*I’ve read 95 novels in 2016 so far. This is part of a series on my favorites.
The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev
Romance novels which focus on a couple reuniting—novels referred to as “Second Chance” in romance writing/reading parlance—have never been my favorite. I think that I have always wanted to believe so firmly in the “happily ever after” that I hate to think of couples who belong together separating for any length of time and then having to deal with all of the deep heartache before reconciling.
Yes, I know, it’s a rich theme and sometimes people who are wonderfully suited for one another don’t work out because of timing, etc., etc., but the fact remains that the “Second Chance” plot usually isn’t my first (or even second) choice.
All of this is to say: Sonali Dev’s The Bollywood Bride uses this premise—two lovers who separated under intense circumstances, coming together again—and it was sexy, explosive magic.
Ria Parkar is a famous Bollywood actress with the moniker “Ice Princess” whose beloved cousin Nikhil invites her to Chicago for his upcoming wedding. Ria wants to celebrate with her family and friends, but she also can’t fathom reuniting with Viky, her former lover whose heart she broke roughly ten years earlier. I’m of the opinion that I fell hard for the “Second Chance” angle in this story because it’s clear that Viky remains furious/heartbroken/devastated/confused about why Ria broke things off, and it’s also clear that their way back to one another is not going to be easy.
Dev expertly establishes the emotional and sexual tension between Ria and Viky throughout this novel. When they finally re-consummated their relationship the sense of relief and happiness that I felt revealed to me how much I had been invested in that tension. But as is often the case in romance novels (and real life), physical intimacy doesn’t magically dissolve the huge problems that Ria and Viky confront. Will Ria be able to overcome her fears, particularly those related to her mother and father, or will she leave Viky for a second time?
I knew that because this is a romance novel, I was guaranteed a HEA (Happily Ever After), but, due to Dev’s masterful plotting and characterization, I still nervously doubted whether it was going to happen. That isn’t a feeling that I frequently experience to this degree when reading the romance genre, and it made my reading of the The Bollywood Bride more exciting and dramatic.
The Bollywood Bride offers an incredible story with sensitively developed conflict, sizzling emotional and physical romance, and characters whose happiness I genuinely rooted for.
Perfect If You: Want a HEA to hope for; would like to broaden your reading in the romance genre (Dev’s book is set in Mumbai and Chicago and it’s rooted in Indian culture)
Not Recommended If You: Have a heart of stone; shy away from hot romance reads
Check Out: Since I loved this book I’m going to check out Dev’s other books: A Bollywood Affair and A Change of Heart. A Bollywood Bride first came to my attention through NPR’s 2015 Book Concierge site—a fabulous resource if you’re ever in the mood to select from some of the year’s best reads.
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