Her heart fluttered when she heard the sound of the key turn in the lock. She quickly adjusted her maroon silk sari with the yellow border, the one that had caught his eye, and waited eagerly for his footsteps. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven… Yes, exactly seven steps before he stopped, hesitated for a few moments, then removed his shoes one by one and arranged them neatly side by side on the shoe rack. She smiled. He had been mindful of taking his shoes off every day now. “I am not used to it, but I will if you want me to. It’s probably a good thing to do anyway.” As he settled down, he would pick up the TV remote and, without looking at her, would say in his smooth baritone, “So how did you spend your day, anything interesting?” Shaan Ahuja found himself bowing to tradition and agreeing to an arranged marriage to the beautiful Ruhi Sharma. He went through the motions but had no intention of carrying through on his vows. His last foray into matters of the heart with an American girl had left him scarred and unwilling to try again. Thoroughly disillusioned and disgruntled he wasted no time in making his intentions clear to Ruhi on their wedding night. But, he was completely unprepared for what his new wife had in mind.
Just when I had thought I had enough of Romance novels in 2013, another one came to me as the first book to be reviewed in 2014. I don’t know if it is coincidence or serendipity that the more I wanted to run away from Romance genre, it keeps coming back to me to usher the new year together. I’m not sure which genre the others have put this book into, but when I read it to the entirety, I would definitely term is as a Romance novel.
Author Simi K. Rao had me into a little surprise when her first chapter introduced the protagonists as Punajbis. Now, I’m strictly not a racist/provincial here, but being a writer myself, I know that most authors stick to their comfort zone in their debut books. Simi has managed to inculcate the perfect Punjabi flavour to her protagonists. The story is a racy, passionate, fierce, often violent, and completely on-the-edge romance. It is that kind of romance which most people are afraid of since its a little too much to handle.
Shaan and Ruhi, the core couple are victims (yes, I would call them that) of arranged marriage. They venture into unknown territory not knowing what lies ahead for them. Extramarital affairs and woes of immigration creep in to hurtle their relationship. I liked the way Simi has portrayed Ruhi as a wide-eyed yet grounded girl. I found her immature at times, which I’m sure is normal given her age. The story doesn’t have many loopholes but the writing does. It is slack at times, too stretched at a few chapters with readers wanting things to culminate into a climax soon. That is the main drawback of this book. The peripheral characters are well-sketched too and add some zing to enough masala already. I’d have loved the author to try a little more flair in her language rather than the simple one-liners and dialogues.
Recommended for Romance buffs only, go experience something different than the usual mush.
My Rating: 3.5/5
About the Author:
Simi K. Rao was born in India and has been living in the United States for several years. Her contemporary romance novel An Incurable Insanity, published by Tate Publishing, was released on October 8, 2013. An Incurable Insanity is her first foray into writing. The inspiration for the story came from what she has seen transpire among and within the immigrant community. Some of the experiences included are her own; some have been garnered from friends and casual conversations with acquaintances. She also writes poetry, is an avid photographer, loves to travel, and is a practicing physician. She currently lives in Denver with her family.
Language: English, Genre: Fiction/Romance
Author(s): Simi K. Rao
Publisher: Tate Publishing & Enterprises, Year Published: 2013
Binding: Paperback, Edition: First, Pages: 376
ISBN-13: 9781627465922, ISBN-10: 1627465928
Buy this book on Amazon.com
This review is also shared with the Indian Quills Reading Challenge at The Tales Pensieve.