The Shaadi Set-Up

Putnam. Sept. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9780593328712. pap. $16. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
High school sweethearts are thrown back together as adults by their matchmaking mothers in this sweet second-chance romance (Vale’s first novel for adults, after her YA romance Small Town Hearts). Interior designer Rita Chitniss has never understood why her high school boyfriend Milan Rao broke up with her by voicemail six years ago, while she waited for the plane that was supposed to take them on a romantic trip to Europe. Now Rita’s mother has volunteered her to help real estate broker Milan sell a stagnant listing. Rita hopes she can dodge this latest matchmaking attempt by proving that she’s already dating her perfect match, in boyfriend Neil. All she needs is to be paired with Neil on the Desi matchmaking site to show that they’re meant to be. But MyShaadi matches Rita with Milan instead, forcing her to reevaluate her past with Milan, her present relationship with Neil, and her mother’s motivations.
VERDICT Vale’s bittersweet, slow-burn story of lost love and difficult choices is lightened by plenty of humor and charming characters. It will please fans of Jasmine Guillory, Sonali Dev, or Tessa Bailey’s “Hot & Hammered” series of renovation-themed romances.
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