This is an author that I have been really really looking forward to reading. She’s written a number of ‘Bollywood’ books and while I am not Indian, I think their culture is exotic, colorful, and interesting.
This book is the first installment in a new series about the Rajes family and I was thrilled that I got to read this one, especially since there is a Pride and Prejudice element to the story. I would definitely put this book in the retelling category, but it was so much more than just another P & P retelling.
With it’s cultural aspect, this book adds a lot of uniqueness and color to a timeless tale while continuing to maintain the integrity of the classic romance. Also this book has a food element so foodies everywhere rejoice and be prepared to crave curry or unique dishes after this book!
Award-winning author Sonali Dev launches a new series about the Rajes, an immigrant Indian family descended from royalty, who have built their lives in San Francisco—a compelling, heartwarming romance between two strangers from completely different worlds, and a poignant exploration of cultural assimilation, identity, and the meaning of the word home.
Only in a family like the Rajes could San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon be considered the black sheep. Dr. Trisha Raje has developed groundbreaking technology and won the respect of her peers and the life-long gratitude of her patients. Still, her large, close-knit family—descended from old Indian nobility—has certain rules to uphold. Trusting outsiders is frowned upon. Disloyalty of any kind is unacceptable. Trisha never intended to jeopardize her brother’s political aspirations, yet her long-ago actions inadvertently did just that. At last she has a chance to turn that around.
Up-and-coming chef DJ Caine has known people like Trisha before—people who judge his background and find it lacking, who put pedigree above character. He may need the lucrative, career-making job the Rajes offer, but he has little time for Trisha, especially when he learns that she’s the arrogant surgeon who wants to perform an untested procedure on his sister, Emma.
As the two continually clash, their assumptions shatter like spun sugar on one of DJ’s stunning desserts. Drawn to DJ’s steadiness, humor, and passion—as well as his extraordinary food—Trisha begins to reexamine her view of the world, while challenging his beliefs about the nature of family. But there’s a past to be reckoned with before they can hope to savor a future bursting with delicious possibility (summary from Goodreads).
First of all, there are a ton of characters to keep up with in this book, so be prepared to try and keep track of everyone. I know that I had a hard time at first, but as the story continued, I was easily able to keep track of the principal characters and most of the secondary ones.
I liked how this book took the P & P characters and made them modern and while different than the classic characters, while still keeping them recognizable in this modern take. Initially I didn’t care for Trisha. I thought she was selfish, distant, cold, and generally dislikable, but as the story went on we slowly got to know her better and see her true colors shine through. Isn’t that similar to how we view Darcy in the classic? Kind of a jerk at first right? Then by the end we are all swooning. A similar transition takes place for Trisha in this book.
DJ was charming and instantly earned my good opinion when it came to his sister and how he struggled to keep their lives together. It was touching and I found him to be instantly likable and loved seeing his character evolve over the course of the book.
The one thing that I had a hard time with was not having enough backstory in the beginning. The book begins with there being a lot of resentment and distance between Trisha and her family. It’s alluded to that something major has happened to damage the relationship and there seems to be a lot of character in the family harboring resentment and hurt but the audience doesn’t really have a clue what it is….only that something has happened. For me this was hard. Eventually we found out the reasons and all is explained, but leading up to that point I just felt a little lost.
I did love how the author took the genders and flipped them in this retelling and the parallels in this book were subtle but yet clearly recognizable. I loved the exotic food and the cultural blending in this book. It was so much fun and I was so impressed with the authors ability to create a fresh modern P & P style book. It was a true pleasure to read. If you love P & P then you are going to love this book as well! I can’t wait to read more about this family too…..trust me—this family is a gold mine of excellent novels yet to come!