Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Review: Bollywood Bride

The Bollywood Bride
By Sonali Dev
Published: September 29, 2015

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.

My review:

Ria is known as an ice princess because she keeps everyone at arm's length whether on set or in her personal life. She has carefully crafted this persona to protect herself and keep people from prying into her life. Ria has a dark past and her career would be destroyed if it came to light. When a momentary slip leads to blackmail from a paparazzo, Ria goes home to Chicago using her cousin's wedding as an excuse. She is glad to see her family but not to be near Vikram Jathar again. Vikram is her cousin Nikhil's best friend and the three of them were friends though Nikhil doesn't know that Vikram and Ria fell in love as teens. 

Vikram is not happy to see Ria either. He has a lot of anger and hurt to deal with and makes things very hard for Ria with his cruel behavior and comments. As they are forced to be civil and spend more time together because of wedding duties, things start to thaw and old feelings begin to resurface but Ria doesn't know if she can trust Vikram and stop running from the past.

I liked Ria and felt really bad for her. She has been through a lot of horrible things both in her childhood and later on as a young adult. Ria's first instinct is to run but she does care deeply about her family especially her aunt and uncle who were like parents to her and Nikhil who was like a brother.  I had a harder time liking Vikram because of the way he treated Ria. Though I understood the reason for his anger, it took awhile to warm up to his character until he stopped being so unkind. I also didn't like how much Ria still wanted him even while he was being a jerk. It was like her hormones had no control where he was concerned.

Thankfully things got better as the story unfolded and Vikram started seeing the real Ria and not the version he was mad at. The two have great chemistry and in the end I was rooting for them to work through their issues. I also enjoyed the descriptions of food and Indian culture and the little bit of Bollywood that we got to see. The secondary characters were a lot of fun, especially the aunties. Overall I liked this contemporary romance with a Bollywood flavor. It had some good character development especially for Ria. I think readers who like contemporary romance and authors like Shobhan Bantwal and Anjali Banerjee would enjoy The Bollywood Bride.

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