The Bollywood Bride was recommended by many of the blogs I trust and a few of the authors whose opinion I trust and quite frankly... I cannot figure out why.
When I read a romance of any kind, I must connect with one of the MCs at the very least. I want to see their love for each other kindle and grow and surmount whatever odds fall in their way. I want to see true emotion, both the negatives and the positives. I want to get the attraction between them. I want to sigh happily in places and get choked up in others. I want to be touched, I guess.
Didn't happen here.
The heroine, Rai, had so many horrible things happen to her that it's really no wonder she's a hot mess. A HUGE hot mess. So, I found myself wondering why the hell she wasn't in some kind of therapy. Is this something Indians don't do? And while I didn't think she was the brightest star in the sky, she certainly seemed self-aware enough to recognise that she needed help. And it's not like she's some wet behind the ears kid, either. She's nearing on 30 years old for heaven's sake. And why the HELL she couldn't tell Vik, who had been there for her as a child, even some of the problems she was facing just seemed stupid to me.
The hero, Vikram (or Viky as Rai calls him and made my eyes roll every time - SO not sexy), was SO unlikable. Rude, hurtful, obnoxious, mean-spirited, immature... I could find nothing to like about him and man, I tried, I really tried. He came across as such a petulant little boy for much of the time that I just wanted to pinch him! Even when the scene was not about the 'relationship' between the MCs, he turned me off. For instance, there was a scene in a clothing shop where he and Ria's cousin, Nik, act like rude teenagers while looking for clothing for Nik's wedding. I'd have sent him to the car and then grounded him for a week for that type of entitled, stupid, immature behavior. He seemed 15 instead of the 35. Not very romantic.
One of the many reasons Rai felt she could not be with Vik had to do with Vikram's bitch of a mother. Much was made of this meddling throughout most of the book, but then near the end... without even much of a confrontation (which would have been SO satisfactory) it was all swept aside in about a paragraph of exposition. And the sudden announcement of Vikram not wanting children of his own. Very Deus Ex Machina if you ask me. As was the whole deal with the actor she was involved with at the beginning of her career. Lots of finger-snapping fix-the-problem happening here.
The writing itself was in many, many places so purple prosey and flowery that it made my eyes roll again and again - I did much of that while reading this book - the sex scenes were especially filled with paragraphs of flights of fancy words. Maybe that's why I didn't feel much of an emotional connection between Rai and Vikram. To me it just felt like a lot of physical chemistry and all they wanted to do was roll about in the hay. I would have liked them to talk more, show their attraction and connection through something else other than hot sex.
Things I did like were Ria's aunt and uncle and the auntie brigade. Although, Uma, Ria's aunt, should have taken things in hand long ago.
I don't get why this book is so popular. I don't get why it was on the DABWAHA tourney brackets. I don't understand! It's so... not empowering. There was no joy at all in it. I mean, be honest, there's not. Instead of finishing this book with a happy, contented sigh, I finished it with a HUGE sigh of relief. I came closerthanthis to DNFing it, but I stuck it out simply because it has been so highly recommended.
What a letdown.