I found Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai from NPR’s Best Books of 2020 List. This was my first experience with Rai’s work, but Girl Gone Viral is actually the second book in her “Modern Love” series. This was an interesting and well-written, modern romance novel. I enjoyed it enough to read another of Rai’s books almost immediately after finishing this one. I also appreciate that NPR is recommending romance novels with a little diversity in their characters and authors.
Katrina is sitting in a busy coffee shop lusting after her bodyguard when a hunky guy sits down to share the table with her. They do a little small talk and go on their ways. Katrina thinks nothing of it and continues on with her day. What she doesn’t know is that the woman sitting next to her had been surreptitiously taking pictures of them, live tweeting a made-up love story for the internet. And it goes viral.
This invasion of privacy would be annoying for anyone, but for Katrina it’s one of the worst things that could happen. Katrina was very young when she married a very wealthy man, primarily to get away from her emotionally abusive father. Her husband was very kind, but because he was so rich, she became a target and she was kidnapped. Because of this incredibly traumatic experience, Katrina suffers from PTSD. She has trouble even going out to public places, and the thought that people might find out who she is and where she lives is terrifying.
When the internet’s interest increases instead of dying down, her long-time bodyguard, Jas Singh, takes her to his family’s farm for peace of mind and safekeeping. Jas has his own version of PTSD from the war, but he has cared for Katrina for a long time now. Out at the farm, the two finally realize that the other one feels the same.
I’m a sucker for a good bodyguard story, and this one did not disappoint me. It took some time for Katrina and Jas’s backstories to come out, but the experience of reading was fun. I also appreciated the more modern storyline that makes you think about who deserves privacy on the internet. Recommended for romance readers.
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