The Rules of Arrangement

Alcove. Jul. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781643856926. pap. $16.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Zoya is a smart, successful young woman whose career is heading in the right direction with a recent promotion. But she is also 26, unmarried, and plump, which has her aunties concerned about her future as a spinster. As her family ramps up to full matchmaking mode, Zoya struggles with her true desires and her family’s wishes. Zoya narrates her story, and the reader really gets to know her through her internal dialogues, some laugh-out-loud funny, some thoughtful—almost all dealing with this very real conflict. Secondary characters enhance Zoya’s story; particularly the older women in her family who reflect on their lost dreams. It’s not only the friction between tradition and her hopes for the future that Zoya grapples with; she also endures fat-shaming and misogyny.
VERDICT The bustling city of Mumbai comes alive through Bhatia’s sparkling narrative of a young woman finding her place in the world and in her family while maintaining her identity.
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