I sincerely hope you’ve discovered Sonali Dev by now. Since her very first title, A BOLLYWOOD AFFAIR, released, she’s been an author to watch, combining amazing characters, gorgeous writing and compelling storytelling. Her stories revolve around Indian and Indian American families while exploring universal themes of love, family, self-acceptance and discovery.
Her most recent release, RECIPE FOR PERSUASION, is the second in a series that reimagines Jane Austen titles from the perspective of an Indian family who’s forged a successful life in California.
Dev writes all the emotions with insight and sensitivity, but if there’s one that she especially excels in, it’s longing. In this book, she reunites a chef, Ashna, desperately trying to save her father’s restaurant, and Rico, a world-famous soccer star who’s adjusting to life after a career-ending injury.
The two were a secret couple back in high school, each with their own wounds and vulnerabilities and the conviction that only the other truly understood them, until the day when a series of misunderstandings separates them for years.
Until now, when Rico arranges to be Ashna’s partner in a cooking show.
Dev takes a deep dive into thwarted love ratcheted up into mistrust and hurt, thanks to parents’ expectations and acts of sabotage. Sifting through years of distress and misconceptions is complicated and heart-wrenching, especially for Ashna, whose relationships with her parents, especially her mother, have always been knotty.
As the two work together on the show, they’re forced to face past mistakes and move forward, but it will take some serious soul-searching for Ashna to understand the enormous miscalculation she’s made regarding her own family history. Once she’s ready to re-evaluate what she’s always thought she’s known about her parents, she might just breakthrough to the life and love she’s always wanted but never felt she deserved.
As usual, Dev pens a gorgeously emotional novel with breathtaking sexual and romantic tension. Yet as much as we root for Ashna and Rico, the true genius in this novel is the way Dev manages to completely shift our perceptions of Ashna’s relationship with her mother.
There is a lot of angst and conflict, but there’s also humor, wit, sexy banter and intense family loyalty and affection.
Another winner from Dev!
(This review is part of Read-A-Romance Month. Hope you’ll come back every day to check out my book recommendations. You can find the calendar here. Also check out The Romance of Reading, a Facebook “book club” where we’ll have great authors guest hosting every week.)