Ria Parkar is a Bollywood actress known for her icy demeanor. Nothing penetrates her outer shell. Neither the press nor her fellow actors have been able to get her to open up. There is a reason for that and that reason is being closed off is the only way Ria survives. She wasn’t always Ria Parkar and she wasn’t always a famous Bollywood actress. There was a time in her life where she spoke to no words for almost a year. Vikram Jathar was the only one to get through to her. But now due to circumstances she couldn’t control she no longer has Vikram in her life and the only way she can cope with that is to build a wall nobody can break down.
When her cousin calls her and begs her to attend his wedding her immediate reaction is to say no. She hasn’t been home for ten years and is not ready to face what is there. But when the press intrudes in her life in a way she can’t control she decides going home may be the only way to temporarily escape- even if that means seeing Vikram again. At one time Ria and Vikram were so in love but Ria was forced to betray Vikram and destroy that love. She knows seeing him again will hurt but she can’t let her cousin down and it might be time to face the past.
And they were back where they had started. A sick sort of irritation rose inside Ria. She was stuck in a preposterous tragic farce, spinning around and around in all that they couldn’t change, churning it like the legend where the gods and demons had churned up the ocean in search of the nectar of immortality, but poison had churned up instead and Lord Shiva had had to drink it before peace could prevail.
Unfortunately, Ria’s first meeting with Vikram finds him with another woman, in an intimate embrace. Though it almost breaks her she tries to find the happiness in his gaze and to see that maybe she didn’t destroy him, maybe he was able to move on from what she did. She has never been with anyone else but she never wanted that same fate for him. It isn’t long before they figure out the pull between them is still just as strong as it was when she left ten years ago but now the bitter taste of betrayal lay between them. Ria and Vikram fall back together but it isn’t long before secrets are made public and whatever fragile bond they had started again is destroyed by a past Ria can never outrun.
Last year I read The Bollywood Affair and loved it. It was Sonali Dev’s first book and flawlessly done. Immediately she established herself as an author to watch. The Bollywood Bride is her second book and while just as good, it is very different from the first offering. The Bollywood Affair was more of a meet/cute book with lovable characters. The Bollywood Bride is full of angst and emotion. Whereas Affair had you smiling, Bride will dig deep inside you and try to pull you apart. These books have two totally different tones yet they both are written so well.
The story is told from Ria’s perspective and we never hear from Vikram. I think Ms. Dev did a great job with showing us his emotions and what he had gone through in the time since Ria had left. Though apart for ten years, it is clear neither of them moved on. Theirs was a love that would last through many trials and heartaches. Vikram is a wonderful hero and stands by Ria just when she needs it. I can’t help but wonder what would have happened had Ria trusted him with her secrets from the start but them finding their way back to each other makes for such a sweet reunion.
Sonali Dev took the romance community by storm with her first one and followed up perfectly with this one. There is no doubt she can have a long, positive future in the romance world. I thoroughly enjoyed this second book of hers. There might have been moments where I was reaching for my tissue but that just made the experience all the better. Buy her books. You won’t regret it. Final grade- B+
“How romantic. Do you get far with these lines?” She scampered back, but everything inside her grew as molten as his eyes.
“You tell me. How far am I getting with you?”
He knew exactly how far he was getting. “Not far enough,” she said, staring at the door behind him. “All the way out of the room would be better.”
“Great, so we’re going to go on pretending then? Aren’t you tired?”
Tired? She had left tired behind a thousand miles ago. “I’m not pretending, Vikram. You need to stop this. You have no idea what you’re doing.”
“Then tell me. Tell me what’s got you so scared.”
“Don’t you understand? I have just four more days here. After that I have to leave.” Her voice was a whimper.
“I don’t care. I don’t care what happens after four days, about the future, about the past. I don’t care. I just want you, more badly than I’ve ever wanted anything.” And his eyes backed up his words, ever single one of them.