The Full Moon Bride by Shobhan Bantwal was the first Indian-culture book I have read, and I was fascinated by it. The heroine is Soorya Giri, a thirty-year old environmental lawyer who lives in New Jersey with her parents and grandmother––who desperately want her to be married. Arranged marriages are the norm in the Indian culture, but Soorya is appalled by them. Living in America, she has seen how other couples marry for love and not just tradition, and she wants the same for herself. When Soorya is introduced to Roger Vadepalli, she doesn’t want to like him. He is arrogant and egotistical, but at the same time quite charming and intelligent, with dreams outside his tradition as well. But there is also Lou, a colleague who her family will not approve of, but who seems to enjoy Soorya’s company as well. As Soorya faces these decisions, she realizes what it means to be independent from her family and how to finally find what is right for her.
First off, I think the cover is exquisite. Second, like I mentioned above, this was my first time trying out a book with an Indian heroine, and I would like to think I learned a lot from it. From the culture, traditions, food, roles of men and women, etc., there is a lot to take in. I thought Soorya was a fine heroine, someone who has obviously been very sheltered along her life by her family. Even though she was somewhat hesitant about certain topics, she was still a strong and smart character, and I enjoyed reading her story. Sometimes things did seem a bit old-school to me: Soorya being a thirty-year old virgin who absolutely cringes at the thought of sex, and the fact that she thought she couldn’t flirt with Lou because he was black––but those were smaller details to me. The story as a whole was a welcome one, and I would recommend this book, especially if you have an interest in the Indian culture.
In My Mailbox: Week of November 20
Author: Meryl Davids Landau
Received: From Meryl Davids Landau
Synopsis: Lorna Crawford has a great boyfriend, longtime friends, and a well-paying job as special-events coordinator at a premium ice-cream manufacturer. But, out of sorts and filled with self-doubt, the 33 year old soon realizes that what she really wants is to stay on the spiritual path she keeps diving off of. Lorna jump-starts her efforts at a silent yoga retreat. But after returning from the mountain, she quickly loses her connection in the face of scheming coworkers, judgmental girlfriends, and, especially, her overly critical mother. Lorna also wrestles over her future with her boyfriend, a hot guy who takes her to the hottest places, but who can’t discern a meditation cushion from a toad stool. Reading spiritual books and visiting a channeler and energy healer move Lorna forward, but her confusion remains. Lorna’s seeking is put to the ultimate test when personal tragedy strikes. Will she come to truly understand that living spiritually has little to do with how you pretzel yourself on the yoga mat (although she gets plenty good at that), and everything to do with embracing the twists in everyday life?
Author: Nicola Marsh
Received: Nicola Marsh
Synopsis: Shari Jones needs to get a life. Preferably someone else’s.
Single, homeless and jobless, Indo-American Shari agrees to her best friend’s whacky scheme: travel to Mumbai, pose as Amrita, and ditch the fiancÃ© her traditional Indian parents have chosen. Simple. Until she’s mistaken for a famous Bollywood actress, stalked by a Lone Ranger wannabe, courted by an English lord, and busted by the blackmailing fiancÃ©.
Life is less complicated in New York.
Or so she thinks, until the entourage of crazies follows her to the Big Apple and that’s when the fun really begins. Shari deals with a blossoming romance, an addiction to Indian food and her first movie role, while secretly craving another trip to the mystical land responsible for sparking her new lease on life. Returning to her Indian birthplace, she has an epiphany. Maybe the happily-ever-after of her dreams isn’t so far away?
Author: Beth Labonte
Received: From Beth Labonte
Synopsis: Bored administrative assistant, Tessa Golden, is trapped in a life of lousy weather, irritating bosses, and mind-numbing secretarial work. Her dreams of being an artist have rapidly deteriorated into building things out of paperclips while on hold with tech support. To make matters even worse, the love of her life has gone off and married another woman.
So when Tessa is suddenly transferred to the Las Vegas branch of her company – playing wingwoman to her freshly divorced boss, juggling a client-from-hell, and catching the eye of one very eligible coworker – will her life finally be shaken up enough to straighten itself out?
Author: Naina Gupta
Received: From Prospera Publishing
Synopsis: When party-loving Neela Solanki rejects yet another loser in the long line of potential suitors who keep turning up in the ‘good’ room, her traditional Indian parents finally take decisive action. Fed up with her persistent refusal to provide them with a son-in-law and grandchild, the Solankis confiscate the phone, car and credit cards they pay for, and give her one last chance to comply before she is kicked out of the house.
Desperate for cash, Neela starts up a secret business breaking up the engagements of those trapped in the unstoppable force that is an Indian marriage arrangement. Add to that an addiction to Indian soap operas, being stalked by the latest loser’s father, a jilted ex and a love interest from an unlikely source, and Neela finds life is about to take a turn she never expected.