I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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Released: March 15 2022
Series: If Shakespeare was an Auntie #1
Published by Avon
Taming of the Shrew, but make it set in a modern South Asian community in New Jersey.
Kareena Mann wants to find her soul mate, but dating also feels like a lot of work with little reward. But her father is selling the house her mother built before she passed. So Kareena makes a deal: he’ll gift her the house if she becomes engaged by her sister’s engagement party. Which is in 4 months. But then she goes viral having an argument with Dr. Prem Verma, host of The Dr. Dil Show and sworn believer that love is fake and/or damaging. But Prem wants to build a community health center, and the argument makes backers pull out. Kareena’s aunties have the perfect solution: Kareena and Prem should just get engaged. Although it all started as heat through conflict and maybe a way to get the money they need, the more time they spend together the more they realize that this might be the relationship to last a lifetime.
First off, having this book inspired by Taming of the Shrew put it kind of in a bad place right from the start. Kareena is extremely brash and honestly not very likeable. I totally relate to her frustrations and family troubles, but it also feels like she’s pretty selfish and immature. Prem also starts out in a bad light since he’s also impulsive and self-centered. However, as the book progresses, they both seem to mellow out and actually be real, relatable people. The first few chapters kind of felt like the book version of The Real Housewives, and not really in a fun way, so I’m glad that the tone changed enough for me to start rooting for them to fall in love.
Like with many stories with large, close-knit families, the best part of this book was the secondary characters. The aunties were truly overwhelming in their meddling, although it’s very clear they love Kareena, and the friends were fun and supportive, but also wouldn’t let Kareena and Prem get away with things. I’m absolutely looking forward to the other books in this series because I think they’re going to follow the friends. We also get a peek into what it’s like to be part of the South Asian community in the United States. I can’t speak to the authenticity of the story, but I suspect Nisha Sharma is writing from her own experiences and it feels very real. I think many readers can relate to the challenges of balancing parental/community responsibilities with their own desires even if they aren’t South Asian. Plus it was great to get snippets of life, although I also now really want some paranthas.
This book also got pretty steamy, which I wasn’t really expecting. It was a fun part of the story and it was interesting to see Kareena and Prem be so compatible in their sex life while also denying any real feelings for each other. A major annoyance for me that I have to share though: Prem named his penis Charlie and would talk about it as its own person. That definitely took me right out of the story.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book if you enjoy enemies to lovers and/or Shakespeare retellings. It’s a fun, quick read and you get to be immersed in South Asian culture. Just know going in that the first few chapters aren’t that fun, but it really does get better!
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