Monday, September 28, 2015

REVIEW: "The Bollywood Bride" by Sonali Dev

The Bollywood Bride
For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Contemporary Romance

Kensington -- Published on September 29, 2015
eARC, 352 pages
Read in September 2015
Received from Netgalley


Childhood Sweethearts, Tormented Heroine, Tearjerker

Ria Parkar is Bollywood's favorite Ice Princess--beautiful, poised, and scandal-proof--until one impulsive act threatens to expose her destructive past. Traveling home to Chicago for her cousin's wedding offers a chance to diffuse the coming media storm and find solace in family, food, and outsized celebrations that are like one of her vibrant movies come to life. But it also means confronting Vikram Jathar.

Ria and Vikram spent childhood summers together, a world away from Ria's exclusive boarding school in Mumbai. Their friendship grew seamlessly into love--until Ria made a shattering decision. As far as Vikram is concerned, Ria sold her soul for stardom and it's taken him years to rebuild his life. But beneath his pent-up anger, their bond remains unchanged. And now, among those who know her best, Ria may find the courage to face the secrets she's been guarding for everyone else's benefit--and a chance to stop acting and start living.

"How do you explain losing your words to someone?"

I received a free copy of this book from Kensington via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have been looking forward to reading The Bollywood Bride ever since reading (and loving) Sonali Dev's debut, A Bollywood Affair.  And I'm happy to say that this is another successful romance by Ms. Dev though it has a different one than its predecessor.

This book is centered around Bollywood actress, Ria Parkar, who is known as the Ice Princess.  But, what the media does not know is that she has something big in her past that directly affects her current state of mind.  She spends an obscene amount of energy trying to keep her emotions in check and never let on that she is terrified of losing control.  A potential scandal inspires Ria to leave India to attend her cousin's wedding in Chicago.  Once there, her mysterious past comes up when she is reunited with her childhood sweetheart, Vikram.

I absolutely adored Ria!  She is tormented, but such a sweet soul.  I really felt for her as she struggled to maintain her Ice Princess persona around Vikram while trying to hide the fact that she still has feelings for him.  I thought Sonali Dev did a wonderful job of portraying someone with the possibility of mental illness in her future especially in how Ria tries to avoid tying people to her uncertain diagnosis.  Vikram was not as developed, but he was easy to like especially once he got over his jerk tendencies related to Ria's earlier betrayal.

What makes The Bollywood Bride stand out is that, like with A Bollywood Affair, Sonali Dev provides readers with a richly detailed look at Indian culture.  The wedding setting provides opportunities for wonderful descriptions of food, clothing, decorations, and, of course, people.  The idea of family is important in these books and that is shown in high definition here.  I especially enjoyed reading about Uma, Nik, and the gaggle of aunties.

I don't want to reveal much more about the plot and character journeys in The Bollywood Bride in order to avoid spoilers.  I spent quite a bit of time wondering how the author was going to get the story to a happy ending and that mystery was a big part of the reading experience for me.  I do want to give major props to Sonali Dev for her impeccable writing and willingness to dive into complex themes like the stigma of mental illness, pressures of fame, and family loyalty.  I definitely recommend this for anyone who wants a unique twist on contemporary romance.

Goodreads -- Author Website

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1 comment:

  1. I'm SOOOO glad you loved this one, too. I am so excited to read this, but also very nervous because I loved A Bollywood Affair so much. I would love to actually hear some of the spoilers, maybe by email, but I read the book, though. I like to be prepared! :)


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