I’m excited to present this giveaway – open internationally – for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev.
I loved this story that was mostly set in Michigan but seriously steeped in Indian culture (and showed how varied Indian culture was). It’s not a story you could tell outside the cultural influences.
Mili has been married since the age of four. Her husband has never come for her but she has stayed true to him all her life because she’s been taught to honor her vows and her husband. On the one hand you sense she reveres him but on the other she’s truly resentful that he’s not come for her and that her marriage to him ties her down. Given the opportunity to study in America, Mili grabs it and finds herself at Eastern Michigan University.
All Mili had ever wanted was to be a good wife. A domestic goddess-slash-world’s-wife-number-one-type good wife. The kind of wife her husband pined for all day long. The kind of wife he rushed home to every night because she’d make them a home so very beautiful even those TV serial homes would seem like plastic replicas. A home filled with love and laughter and the aroma of perfectly spiced food, which she would serve out of spotless stainless steel vessels, dressed in simple yet elegant clothes while making funny yet smart conversation. Because when she put her mind to it she really could dress all tip-top. As for her smart opinions? Well, she did know when to express them, no matter what her grandmother said.
Professor Tiwari had even called her “uniquely insightful” in his letter of recommendation. God bless the man; he’d coaxed her to pursue higher education, and even Mahatma Gandhi himself had said an educated woman made a better wife and mother. So here she was, with the blessings of her teacher and Gandhiji, melting into the baking pavement outside the American Consulate in Mumbai, waiting in line to get her visa so she could get on with said higher education.
Enjoying herself immensely, Mili helps her roommate, a North Indian Punjabi, run off with an entirely unsuitable southern Indian man. Her roommate swears her family will come to hunt them down and kill her fiance so when a huge Indian man appears at her doorstep, Mili believes it must be her roommates family. She jumps off her balcony, grabs a bike and cycles away only to crash into a tree injuring an ankle and a wrist.
The Indian man is not her roommate’s brother, but rather Samir Rathod, a famous Bollywood director, who has come to America from Mumbai to find Mili and get her to sign the annulment papers. Yes, Samir is her husband’s brother and hence her brother in law. Samir does not reveal this information, at first believing Mili is some terrible gold digger but as they spend weeks together as Mili convalesces Samir not only realizes Mili is the farthest thing from a gold digger, but he falls in love with her — all the while keeping this huge secret from her.
They both have emotional pasts, Samir in particular and while the tropes are very familiar (the misunderstood ingenue and the wealthy bossy male) the characters are fresh and unique. And the setting was such a breath of fresh air. I highly recommend this book for readers looking for the same, yet different. ;)
Angie James read it and had this to say:
What do you get when you combine a heroine I have nothing (and I mean nothing) in common with, an author who uses a wonderfully rich and developed cultural background to bring two people together, and a story of two people you desperately want to find their happily ever after? You get a book that made me ache for the heroine–I thought my heart was being ripped out for her at just 12% in and it didn’t stop all the way to the end–and a book that’s on my list as the best contemporary romance I’ve read so far in 2014.
Though I gush, the book wasn’t without its problems for me. The heroine was a little too passive where the hero was concerned (even in terms of what should have been an epic grovel at the end but instead was fairly easy forgiveness…
This book doesn’t release until October, and it looks like it’s selling at the trade sized price (kind of a shame, but it does make it a contender for the airport readers and those who want to pretend they’re not really reading romance because it’s in trade format), but the story was charming and happy book sigh enough, that I feel comfortable recommending it to those who want a great contemporary romance read. And giving it 5 stars (which I pretty much never do these days!)