The Bollywood Bride

9 CDs. 9:55 hrs. Blackstone. 2015. ISBN 9781504622998. $100. 1 MP3-CD. F
Ria Parker has avoided going home to Chicago for far too long, offering up convenient excuses about her demanding Bollywood career. With her beloved more-brother-than-cousin's impending wedding, Ria finally heads stateside from Mumbai to face the family. For ten years, she's managed to avoid first-and-only-love Vikram, thinking that she's saved him from a miserable future looming with insanity. But when she meets him and his new girlfriend—virtually in flagrante in the family basement—running away this time proves impossible. Dev (Bollywood Affair) continues her bicultural Bollywood streak, albeit this time adding more steam than substance. Attempts at inclusion of weightier fare—a Chinese American adoptee who grew up in foster care, mental illness, cultural appropriation, social justice—feel clumsy and misplaced. Thankfully, versatile Priya Ayyar with her mellifluously fluent accents switches seamlessly from sibling banter and adoring older servants to overwrought sex scenes and dancing aunties without missing a beat. Where better editing might have erased dozens of unnecessary pages as the gorgeous-but-flat characters play out their inevitably predictable plot, Ayyar manages to entertain listeners.
VERDICT Recommended for fans of the author. ["Both a sexy love story and an exploration of how a tormented young woman learns to overcome family turmoil and look forward to a future with the man she loves": LJ 10/1/15 review of the Kensington pb.]
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