#Bookreview – Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal

What Amazon says

‘Chickpea Curry’ Lit — Chick Lit with an Indian twist!

It all started ended with that box…

Aashi’s life was all set.

Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…

My review

Marriage Unarranged is a delightful and feel good romance with the additional interest factor that the main characters are all people whose parents or grandparents originated from India and are of the Sekh faith, but who have grown up in Britain. The young people who feature in this story come from Birmingham in the UK and are the products of an interesting mixture of the modern British influences around them in the schools and work places and the traditional influences of their families and communities. I have often wondered about this dynamic and thought it might be confusing and difficult for the younger generation but that was not the case in this story. The youngsters were able to retain the best features of their families and faith, including respect of the elderly, and successfully combine this, on the whole, with their English surroundings. The author did introduce a young woman who had not been able to do this successfully in the form of the temptress, Nishi, and also a young man, Ravi, who fell by the wayside in the face of modern sexual behaviors.

Aashi is a sweet and innocent girl who is engaged to be married to Ravi. She does not know him that well as the Sekh customs is for a girl to get engaged before the couple can really spend much time together. The Sekh attitudes towards romance and courtship are old fashioned, but quite protective of the reputation of the woman. Unfortunately, the culture does not necessarily lend itself to an engagement that goes wrong and is broken off. When Aashi discovers that Ravi has been having an affair with Nishi, she is devastated and torn between the not wanting to face the personal humiliation of a broken engagement and the embarrassment to her parents and family and her own hurt and disillusionment caused by Ravi’s behavior.

A trip to India has been booked for Aashi and her mother, ahead of the wedding, to purchase the many traditional items and clothing required for the marriage service. Aashi decides that a change of scenery and a trip to India is just what she needs and persuades her parents to let her go ahead with the trip, accompanied by her two brother and her best friend.

During the plane trip, Aashi ends up sitting next to a young Indian man, Arjun, who is making his first trip to India. Arjun fits in very well with Aashi’s two brothers and when they arrive in India, they invite Arjun to seek a room at their hotel and join up with their party. Arjun does this and Aashi starts on her path of getting to know this good looking and interesting man a bit better. She senses that there is more to Arjun than meets the eye but can’t put her finger on exactly what it is he is hiding.

This book is a dual romance and this aspect is very sweet and enjoyable. The descriptions and depictions of life in India, differentiating clearly between life for the poor and life for the wealthy, is interesting and entertaining. I also learned a lot about the Sekh faith which I found fascinating.

This is a lovely and feel good and I recommend it to people who enjoy a good romance with a happy ending and also people who are interested in learning more about India, Punjabi and the Sekh faith.

Purchase Marriage Unarranged

https://www.amazon.com/Ritu-Bhathal/e/B01H5F3KE0

Marriage Unarranged Kindle Edition

105 thoughts on “#Bookreview – Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal

  1. Hi Robbie, I really enjoy learning about other cultures. I am immediately pulled in with “…the empty condom box…”. Oh, no. Also, “…culture does not necessarily lend itself to an engagement that goes wrong and is broken off” speaks volumes.

    I have added “Marriage Unarranged” to my reading list. Thank you for a great review! Erica

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great review, Robbie. I thought one of the most interesting ranges of Ritu’s book was how the young people are in a bit of a dilemma wanting to experience more modern ideas while having to respect traditional ones. I also found it revealing that one of Aashi’s mother’s biggest concerns was, “What will other people think?” That sentiment is prevalent in most cultures.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Pete. The mum thing… Definitely there in a lot of cultures.
      And as a young person of one historical and cultural background, there is always the pull of fitting in, against nit forgetting your roots.
      I’m glad you appreciated that. 🥰

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Yes, that is true, Pete, and it puts women in a very difficult position where they can be forced into a marriage that is disastrous from the start. The father in this book is wonderful and very enlightened and understanding. I am sure Ritu modeled him around her own Pops.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. The father was a delightful character. I liked that his love for his daughter and protective nature trumped everything else.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Now we got you, Sis! 😉 The character in the novel is getting closer and closer to you. Lol
        Don’t worry. I just heard on the radio that our teachers should train themselves on the computer during the holidays. O-Tone: “There are more important things than summer holidays!” Lol

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ritu’s book sounds wonderful, Robbie – and what a superb review. I defnitely need a feel-good story at the moment with a little romance, so it sounds perfect. It sounds as if Ritu’s character was able to walk away when she became suspicious of her fiance – so she is a very wise woman. Thank you for sharing this. Toni x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for reading, Mriram.
      Areangrd marriages still happen in our community, but they are different to our parents generations. For the most part, there is more choice and it is about introductions, now. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. My pleasure, TAndy. I have come across very few Sekh’s in South Africa so this isn’t a faith that I knew much about. It seems to share a number of similarities with Hinduism. I have a number of Hindu friends and colleagues.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that a lot of modern marriages fail because the participants are spoiled and undisciplined in their behaviour. This book highlights the discipline expected from young people by their elders in the Sehk culture. As the younger generations move more away from their roots, I’ll take a bet that their divorce rates will increase too.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, LIz. That is probably because I think about the intercultural aspects a lot. I often wonder about how it is for people trying to assimilate into a new culture and balance their family requirements with the need/desire to fit in. This is particularly relevant for youngsters. I would be quite interested in how Ritu would handle a sequel and how Aashi would deal with the cultural intervention her father has given her by allowing her to “date” Arjun. I would be very interested if she explored that aspect [hint, hint – giggle]

      Liked by 1 person

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