Review: A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev


Title: A Bollywood Affair
Author: Sonali Dev
Date of publication: 28 Oct 2014
Genre/themes: Contemporary romance, India/USA

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My rating: 4.5 Stars


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 naïve 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.


What a fantastic debut romance! It was my first by an Indian author and I had so much fun reading the story Ms Dev has so skillfully created. 

It is a lovely romance, full of passion and drama, colourful and funny and devastatingly sad at time, just like a typical Bollywood movie. And I do love watching Bollywood movies occasionally, they never fail to put me in a good mood and to leave me with a silly happy smile on my face. A Bollywood Affair did just that!

The story is set both in India and USA and follows Milli, village girl from India, once a child bride and now a young woman in search of her happiness and freedom. And she finds everything she has been looking for in Samir, a young successful Bollywood director and brother to her child husband. Now all this makes for one very messy, very sweet and very funny love story. 

The story is told from dual POV - Milli and Samir - they were both fantastic characters. They had great chemistry, a slowly growing romance and heaps of funny moments. 

The supporting cast was also very entertaining to read and they added to the creation of a very vibrant story. I loved the complex and detailed presentation of Indian culture. The references to Bollywood, the idiomatic phrases, the food references were abundant and although I'm not very familiar with Indian culture, I didn't find them confusing. On the contrary, I felt that they added authenticity to the story and made all the more intimate and real. 

The author included some current social issues - poverty, arranged (underage) marriages, women's education and rights. They were subtly woven into the text and balanced out nicely the lighter elements in the story. It is a love story at heart, one about the nature of love, the meaning and importance of family. There were some darker undertones related to Samir and Milli's pasts but didn't dominate the story and overall, it was a fun, light read. 

I had only a minor issue (which is generally a pet-peeve of mine) with the virgin sex - its description fitted into the tone of the story, yet I hated how unrealistically it was presented. 

I can recommend this debut romance to anyone who is looking for a contemporary feel-good story with a strong falvour of Indian culture!

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo 

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