Oh, CBR BookClub. I’m so excited for you to exist, but this was definitely not my choice to introduce folks to the romance genre. About two thirds of my reading every year is romance. I know what I like within the genre and this one hit upon so many of the things I can’t stand.
So as you all know from reading this one yourselves this is the story of Ria and Vikram. They were once young lovers, but haven’t seen each other in 10 years because “reasons”. They are reunited again for their mutual cousin’s (they’re not related, don’t worry) wedding. Ria is a Bollywood star in India, and throughout the story we find out what Vikram has been up to these past 10 years.
So the parts I did like: the aunties. I want a book alllllll about them. One of my favorite authors is Jhumpa Lahiri, and as I love her take on the Indian experience in America, I would read a book about their forming their friendships like nobody’s business. Also Nikhil and Jen were a decent couple as well. They probably have an interesting backstory. Okay, that’s all the positives I’ve got.
As for the other side of the coin, there are a few tropes i dislike immensely within the genre no matter what: characters who refuse to communicate and over the top melodrama. This one had both in spades! It wasn’t until ninety some percent through the book that Ria actually explained anything at all to Vikram as to her behavior. No. NOPE. All of their angst and drama could have been solved with just a few simple conversations. Here’s the point 38% in when I decided to check out:
“Of all people, how had Nikhil got everything so dismally wrong? She refused to think about the fact that he had no way of knowing any different. She had never given him an explanation. She’d let him believe what she had wanted Vikram to believe…”
IF YOU REFUSE TO TELL PEOPLE WHAT IS GOING ON THEY ARE GOING TO MAKE ASSUMPTIONS. IT’S YOUR OWN FAULT. Anywho…
On top of all this no-communication there was the sturm und drang everywhere: insanity runs in her family, her mother’s in an asylum, she was abused, his mother’s nasty, etc. There was no need for so many bananas plot points. Pick one or two and work with those.
So overall, I didn’t enjoy this one in the least. I read romance for quick, witty banter, communication, and a happily ever after I can believe in. This ends with an HEA, but I couldn’t believe it. She’s going to need years and years and years of therapy, and he’s going to spend his whole life trying to convince her that they should try being together. It sounded exhausting. And not very happy. I have more thoughts, but I’m saving those for the chat. These were just the quick ones I couldn’t keep inside.