Published: November 2014
A Bollywood Affair is a great entry point to romance. It offers a little something different, with the staples of a contemporary romance. I've had the pleasure of watching this evolve from manuscript to published book, and I'm so excited to share this debut from my fellow Windy City RWA chaptermate.
Mili arrives to the United States from India after living a sheltered life overseen by her very traditional grandmother, who prepares Mili every day for her impending marriage to a husband arranged for her when she was a child. Only it's been over twenty years, and no husband has materialized.
What she doesn't know, is the village ceremony so many years ago did not result in a legal marriage. At least that's what her husband thinks, especially since he's married to another woman. He'd been told the child bride arrangement was handled and done with, as modern Indians did away with such archaic customs. Now, with a baby on the way, he's desperate. He sends his brother Samir to sort out the whole debacle, and to get the girl to sign papers saying the marriage is null. Only Mili's been coached her whole life that this man is who she should live for. That even bettering herself with education is to please her future husband.
Which all is a perfect recipe for disaster and romantic shenanigans when Samir finds Mili. I loved the contrast between old Indian customs and modern values, and also how different Mili and Samir's experiences were adjusting to the U.S., as well as Mili's roommate who is an American-born Indian. The book shows very distinctly that someone's cultural identity is just one facet of them; their family, upbringing, and values matter just as much. As for Bollywood, Samir is a filmmaker, so that's the tie in. Also, family elements tie into the story, as well as a wedding, so there is a real Bollywood flair to the story, especially toward the end.
Since this is a romance, it gets a little spicy! So be forewarned, this isn't your mama's women's fiction book club pick.