A Bollywood Affair (Bollywood #1) by Sonali Dev (2014)
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Page Length: 294 pages (paperback edition)
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.
Heartfelt, witty, and thoroughly engaging, Sonali Dev’s debut is both a vivid exploration of modern India and a deeply honest story of love, in all its diversity. (description from Goodreads)
This is my second Sonali novel! I was really impressed by A Change of Heart so I decided upon this book to read next. On a side didn’t realize this book was a part of a series and that I’ve been reading them out-of-order. But I can say that the two books I’ve read in this series read like a standalone, so I never got confused.
Mili is a young twenty-something who has left India to pursue studies in America who been married since she was four (never met the man), but desperately wants to meet him. Samir is a Bollywood director who goes on a quest to find Mili in order to get her to sign his brother’s divorce papers. Somehow the initial marriage was never annulled, but their marriage might not be legal?
The main characters Mili and Samir, upon the readers first impressions are two very contrasting people. Mili is a bit naive and sheltered due to her upbringing, but she won’t let the fear of the unknown stop her from pursuing her dreams. She believes in true love and happily ever after which gives some unrealistic expectations. Samir is a playboy director who seems to have it all on the outside, but internally he struggles to fight his past and his loneliness. He has seen the ways of the world and a lot of his life experiences have made him very jaded and cynical about the world.
Both Samir and Mili’s growing friendship help them to open up and confide in one another. Mili becomes a little more outgoing and Samir becomes more kind-hearted. The two don’t want to fall for each other, but the attraction is there. I liked how their relationship developed over the course of the novel as well as their individual growth.
I love the rich culture that Dev shrouds her novels in. She not only immerses the reader in Indian culture, but gives clear explanations of food and customs that may be unfamiliar to the reader. In this book she specifically focuses on the subject of arranged marriages in India.
A Bollywood Affair is very engrossing and will keep its readers entertained from beginning to end. I love books with a slow-burning romance with none of that Insta-love! I enjoyed the cast of characters and the plot’s engaging and fast-paced narrative. I look forward to reading more from Sonali Dev.
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