REVIEW: No Rings Attached by Mona Shroff
No love. No commitment. No problem, right?
Fleeing her own nuptials wasn’t part of wedding planner Sangeeta Parikh’s design for her life. Neither was stumbling into chef Sonny Pandya’s arms, nor the video that went viral. Now they’re an internet sensation! So why not fake the relationship with no commitment? Sangeeta can save face and her job, and Sonny gets needed exposure for his restaurant. It’s a good plan for two commitmentphobes…until all that pretend hand-holding and kissing start to feel real.
Dear Ms. Shroff,
I’ve enjoyed reading the “Once Upon a Wedding” series and was thrilled to see this next installment. I will go ahead and advise newcomers that there are a lot of past characters from the first two books in it. I don’t think it’s actually crucial for readers to keep everyone straight in the two families but just remember that both Sangeeta’s and Sonny’s extended families are close knit.
Sangeeta is just about to “walk down the aisle” to the mandap where her fiance along with about 400 guests are waiting when she realizes she just can’t do it. It’s not that her fiance is a creep or anything, he’s actually a nice guy, but Sangeeta can’t see herself spending the rest of her life with him. She knows it would have been better for all if she had come to this conclusion earlier – much earlier – but there it is. So dressed in her deep red wedding clothes which scream “I’m an Indian bride!” she heads for an open door.
Sonny is taking out the trash behind his street food Indian restaurant when he sees an injured bride – the clothes give it away – then realizes that he knows her. They met nine months ago and had a wonderful connection for three days before Sangeeta’s fiance called her asking for their wedding to be “on” again after he had called a halt. Sangeeta left and except for a meeting set up by their matchmaking parents (it’s complicated) Sonny hasn’t seen her since. But he’s a fixer so when he realizes that 1) she’s injured her foot running through a back alley barefoot and 2) that she’s attracted enough attention that this is going to go viral, he sweeps her indoors and fixes (some) things.
The internet catches up and offers them both some good and some bad. Sangeeta is about to be fired – because what bride wants a runaway bride to arrange her wedding? – when Sonny’s sister arrives with a proposal. An influencer wants a new wedding planner and location and is charmed by the video from the back alley. If Sonny and Sangeeta play along, it’s a win:win:win for everyone. The location will be the family hotel, Sangeeta will plan it, and Sonny will cook for some of the events. But can the two of them keep this up and will their families stop asking them questions?
Yay for the Indian American rep. Double yay for the Gujarati food Sonny can whip up and which makes Sangeeta moan with happiness as it takes her back to her childhood. I enjoyed seeing so many past characters even if I had to stop a time or three to mentally slot everyone back into place in the family trees. Triple yay that these characters aren’t there to shill for the past two books, either.
Fake relationships aren’t my favorite but they’re all over romance books now and the reasons behind this one make more sense than a lot of ones I’ve seen. I like that Sonny’s closeness with his younger sister is the main reason he reluctantly agrees to it. Sonny is level headed, loves his family even if he and his dad have had past issues, and puts up with the fake relationship rather than being avaricious about what it can gain him. He’s sure enough of his feelings to reveal them – publicly. Sonny also does some soul searching and fixes another relationship that he had let slip for a while.
Sangeeta is harder for me to like. Both her parent’s (and Sonny’s) have deep and committed love marriages and though she wants that, too, she was willing to settle and hope for love to arrive with time. I approve of her stopping a marriage she knew would make her less than satisfied. Sangeeta is also a planner (both in her life as well as a career) so when she goes off of her wedding plan, I can understand her initially being frazzled. But yeah, she’s a bit snippy towards Sonny as he’s trying to help her. Then when she’s unsure of her feelings for Sonny, she does the classic “I’ll hurt him if I reveal how I really feel.” I call BS as this trite excuse for a third act breakup does little but annoy me. Then she does another thing which initially had me rolling my eyes before she pulls it together and actually acts like an adult. Brava for that.
Since I’m not really a fan of influencers, that part of the plot does little for me, leaving me to focus mainly on Sonny and Sangeeta. As Sangeeta tends to get a bit tightly wound and needs more character growth, there are times when she stretches my patience. Sonny is a love as well as Sangeeta’s Dada (who was delightful in book 1). The two fathers were characters I like, too. I enjoyed this book for many reasons but ultimately, Sangeeta drags it down just a bit. B-