Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

(The Rajes #1)

by Sonali Dev

4.5 stars, actually.

This is my personal catnip: Bollywood style glamorous family dynamics, fusion food descriptions, and a storyline with loose allusions to Pride & Prejudice.

With all these layers, the story easily could have been overburdened, especially with the whole added layer that our heroine is a nuerosurgeon and trying to operate on a terminal brain tumor that happens to reside in the head of the hero’s artist sister.

Trish Raje is one of the “Animal Farm” the gaggle of siblings & cousins born into the family (royal back in India) of a prominent East Indian surgeon in California. Each sibling is successful in their own way. Trisha specializes in difficult robot-assisted head surgeries, only she’s been slightly ostracized from the family for the past 15 years because of a youthful indiscretion that resulted in her golden boy brother, Yash (currently running for California governor) to be compromised.

But she wants back in the fold to get support around a particularly troubling case of a young artist whose life she can only save via a surgery that will make her blind.

In true, Bollywood style, the main emotional relationships and focus of this story are the familial ones, slightly eclipsing the Pride & Prejudice tussling of Trish with the hot, new chef providing scrumptious fusion foods for her brother’s campaign events. Although the chef’s name is Darcy James, its Trish who fulfills the arrogant role of Darcy, with a female Wickham who tricks her, and the chef who must contend with racial and socio-economic based misunderstandings.

It’s only a loose allusion, the bollywood style family members and drama are far, far stronger an influence. And at times, Trish does come off as a bit insufferably clueless– a strange mix of needing family approval and arrogant. Not sure if the romance from the chef’s side actually comes off as believable.

And, in the grande old style of Bollywood, this is a fairly sweet romance. There’s some kissing at the end and lots of talk about the chef’s butt, but nothing a 15 year old would blush at. So half a star deleted for the slightly anemic romance bit. Still, I LOVE the Raje family and will definitely continue on to the next installment! Especially if there’s another curry recipe at the back as in this one! (where am I going to get cashew paste and fenugreek?)