Review: A Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev


Title: The Bollywood Bride
Author: Sonali Dev
Date of publication: 29 Oct 2015
Genre/themes: Contemporary romance, India/USA
Author's links: Goodreads / Website / Facebook
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My rating: 4.5 Stars


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. 

Rich with details of modern Indian-American life, here is a warm, sexy, and witty story of love, family, and the difficult choices that arise in the name of both.


I loved this story even more than the Ms Dev's debut novel, A Bollywood Affair which made my best reads last year. It's a second chance romance story, with darker undertones and more on the serious side than book but written in the same wonderful, engaging style. Ms Dev takes on an emotional journey at the background of an Indian wedding with in all its glory and colour and symbolism and above all - Love. 

The heroine is a successful Indian actress who hides a terrible secret. Ria was an amazing character - strong and fragile, broken and hopeful. I loved everything about her. I understood her pain, her fear and her hope and this made me forgive even the mistakes she made. 

Told from her POV this is mostly Ria's story. And it's an intense emotional journey, full of self-reflection. All her actions that seemed cruel and heartless on the surface were actually done because of her love for the others - Vikram and her family - and her loyalty to them and fierce determination to protect them. 

The secrets Ria kept and the personal issues she was silently battling on her own were not artificial made-up drama but serious problem treated in a respectful and caring manned by the author. 

Vikram was a complex and intriguing hero on his own. At first we see lot of lashing out and negative emotions from him. Given what had happened between Ria and him it's understandable, yet I was angry at him for being so cruel and vicious. I had a moment of doubt about him (because of the whole girl-friend situation) but I think it was well handle eventually and it added to richness of his portrayal.

The coming back together of Ria and Vikram happens at the background of his cousins wedding which became a central metaphor in the story, a character of its own. I loved the detailed insight we got into the Indian traditions and lifestyle. The Indian wedding ceremonies were beautifully done, creating a sense of magic and touch of reality. I also appreciate how it was balanced out with the fears and anxieties of modern-day life the characters felt. 

The writing it beautiful, Ms Dev creates a story with rich texture and makes reading it an experience for the sense - touch, smell, sight, sound. I said it my review of A Bollywood Affair and it hold true for this story as well, it's like a Bollywood movie - colourful, vibrant, full of emotion, even the romance  was a true, meant-to-be-together-forever kind of love. 

My only minor quibble has to do with the ending. The issues between Ria and Vikram were resolved in a rather realistic, mature level but I would have loved to see more of them as couple. There were so many obstacles for them still to overcome, a whole new life to build for themselves. Now, on the other hand, I can hope for a short (or longer) sequel. 

It's a wonderfully diverse and passionate romance with a touch of darkness and some serious modern-day issues examined. A recommended read for those looking for an authentic romantic stories well told. 

Purchase links: Amazon

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