The Bollywood Bride by critically acclaimed author Sonali Dev starts with a bang when an impulsive act by Ria Parkar, the Bollywood scene’s reclusive Ice Princess, threatens to expose her family’s history of mental illness—a history she’s sacrificed everything to keep private. In a moment of vulnerability, Ria agrees to attend her cousin’s Chicago wedding. She knows she shouldn’t go, because the last person she wants to see will also be attendance. But she’s so homesick for her favorite cousin, aunt and uncle that she can’t stay away.
Vikram Jathar, Ria’s first friend and only love—the man she fled 10 years ago in the most bridge-burning manner she could devise—is every bit as furious with her as she expects. In his eyes, Ria exchanged their relationship for a glamorous life in the spotlight. Yet he can’t seem to stay away from her.
Objectively, Ria knows better than to get involved with Vikram again. She understands that they have no future and that she should return to Mumbai. But it’s so wonderful to be back with the family who gave her childhood normalcy, who provided the best summers of her life. And no matter how sternly she tells herself that she must go back to India, she can’t tear herself away from them, nor from Vikram. Then everything changes.
I fell in love with Dev’s writing in her first novel, A Bollywood Affair. The Bollywood Bride is its polar opposite in tone: darkness and angst to her first novel’s lightness. Yet it’s filled with the same complexity of characters, rich sense of family love and enticing peeks into a culture of which I now have a bit more knowledge. Dev’s ability to weave these elements throughout the story is admirable, and she has created a lush, satisfying second-chance-at-love tapestry.
Susan Andersen is a New York Times best-selling author of 23 romance and romantic suspense novels.