In Dixit’s (Wrong Means Right End, 2012, etc.) romance, a young Indian woman must make her way personally and professionally in America.
Eila Sood isn’t sure what to expect when she arrives in New York from Delhi: after all, she’s never visited the country, and she hasn’t seen her sister Sheela in seven years. Sent as an envoy from her aging parents, she hopes to repair ties with her sibling, who was cast out from the family for wedding an American man. But despite marrying for love, Sheela’s relationship with her husband is rocky, and Eila finds her sister trying to re-create a slice of India in suburban New Jersey. But Eila has her own problems: just as she’s beginning to adjust to her new job in Manhattan, her hours get cut in half; she winds up doing the books for a strip club and then working as an assistant for Brett Wright, the owner of a local upscale restaurant. Brett is intense, maddening, often rude, but always sexy, and from the moment Eila gets off the plane at JFK, she keeps running into him where she least expects it. Although she initially wants nothing to do with him, she inevitably gets pulled into his world—and she may finally have to face the fact that she isn’t putting up much of a fight. But how can she be the second child to go against everything her parents believe? This fourth novel from Dixit treads familiar narrative ground from an uncommonly explored cultural perspective. The exploration of Eila and Sheela’s relationship, and Sheela’s conflicting feelings about her marriage, are the strongest parts of the novel. Eila and Brett’s relationship, however, may be enjoyed by romance fans, but will be less persuasive for general readers. Anyone who’s read Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey will be familiar with the story of a clumsy, insecure protagonist falling for a brooding, unattainable man, but the transition from Eila and Brett acting rudely to each other to realizing they’re in love is so quick that it feels jarring. He comes across as nothing more than a fantasy—and one that never comes down to earth.
A modest international romance, likely to please fans of the genre.