The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev: An Angsty Read That Ended Rather Anticlimactically

Bollywood #2

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 only just read A Bollywood Affair a short while ago, and it would not be inaccurate to say that I fell in love with it immediately. As I said in a previous review, it quickly became one of my favorite contemporary romances, and the author is one that I adore after just that one book. Thus, it makes sense that I picked up Sonali Dev's next book - of the same series - as soon as I was in the mood for the genre. While this was an exciting read filled with angst, secrets, desire and lots of pain, the last few pages/chapters kept this book from being something so much better. The Bollywood Bride, though an enjoyable and pretty satisfying read, simply isn't as good as the first book, and here's why:

1. The main character, Ria Parkar, had so many traumatic events occur in her past, including the truth about her mother and what was done to her as a child, the reason she told herself she couldn't let herself be with the love of her life, and the horrid thing that happened to her in order to get her into the Bollywood business in the first place. Some of these things were never even told to the man she loved, some he had to find out himself, and most, if not all, of her issues were swept under the rug by the time the book ended. You simply have a stand-alone contemporary romance that leaves so many problems unacknowledged.

2. Vikram was really hot and stubborn and selfless. Oh wait that's not a problem.

3. Ria Parkar literally never made the right decision, or stood up or fought for her love or anything. She was very passive and never stopped running away from life, and wasn't very honest or open with Vikram. That's not the kind of heroine I want to read about.

4. What was the point of all those sexist men in the book? If it was just to make Vikram look like a better man, then I disapprove.

5. It didn't really seem like Vikram and Ria ever made up emotionally, to be honest. Vikram has always been Ria's rock, but I actually don't see this as an equal relationship. Yes I love Vikram and love how much he loves Ria, but sometimes it feels like she doesn't deserve him. Sometimes. And they're crazy emotions for each other blew from hot to cold at the slightest breeze, soooooo it's probably not the healthiest relationship.

6. I'm going to say it again: nothing was actually resolved by the end of the book, and I see much more hurt in Vikram and Ria's future. So why can't we readers see them get over the rest of their hurdles - how can this possibly be the end of the book?

BUT despite all of these problems - which all only make themselves known at the very end anyways - this book was so painful and dramatic and covered all over with delicious swoons, and at the end of the day, no romance is perfect. The Bollywood Bride remains another great read that has satisfied my new need for desi lit.

Rating: ★★★★

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