Published: Kensington Books
Date: 29th September 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Ria Parkar is Bollywood's favorite Ice Princess--beautiful, poised, and scandal-proof--until one impulsive act threatens to expose her destructive past. Traveling home to Chicago for her cousin's wedding offers a chance to diffuse the coming media storm and find solace in family, food, and outsized celebrations that are like one of her vibrant movies come to life. But it also means confronting Vikram Jathar.
Ria and Vikram spent childhood summers together, a world away from Ria's exclusive boarding school in Mumbai. Their friendship grew seamlessly into love--until Ria made a shattering decision. As far as Vikram is concerned, Ria sold her soul for stardom and it's taken him years to rebuild his life. But beneath his pent-up anger, their bond remains unchanged. And now, among those who know her best, Ria may find the courage to face the secrets she's been guarding for everyone else's benefit--and a chance to stop acting and start living.
The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev is a second chance romance, with a ten year gap in between. Ria has pushed Vikram away from her, for very good reasons from her viewpoint, and has then pursued a career in the movie world of Bollywood. Although it would seem her career is built more on one kind of movie only and her beauty. Her roles are all those of the bride. She is the darling of the Bollywood movie going world. However like all movie stars she has the paparazzi out to make their money from her movements. Up until now she has managed to stay apart, but now one has caught her doing something that could be twisted and bring her into disfavour.
Ria is a little bit of a mystery, she has had a dark past and that dark past preys on her, so much so she is unable to choose happiness for herself and thinks she is protecting those she loves by keeping her secrets close to herself.
Vikram has been hurt by Ria's rejection of him and has spent many years travelling around, although in that absent time he has learned many skills he now has gathered together to make him a force to be reckoned with in the business world. He has a love for children and has set up a Khan Academy type website. His love for children really worries Ria, because she believes she may never have children, and carries a deep dark secret in relation to this.
As in her previous book I loved the richness of the Indian culture and the closeness of family in this book. Ria's aunt and uncle and their families were a lot of fun and full of care and kindness. They have been a rock for Ria nearly all her life.
The connection between Ria and Vikram is real and believable. I thought the scars that Ria carried and the exploration of her family's darkness was a great idea, although I was not always hooked in by the way Ria dealt with it. Perhaps I wanted too much. I loved how Vikram helped her take the final step that enabled her to move forward. I thought his support was heart warming.
I enjoyed this novel and really look forward to reading whatever Sonali Dev has in store for us in her next book.
An interesting interview with Sonali Dev over at All About Romance.