What makes a marriage--love or compatibility? Passion or pragmatism? Bantwal's compelling new novel explores the fascinating subject of arranged marriage, as a young Indian-American woman navigates the gulf between desire and tradition.
Soorya is a first generation Indian-American, living her life trying to balance out the different cultures. She works as an environmental lawyer. With her biological clock ticking and soon to be thirty, Soorya agrees to an arranged marriage all the while secretly wanting a love marriage. Her parents introduce her to Rajesh, who is smart and intelligent with a secret desire of his own. She also meets Satish through Rajesh’s production company. Then there is the matter of Lou, a colleague who attracts Soorya. Will Soorya give in to the Indian traditions and find a life partner in Rajesh. And what roles will Satish and Lou play in her life?
The book gives us a deeper look into the lives of first generation Indians in America and their toils to maintain a certain balance of culture. Certain traditions are so deeply ingrained in them that an independent girl like Soorya remains a virgin at her age. She hasn’t even been kissed yet. On the other hand she is this smart career woman who is attracted to her colleague but unsure about what to do about it. It was interesting to read about her emotional conflicts and how she deals with them. For all sense and purposes, Sooorya has been sheltered for most of her life and we see her spread her wings for the first time in the book. At times though, she comes across as a bit of a spoiled brat and her lack of confidence in herself is apparent.. Rajesh, a.k.a. Roger is an interesting character what with his desire to find a rich girl and his broadway dreams. He is smart and intelligent and that fact is seen right through, but is he trustworthy and dependable? That is what the readers are about to find out. However, I do feel that Lou was done an injustice compared to the other characters in the book. I would have loved to read more about him.
The author has an interesting writing style and for the most part, she provides enough descriptions and backgrounds. Her simple story narration keeps the readers relaxed. The pace of the story is just right. Neither rushed through nor too slow, that is until the end. The ending felt a bit rushed and convenient rather than satisfying and well explored. Overall, this works as a light read with some potential left unexplored.
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