I Don’t Feel Your Pain: The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev

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.

Rich with details of modern Indian-American life, here is a warm, sexy, and witty story of love, family, and the difficult choices that arise in the name of both.

Source: GoodReads

I enjoyed this book, but it wasn’t great.  I felt like it missed out on a lot of  opportunities.  The subject matter that it covered was not only interesting and exciting, but there was also a lot of emotional issues that could’ve been explored more that were barely touched.

If you know anything about me and romances, you’ll know that I’m really fond of the “second chance” trope.  I think this is because it gives the author a chance to develop the characters at two different stages of their lives and the romance doesn’t feel as forced as in some other tropes.  Still though, it’s a hard trope to pull off efficiently.

And I don’t think it was done efficiently here.  I didn’t really feel Vikram and Ria reconnect.  It was more or less sexual tension and then bam let’s get naked.  Let’s not go through any of our shit first and try to resolve our hatred for each other.

This is the best part of second hand romances, rediscovering that love.  That even though you’ve been hurt by someone and have changed over a period of time, you can still reconnect.  But I think Vikram just wanted Ria for her breasts and Ria wanted Vikram for his biceps.

It’s not terrible though, there were some sweet moments with these two, but it missed the boat in a major way.

Just like having Ria be a big Bollywood star, but hardly spending anytime discussing her career.  Rather, it was her at the wedding making moony eyes at Vikram, his biceps, and blue eyes.  All she really does besides that is stare and mope.

The one thing that I did think was handled reasonably well was the effect that mental illness can have on a family.  Being from a family that has mental illness on both sides, I see where Ria was coming.  While the mental illness that my family members suffer from is nowhere near as severe (that I know of) as the one that Ria’s relative suffers from, I felt her angst wondering if a ticking time bomb is going to go off in your head.

Not a pretty feeling.

Though, I wish some of the other aspects of mental illness was as well thought out.  Parts of the illness and Ria’s reaction to it were fluffed over a little bit too much for my liking, but I guess overall it worked.

Despite it’s faults, I did like Bollywood Bride.  It was a nice book to read on the flight home for Christmas, and it served it’s purpose it entertained me without really offending me.  It’s not a perfect read though, but it was nice to find a romance that didn’t deal with blondes in corsets or hot marines who came back home and fell in love with Ms. Nebraska.

Overall Rating: A B a little shabby, but in the long run worth it.

 

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