Friday, October 23, 2015

The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev

Vikki's Musings

Good morning and welcome to my blog. Today I have Donna Salzman visiting and she has been kind enough to share her thoughts on A Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev. Personally I have never read a book by this author, but after reading Donna's review, I am intrigued. It is definitely on my TBR list! Happy reading!

Publisher & Release Date: Kensington, September 29, 2015

Time and setting: Present Day, Chicago

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: 352

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description:

"A fresh new voice." --Susan Elizabeth Phillips, New York Times bestselling author

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.

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Guest Reviewer: Donna Salzman 

My first Sonali Dev book was a lucky accident-I made a quick trip to the local library in the face of a predicted Northern Wisconsin blizzard. I picked up her first book, A Bollywood Affair, attracted by the lovely cover art, and intrigued by the blurb on the back cover.  Bollywood romance is generally not my thing, but after finishing the book she had made a believer out of me and had a new Facebook follower who was eagerly anticipating her second book, A Bollywood Bride, which was already partially written.  I preordered it from Amazon and it was everything I expected and more!

Ms. Dev writes a multicultural book that brings old Indian traditions and modern American life together, and the problems that can result from that.  Her characters are always extremely conflicted, which I love, and only enhances the reading experience. Ria and Vikram in A Bollywood Bride are definitely not exceptions from this. Ria is a child of Mumbai from a struggling family. Vikram is an only child in a family of privilege in America. The two are brought together first when Ria begins spending summers with her aunt's family and later living with them permanently after the tragic deaths of her parents. Vikram is her rock, the steadying influence in her life, and this grows into love as they reach adulthood.  But Ria is followed by a terrible family secret that tears the two apart, sending Ria fleeing back to Mumbai, and nearly destroying Vikram in the process.

Ria becomes a famous Bollywood star known as the Ice Princess, and is gone from Chicago for 10 years when she gets a call from her cousin, begging her to return for his wedding. An impending paparazzi scandal pushes her back to Chicago to face the life and family she left behind­––and Vikram, who is none too happy to have her back. Sparks fly between the two, and I found this part of the story heart-rending but so compelling I couldn't put it down. The descriptions of people, relationships and emotions were so vivid they pulled you right into the pages of the book. 

The climax of the story plays out with both the old secret and the new scandal combining into one huge mess that appears to cost Ria everything she loves and sends her fleeing back to Mumbai, to a life that no longer exists.  But this time her life takes another surprising twist.

This book definitely earns 5 Gold Crowns and Sonali Dev surpassed herself. I didn't expect a book better than A Bollywood Affair––it just didn't seem possible. Yet it happened! I laughed over Ria's auntie’s antics, cried over the enmity between Ria and Vikram and just absolutely loved this story!  Read this one––you won't be sorry!

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