it could have played out after that and I'm secretly so pleased that everything worked out the way it did, although I'm a little miffed we didn't get more time in Scotland and more development there.

Maybe Aliya can treat us to a little short story eventually, so we get to know how Noor and her ever extending family are getting on.

Was this review helpful?

The title really does say it. The book dances in a count down to the wedding, the Big Bang and the bone of family contention. Noor tells her story as the clock counts down the weeks till the wedding to her fiancé. All the cliches and reality of fighting to manage her own wedding, when she has her mother to battle, her mother in law to battle and working out what she wants. It is clear she won’t get her tiny intimate wedding, and the exploration of what family means, what work and satisfaction means as well as being true to who she is, is very well told. The strength, and weakness, of the links are explored in depth and powerfully so.
A book I read on and on to find out if the wedding happens, and if it does who is there,

Was this review helpful?

"Noor has never cared to get married, so when she gets engaged to Cardiologist Dan she doesn't want the huge celebration that is expected of her. But her mother Lena is determinded to hijack it to impress her friends and family"
My first of Aliyas and certainly won't be the last! Going back to read her debut
The Big Day is exciting and full of surprises, but it also feels really cozy and heartfelt. It's like a thriller, portraying the real-life stakes and repercussions that unfold.
The characters in this book are truly remarkable, with Noor standing out as a particularly well-crafted protagonist. As she navigates life on her own terms amidst societal pressures, readers can't help but empathize with her journey.
Ultimately, The Big Day is a profoundly moving novel of familial bonds and romance that deserves a place on every bookshelf.

Was this review helpful?

An enjoyable and, at times, humorous book leading up to the organisation of a wedding crossing traditional Desi marriages with modern life in Britain. Slowly builds up with brilliantly depicted characters which not only gives an insight into the the pressures behind a wedding (whether crossing cultures or not) but also with divided families and expectations of parents and other family members with the younger generation careers and life. Lots of secrets and subterfuge throughout plus all interspersed with some delicious sounding food.

Was this review helpful?

> Short Chapters
> Single POV

**The big day is the story like any other wedding story. Poor is in the perfect relationship with her career however ladies in her Amma's (mother) circle have children who are married already, making everyone look at her with doubt. But when an Italian-Pakistani family joins them at a wedding, neither Noor nor other guy, Danyal knew that they would be planning their wedding 8 months later.
The story takes us to a scene that is almost similar to what normally happens on an engagement day, only that Noor gets a shock when her single mother announces their wedding with almost 500 guests in the most expensive hall. Poor had some other plans & visions for her wedding - but her Ammi decides everything already which makes them drift.
So there are two weddings but one bride??
I liked to read through the wedding process as it took me back to my wedding days years ago doing all the preps. I could totally relate how parents & elders in our community are the ones to decide everything but Noor seemed to be irritated by her mother but also not break her heart. I liked to dislike her mother for being so much involved in taking decisions for her daughter, especially her wedding dress.
There is a missing piece in Moor's life- her father and when she overhears people talking about the absence of her father' side of the family, she is determined to look for them.
So there is a wedding chaos! I liked the concept &idea but only some parts of the story that I felt were not required and unrelated.**

Was this review helpful?

This is a gorgeous tale of how one woman is caught up in a clash of cultures, between where she lives and who she is now and the expectations of her family when it comes to planning her wedding day. Noor just wants something simple, an English wedding - her way - but her mother has very different ideas. It seems like her mother has been planning this day since before Noor was born and she is not going to relinquish her dreams easily!
I really enjoyed this story, it looked like a nice light read, but the characters are drawn superbly and the story is as much a study on what it is to navigate modern life while keeping a steady hand on the tiller of tradition and expectation. It is a story of identity and culture and most of all love - in all it's guises.
It's a story to lose yourself in this summer!

Was this review helpful?

This is a really great story full of love and laughter but also the emotions that weddings can bring on particularly with differing opinions!

Was this review helpful?

A great read, not the most exciting storyline but a lovely insight into multicultural relationships and family expectations.

Was this review helpful?

I adored Aliya's debut but think this may be even better! Incredibly funny and insightful characters that leap off the page. Anyone who has ever got married will adore this book.

Was this review helpful?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The story revolves around Noor and Dan's wedding, which Noor envisions as an intimate affair with minimal Pakistani traditions. She wants the focus to be on their love, not on meeting societal expectations. However, her mother, Leena, has different ideas and starts to take control of the wedding plans.

I really sided with Noor throughout this, maybe as we may have similar feelings about a big fat Indian wedding! Noor and Dan are an adorable couple, and their relationship is beautifully portrayed. While Leena can be frustrating at times, she also adds depth to the story and is ultimately a great character.

This novel is not just about a wedding; it's about family, finding one's identity, and balancing tradition with modernity. It's a heartwarming read that explores how to honor cultural heritage in a contemporary context.

Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy. This is the perfect book for a summer day!

Was this review helpful?

The Big Day by Aliya Ali-Afzal is a delightful and emotionally resonant exploration of the tensions and ties that bind a British-Asian mother and daughter in the lead-up to a wedding. This novel beautifully captures the clash of cultures, traditions, and personal desires, all set against the backdrop of a significant life event.

Initially, I found myself hesitant to dive into the book, perhaps out of a subconscious fear of confronting familiar cultural expectations and familial pressures. However, as I delved deeper, I found The Big Day to be a compelling and richly layered narrative that resonated deeply with me. Ali-Afzal masterfully balances humour and heartache, providing a story that is as entertaining as it is insightful.

The characterisation is one of the novel's strongest points. Noor is a relatable protagonist, determined to carve out her own path and assert her independence, even as she navigates the complexities of family expectations. Leena, on the other hand, is portrayed with depth and empathy, her desire for a traditional celebration stemming from her own experiences and dreams. Their interactions are genuine and filled with both tension and tenderness, making their relationship dynamic and believable.

The cultural elements of the story are woven seamlessly into the narrative, offering readers a vivid glimpse into the rich traditions and sometimes overwhelming expectations of a Desi wedding. The novel does a fantastic job of portraying how these traditions can be both a source of joy and a point of contention, particularly for those caught between two cultures.

One of the most compelling aspects of the book is how it handles the theme of personal identity versus familial duty. Noor's struggle to assert her own vision for her wedding while respecting her mother's wishes mirrors a broader conflict many readers will recognise – the challenge of balancing individual desires with cultural and familial obligations.

The humour in the book is another highlight. Ali-Afzal has a keen eye for the absurdities of wedding planning, particularly when cultural expectations are involved. These lighter moments provide a perfect counterbalance to the more serious themes of the novel, ensuring that the story remains engaging and compelling.

My only qualm is I feel like the final character was not as well developed as they could've been. Perhaps in tying up the loose ends some of the characters were oversimplified.

Was this review helpful?

A delightful story which will resonate with a lot of women who are getting married and what happens when their mother starts to take control. Loved the character Noor whose mother really takes over and starts planning a traditional Indian wedding which is going against everything Noor wants and the tension between mother and daughter is comical at times.
The author has really touched on the emotions attached to planning a wedding and what happens when the mother of the bride takes control and the bride wants something different.
Would highly recommend for a heart warming story.
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: