Ria Parker’s nickname in Bollywood is the Ice Princess—she’s cultivated her reputation as an untouchable, emotionless actress very carefully, as she doesn’t want to let anyone see what’s underneath the surface. The truth is, she’s never forgotten the boy she left behind, Vikram, despite her efforts to move forward. But when Ria’s forced to return home for a family wedding, will all her secrets be revealed as she has to face Vikram again?
I loved Sonali Dev’s debut romance novel A Bollywood Affair, and it’s been with eager anticipation that I’ve been awaiting The Bollywood Bride. Romance isn’t a genre I read often, but I’ve been expanding my reading horizons more and more, and I’m a sucker for a good South Asian story. Dev did not disappoint with her second novel, making me appreciate her keen writing style and excellent characterization.
Ria is a great character in The Bollywood Bride. She seems like she has everything: wealth, fame, respect. But it doesn’t take long for the cracks to begin showing. She’s an actress everyone loves to hate, and her emotional health is questionable. She’s made a lot of sacrifices to get where she is, and not all of them were willing sacrifices on her part. Dev crafts a very deep character with Ria, and it’s interesting to watch her peel back the layers and become exposed and raw.
The reader knows that Ria left Vikram behind at the beginning of The Bollywood Bride, but the circumstances surrounding that, and indeed Vikram himself, are a mystery at the beginning of the novel. Dev keeps her book moving at a quick pace, and the reader is hooked, hoping to uncover what happened and that Ria finds the happy ending she so desperately needs. This is a novel that’s easily read in one sitting; in fact, I challenge you to not do so, to slow down and savor it. It’s a difficult thing because the novel pulls you in so completely.
I am really enjoying the small surge in inclusive genre fiction; too often the only choice for any sort of South Asian reading is literary fiction, which is usually on sad, heavy subjects. I’m a big fan of Sonali Dev’s and love her romance novels; I already can’t wait to read her next book.
Other books by Sonali Dev: