ROMANCE

Incense and Sensibility

William Morrow. (The Rajes, Bk. 3). Jul. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9780063051805. pap. $15.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
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Dev (Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors) pays homage to Austen and Sense and Sensibility, while also exploring weighty topics like gun violence, political division, health care, and trauma. India Dashwood is a yoga instructor and a premier stress management coach; Yash Raje is a progressive gubernatorial candidate for the state of California. After a shooting at one of Yash’s rallies injures him and puts his bodyguard in critical condition, he begins to have panic attacks that jeopardize his ability to appear in public—and thus the entire election. The Raje family’s connection to India Dashwood makes her the obvious person to help Yash through this ordeal; Yash and India’s shared past of thwarted romantic connection, and the impossibility of a future relationship between them, adds another layer.
VERDICT Dev’s latest is a deeply emotional story of responsibility and impossible love that will appeal to fans of Austen’s classic. It also provides an incisive look at a current political landscape of division and violence, while adding an ultimately hopeful spin. The book’s subjects are often serious, but its ultimate focus on being true to oneself and one’s principles makes this a satisfying and uplifting romance.
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