Friday, November 7, 2014

Review: A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

A Bollywood Affair
Sonali Dev
October, 2014

Buy: All Romance / Amazon / BN / Kobo

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Rating: 4/5

About the Book

Mili Rathod hasn't seen her husband in twenty years—not since she was promised to him at the age of four. Yet marriage has allowed Mili a freedom rarely given to girls in her village. Her grandmother has even allowed her to leave India and study in America for eight months, all to make her the perfect modern wife. Which is exactly what Mili longs to be—if her husband would just come and claim her.

Bollywood's favorite director, Samir Rathod, has come to Michigan to secure a divorce for his older brother. Persuading a naive village girl to sign the papers should be easy for someone with Samir's tabloid-famous charm. But Mili is neither a fool nor a gold-digger. Open-hearted yet complex, she's trying to reconcile her independence with cherished traditions. And before he can stop himself, Samir is immersed in Mili's life—cooking her dal and rotis, escorting her to her roommate's elaborate Indian wedding, and wondering where his loyalties and happiness lie.

Heartfelt, witty, and thoroughly engaging, Sonali Dev's debut is both a vivid exploration of modern India and a deeply honest story of love, in all its diversity.

My Review

This book lit up my Twitter feed. It's rare when I find so many readers agree on a good book, and it's timely to see A Bollywood Affair release as book bloggers openly discuss the need for diversity in the romance genre. I try to maintain a diverse reading list myself, and while I don't always hop on a bandwagon I admit the cover and blurb for Bollywood intrigued me enough to try a debut author.

Bollywood makes use of a trope familiar to some readers: Bollywood director Samir tracks down the woman married in a mass ceremony to his brother many years ago to confirm an annulment. Malvika, now Mili, has always believed her marriage was valid, though she's met her husband only once. When Samir poses as a relative of somebody from her village, she has no reason to doubt him, but before the truth can come out the couple becomes embroiled in Mili's roommate's romantic entanglement. To say nothing of the imposing Indian relatives who come with it. There's a touch of what I like to call Three's Company moments throughout the book, but as I read I found myself smiling more than rolling my eyes. Dev writes Mili as a very likable heroine - determined to better herself and optimistic - and Samir as conflicted with the right amount of bad boy.

I haven't mentioned the food yet, oh my. The vivid pre-wedding scenes of Indian cooking...I know they left me hungry. I wouldn't classify this as a foodie romance, but you may come away with a few cravings.

For me, A Bollywood Affair lives up to hype. It's a light romance, and a delight.

Book was purchased.

Leigh Ellwood is the author of "Holiday Bliss" in the HOT HOLIDAY TREATS box set (ARe - Amazon)

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