CW: talk of past alcoholism, suicide and rape; ptsd and panic attacks
I have a thing for desi Jane Austen retellings, so as soon as I saw the announcement for this book, I knew I was going to read it. Second chance romance on the other hand is not my favorite trope, but because I knew how Persuasion turns, I thought I would love this one too. It didn’t end up working that way though.
The bare bones of the story is quite close to the original, but I was actually excited for the reality cooking show plotline which turned out to be just ok. The author’s writing is pretty descriptive in places which also didn’t really work for me. I liked the characters of Ashna and Rico individually and there was chemistry between them when they meet again, but we only are ever told and I never got to see why they were so deeply in love with each other even after more than a decade. Ashna’s mother Shobi is the other POV we get and my feelings for her kept oscillating between like and hate. I really wanted to like and root for the characters, but their pasts are so full of tragedy that it just depressed me. To be honest, I only kept waiting for them to get their act together and finally be happy because I couldn’t bear how much they were wallowing in their misery.
On the whole, maybe I read this book at the wrong time or I just had wrong expectations, because despite being objectively well written, I didn’t enjoy it much. If you are in the mood for a contemporary romcom which will make you swoon or smile, this is definitely not it. It’s more tragic and sad for the most part, and I just wasn’t ready for it. But maybe it’ll work for for you if you go in with the right expectations.
PS: Thank you to William Morrow and Netgalley for providing me with this advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.