Fairy tale fun bursts from the confines of an arranged Indian marriage in this delectable follow-up to For Matrimonial Purposes (2003) when Priya, the youngest of four unmarried sisters, finds herself the one chosen for matrimony and life across the seas in Beverly Hills. Though she lives in the land of movie stars and happy endings, Priya's marriage is anything but. Her husband, Sanjay, remains far more devoted to his conservative parents than his bride, and they have no compunction about working Priya to the bone. When after a few months her belly remains as flat as ever, they even send her off to get a job. Luck lands her a position as a receptionist at the tabloid Hollywood Insider, and her exotic politeness wins over the red carpet community. Soon she's vaulted to the position of reporter and hobnobbing with the glitterati. The novel's charm derives in large part from grounded details about the immigrant experience. That Priya's disintegrating marriage remains more important to her than fame and fortune gives the story a fresh twist and will have readers longing to know what will happen when the divide between glamorous life and devoted wife becomes too great.
Daswani's second novel is a thoughtful romantic comedy about a young couple's first year of marriage. Priya leaves her family in India to move to Los Angeles with her new husband, Sanjay, a man her family arranged for her to marry. Though Sanjay clearly cares for his new wife, he allows his demanding parents to boss Priya around, and when she doesn't get pregnant, her mother-in-law tells her to find a job. Priya longs to be a journalist, but her in-laws forbid it, so instead she takes a job as a receptionist at the glossy magazine Hollywood Insider. But after she fills in for one of the assistants at an important interview and endears herself to the actor by not printing his ill-advised comments, Priya finds herself being handed the journalism job she has always coveted. And though she knows her in-laws will be angry if they ever find out, she takes it. There's plenty of Hollywood glamour, but ultimately the heart of this winning novel lies in how Priya and Sanjay grow in their marriage.
Along with Sonia Singh, Kavita Daswani is one of my new favorite authors. I found it hard to put this book down as I liked the main character so much, found her struggle to maintain balance between homelife and worklife interesting and suspenseful, and learned alot about what it means to be an Indian in America and especially an Indian woman in an arranged marriage. I will be keeping this book to read again and again, and will be looking for more by this author. I highly recommend this one.