Monday, October 27, 2014

A Bollywood Affair {by Sonali Dev}

Title: A Bollywood Affair
Author: Sonali Dev
Series: Bollywood #1
Genre: Adult fiction, contemporary romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Received via NetGalley

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 na├»ve 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. 

Did I basically pick up this book because I saw Bollywood and that it was a book about Indians? Yep. Did it disappoint? Not at all (thankfully). This was a fresh and captivating, full of culture, and I loved it.

Mili was married at the age of 4, and hasn't seen her "husband" for twenty years. She longs for the day when he will come and claim her. She's already dreamed of the life they will have, even claiming to love him, and is doing everything to make herself into the perfect modern wife. Unbeknownst to her, her husband has married another woman, thinking that his first marriage was annulled many years ago, after child marriages were declared illegal in India. Except, his wasn't. His player of a brother, Samir, is sent to America to find Mili and force her to sign the divorce papers. 

I liked both of the main characters in this one. Mili is timid, just wanting to get through school and waiting for her husband to claim her so that she and her grandmother can live a good life. Choosing to go to America and go to school was a bold choice. The girl barely had any food to eat, and yet she was so intent on this. Some might say that she was very narrow-minded, only focusing on her husband coming to claim her, but that's all that she has had drilled into her for twenty years. I think she definitely goes through some growth and change, coming into herself and learning what she wants and not everyone else.

Samir definitely had a lot of sides to him. He definitely has his demons, due to his mother and grandfather, and he does allow them to rule his life. Never getting close to anyone, nothing more than flings here and there. Except for his family, of course. But he lets us see a different side of him when he's with Mili, and he was definitely swoony. I mean, the man cooks. I have nothing to say about the supporting cast, though, because let's face it: I didn't really like any of them.

There was never really a point when I was bored. It did take me a bit to get into it at the beginning, but from then on I was hooked. It was a wonderfully weaved story that enthralled me. There is a juxtaposition between Mili's naive views on love, and Sam's cynical ones, and I think they definitely put forth some questions to think about. It was a very deep story, but not in a serious-ruins-all-the-fun sense. It was a great story, as well.

And, of course, the culture. I loved it. But I also loved how the author brought in different parts of India as well. One of them even says something along the lines of how their Indias were so different, even though it's all the same country. And I liked how she showed that. From Mili being a small village girl, to Samir's big city self, even to her North Indian roommate marrying a South Indian and the differences/why it was such a big deal. And come on guys, the food. So much food. I was definitely hungry.

This was a beautiful story, one that I loved for both its characters and its culture. It was deep, moving, and just all-around intriguing. 

I do want to say that, being an adult book, it does have more mature scenes and more language than the books I usually review on this blog. Just a heads up, if that's not the kind of thing you're looking for.

 Bollywood #1Bollywood #2 Bollywood #3

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Sonali Dev:

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