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Zaina was not the typical bride in rural Pakistan. Her father fought to get her educated, which few women were in that area. And she wanted to devote her life to liberating other women from the lives they faced in the male-dominated society. But then her parents, feeling the pressure from other villagers because their 22-year-old daughter remained unmarried, arranged to have her married off to Raza Habib, a tyrannical husband. The Price of a Bride tells the story of Zaina's desperate effort to escape Raza and the life she was forced to live, not for herself but for her two children, Gulnaz, rejected by Raza and his family because she is a girl, and Faiz, her polio-crippled son. Using flashbacks, author Nuzhat G. Khan tells Zaina's story from her early years as a privileged child to the present, and the life she and other girls and women face in a society that few in the Western world can relate to-a life of servitude and oppression in which the local badarey and jirga make the rules and serve as judge, jury, and, yes, executioner.Readers will be shocked by the events in Zaina's life, as well as the lives of her friend and role model, Sherry; her mother-in-law, niki ummi; and the women in the household and village whose stories are portrayed in Price of a Bride.
Khan, the American daughter of a Pakistani immigrant family, has based her story on true tales told by various villagers, interviews and her own research. The names may be different, but the story is all too real.