A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

Bollywood #1

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.

I think it's safe to say that this is my favorite contemporary romance novel ever, if only because I had no idea Indian contemporary romance novels were a thing, and that they could be so perfect. This desi-lit is basically everything I never knew I needed, and now I need more. 

Based on the synopsis, I had thought that Mili Rathod would be a super traditional Indian lady, and she was to a certain extent, except there's so much more to her. I mean, Mili Rathod had an arranged marriage when she was a child, and held up traditional values including staying faithful to the husband she has never met, and even loving him. She's cute. But personally, I think that moving to America on her own in order to go to college and improve herself both for herself and her husband is something that speaks to her wonderful, courageous, and dedicated character, and just makes me love her more. Mili is the sweetest heroine in the world, and luckily, her hero is just as great.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Samir other than the fact that he was a Bollywood director - but what does that say about his character? Is he arrogant and rude? Kind? Somewhere in the middle? Likely everyone already knows how much I appreciate angst in a romance novel, and thankfully, this one had a ton. From the first moment Samir and Mili met, I was squealing. Mili successfully makes a fool out of herself + is super clumsy + mistakes his identity + sustains an injury, and Samir is just like what the heck just happened? It was a literal joy watching their relationship change and grow, and let me just say I am so so happy that Samir's brother didn't find Mili first. Similarly, I love that there's more to Samir's brother/Mili's husband than is told in the synopsis. I love it when characters are portrayed in more than just black and white.

This romance could have easily been a normal New Adult novel, except for the Indian names, culture, traditions, and of course, the Punjabi wedding right smack in the middle of the novel (not Samir and Mili's, by the way). I adored all of these aspects of the novels, and sadly for me, I find myself craving even more of this kind of contemporary romance. Except I can't find any. I suppose what I love the most about the novel is that the personalities of the characters just scream Indian, and I love it. In fact, A Bollywood Affair perfectly combines American and Indian, and it's ridiculously wonderful. Can this please be made into a Bollywood movie?

The painful parts of this book caused me a lot of hurt, the fairly large quantity of humorous incidents made me laugh out loud, and the incredibly hot and sweet and at times angry Samir made me swoon like I'd lost my center of balance. This book gave me everything I could ever ask for, and I'm probably ruined for nearly every contemporary romance I'll read in the future. I would happily read this book over and over again, and I need a copy on my shelf right now. Sonali Dev, you are one of my favorite contemporary romance authors.

Rating: ★★★★★


  1. I haven't heard of this book before, but I need to read it! It sounds really great. I'm not very familiar with Bollywood, but I want to be!

    1. I hadn't heard of it until now, and I can't believe it because it's so good!! I hope you really love the book if you get to it! And if you ever need any Bollywood recommendations, I can help - I haven't watched too many, but I have a few favorites.


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