Book Review: The Full Moon Bride – Shobhan Bantwal

Title: The Full Moon Bride
Author: Shobhan Bantwal
ISBN: 9780758258847
Pages: 352
Release Date: July 26, 2011
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Multicultural Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

As an Indian who was born and raised in America, Soorya Giri has always looked down on the concept of arranged marriages. But now that she’s in her thirties, she can’t help but agree to her parents’ requests to set up meetings with prospective husbands; after all, she has never even been kissed before. Through her parents, Soorya meets Roger Vadepelli, a handsome and charming man, but she is sure he won’t be interested in her. But Soorya gets more than she bargained for when, all of a sudden, she has more than one man vying for her affections, and she doesn’t know how to handle her newfound charms.

Review:

I’ve enjoyed Shobhan Bantwal’s previous novels (reviews of The Forbidden Daughter, The Sari Shop Widow, and The Unexpected Son) so I was excited to see she had tackled an entirely new subject in The Full Moon Bride – the experience of the first generation Americans, the children of immigrants.

Soorya was a very unique character. She was smart and capable, as evidenced by her job at a top New York City law firm for environmental law. But what surprised me about her was that she was over 30 and still living at home with her parents, and no real explanation was given for that. Of course, it could be the incredibly high rent prices in New York, or the fact that she didn’t feel like she had a need to move out – I just found that strange, though in the grand scheme of things, it’s not really important.

What really struck me about Soorya, though, were her self esteem and body image issues. Being over 30 and never having been kissed properly, I understand how those nagging doubts could creep up on her, thinking something is wrong with her as a result. But she perceived herself as unattractive, and as a result, she could not imagine how anyone could possibly be attracted to her. When Soorya finds herself with the attention of more than one man, it’s really interesting to see how she deals with it, as well as how, even in the face of such obvious attention, she still can’t see the beauty that others perceive.

I also enjoyed the discussion of arranged marriages in The Full Moon Bride. Being raised in the United States, Soorya’s immediate reaction is confusion and revulsion. But as she matures, she begins to consider it a possibility – after all, it worked out really well for her own parents. Can anyone really be happy, marrying someone they barely know? Will love eventually come, as her parents assure her it will? These are interesting questions that no one really has the answers for, and Soorya isn’t sure she wants to take the risks in order to discover if arranged marriage might work for her.

I enjoyed The Full Moon Bride – it had all the heart and wisdom I’ve come to expect from Shobhan Bantwal’s books, as well as the discussion of contemporary issues facing Indians today. I thought Soorya was an excellent character, frustrating at times, but I so enjoyed watching her grow and learn so much about herself and the world around her. This was a light, quick novel that fans of multicultural and women’s fiction definitely should pick up.

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Comments

  1. My mother is first generation American and grew up hearing her stories of what that’s like, so this book sounds like one I could relate to.

  2. My mother is first generation American and grew up hearing her stories of what that’s like, so this book sounds like one I could relate to.

  3. I’ve been waiting to try this author for awhile now. I just bought the Sari Shop Widow,and I’m excited to read it. I love reading about different cultures, India and Chinese culture in particular.

  4. I’ve been waiting to try this author for awhile now. I just bought the Sari Shop Widow,and I’m excited to read it. I love reading about different cultures, India and Chinese culture in particular.

  5. Great review. I put this one on my wish list.

  6. Great review. I put this one on my wish list.

  7. I really enjoyed Forbidden Daughter and have wanted to read mote by this author for awhile now. I think it’s interesting that although this character is Indian, she seems to be having some very American issues about body image and body perception. I bet this would make a really good read for me, and I will have to see about picking it up. Great review. I am glad that it didn’t disappoint.

  8. I really enjoyed Forbidden Daughter and have wanted to read mote by this author for awhile now. I think it’s interesting that although this character is Indian, she seems to be having some very American issues about body image and body perception. I bet this would make a really good read for me, and I will have to see about picking it up. Great review. I am glad that it didn’t disappoint.

  9. It’s amazing to me how many arranged marriages seemed to work beautifully. I am looking forward to reading this book!

  10. It’s amazing to me how many arranged marriages seemed to work beautifully. I am looking forward to reading this book!

  11. Children of immigrants sometimes have a tough time balancing the two cultures trying to stay within boundaries of both! I too like reading these stories as so much of story in these books.

  12. Children of immigrants sometimes have a tough time balancing the two cultures trying to stay within boundaries of both! I too like reading these stories as so much of story in these books.

  13. Excellent review! I hadn’t heard of this one though I have read two of Bantwal’s other books. I will have to pick this up.

  14. Excellent review! I hadn’t heard of this one though I have read two of Bantwal’s other books. I will have to pick this up.

  15. Your blog is dangerous for my TBR list! 😛

  16. Your blog is dangerous for my TBR list! 😛

  17. Anonymous says:

    She is still living with her parents because that is the Indian culture. Daughters don’t leave home until they leave the family to join their husbands family. My husband is a Telugu speaking Indian (first generation immigrant) and I am white (surprise!) all his sisters were arranged. So far this is a great read!

  18. Anonymous says:

    She is still living with her parents because that is the Indian culture. Daughters don’t leave home until they leave the family to join their husbands family. My husband is a Telugu speaking Indian (first generation immigrant) and I am white (surprise!) all his sisters were arranged. So far this is a great read!

  19. Anonymous – Thank you for the comment. I am actually very familiar with Telugu culture, as I was born into and raised in it. However, for the first generation American children (that is, the generation born to immigrants), I know of no daughter who lived with her parents after college once she secured a job (unless there were extenuating circumstances) – and this is speaking from personal experience. Hence why I brought it up as strange in the review.

  20. Anonymous – Thank you for the comment. I am actually very familiar with Telugu culture, as I was born into and raised in it. However, for the first generation American children (that is, the generation born to immigrants), I know of no daughter who lived with her parents after college once she secured a job (unless there were extenuating circumstances) – and this is speaking from personal experience. Hence why I brought it up as strange in the review.

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