3.5 stars, actually. This is a bit like a Bollywood Romance without the musical numbers: an idealized notion of family, a gorgeous old palace locale, a (literally called that) Alpha Male hero, and a sassy, beautiful heroine who doesn’t understand her own heart after being protected and home-schooled her whole life by a rich Pakistani family.

Chandni was abandoned by her father, and left orphaned by a mother who passed away. She was left to be raised by her grandmother, “The Broad” in safe seclusion. But now she’s at a marriageable age, and her dreams of marrying a much older minor noble family friend are about to be upended by her family.

Chandni frustrated me. She is a potentially engaging mix of desire to make choices, literary references (she calls Alpha Male Heathcliff, Dorian Grey, Darcy, etc) and emotion. But…she was really too stupid about her father until incontrovertible proof is basically thrust upon her. I also wanted more actual bantering scenes between her and Alpha Male instead of summaries.

It’s a novella, a quick read, so much of it is summarized, again, not my most favorite literary device. I like to read snappy, bantery conversations. While there’s some of those here, not quite enough for my personal taste.