Audiobooks are not my thing, but I do enjoy them sometimes. I understand their appeal — you can consume books while doing other things, be that household admin or playing games. Your eyes are not glued to ink on pages, although that concept isn’t entirely unpleasant. Depending on how my new store location feels about headphones while working, I may wind up consuming many more books as a personal shopper to fill my day.
I totally get it.
I’d never heard of Sonali Dev until today. The cover stuck out to me most of all, a handwritten font against an illustration of sequins in shades of blue and turquoise. Stories of arranged marriages interest me, not because of the fetishized taboo but because of curiosity. I’m interested in the concept of throwing two people together and hoping for the best, whether money is involved or just because that’s the tradition. I went to school with people who were to be engaged by people their parents chose, and it was a culture shock at first. I got used to hearing about it, but it really interested me because there is a lot of trust that happens. I have a morbid mind by default, so I think the worst quite frequently. When I say there’s a lot of trust involved, what I really mean is that they’re trusting their child in the hands of someone who could very well “unalive them”, as the children say these days.
The audiobook made the story come alive, the narrator speaking in different voices for each of the characters. I think the accented dialogue helped the story come together, and made the audiobook worth it.
Narrated by Soneela Nankani
Published by Amazon Original Stories on 11 January, 2022
Genre: Adult fiction, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Short story
# pages: 67
Ayesha Shetty lost her brother seven years ago, the same time she lost everything else important to her: her dreams, her fierce independence, and the man she loved. Not wanting to see her mother hurt anymore, she put her wild self away and became the dutiful daughter her mother needed and took on her brother’s role in the family business.
Now her best friend’s big, fat Indian wedding is a chance to get away from her endless duties at the restaurant and maybe even have some fun (if she remembers how). But a setup arranged by her mother, with a doctor no less, is the last thing she needs. The fact that he checks all her mother’s boxes just makes everything better…and worse.
Then Emmitt Hughes shows up. Her brother’s best friend. The love she once chose over family duties and her responsibilities. The one she asked to leave, and who did. The one who knows the real Ayesha.
- I love stories that thrust me into an unknown culture, making me feel like I’m there in the moment. Explaining things is nice, but you don’t always need it to comprehend what is happening. Amish fiction does this, which is why I love that so much.
- I laughed, I cried, I felt all the emotions that I would expect to feel with a romance novel within 63 pages. When it was over, all I wanted was more.
- The big finish was well played. I was essentially on the edge of my seat, unable to quit reading until I found out everything. Dev wrote the story well.
- On the other hand, I felt like the reveal was a bit odd, because it didn’t have anything leading up to it. It felt really out of place, but at the same time it’s the same thing that would happen in a romance movie. You don’t find out everything until it’s over. Things don’t entirely make sense until the movie is ending. This book was a bit like that.
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