Sahana Mehra’s Tales of an Almost Indian Bride is a witty and comical tale about a young woman name Nadini Raichand who is settled in England with her conservative Indian family. Her family and social circle are eager to see her and any young member of their group married off, but Nandini isn’t interested. If Jane Austen were of South Asian descent and living in modern times, I have a feeling she would pen a book like this. Full of interesting characters, hilarious anecdotes, surprising twists and interesting cultural tidbits that makes this book a delightful anthropological study of an Indian girl living in modern times. This book was found on Book Club Reading List.
Nandini is a likeable heroine, she does a great job of telling you about her world, helping you to understand her roots, her upbringing in England and the chaos her Indian heritage exudes when it collides with Western culture. As Nandini laments, love is hard enough to attain, but add to it a family determined to marry you off and love becomes even more fleeting.
One of my favorite aspects of this book is that the author did a fantastic job walking you through all of the unique cultural facets. If you are someone who has limited exposure to other cultures and languages, this book will hold your hand and walk you through a unique experience.
However, with that said, the book tends to lose focus at various points and just when you think you have an understanding of the plot, the author wraps up one storyline and opens up another. As a reader, I kept losing interest. This book had remained on my bedside for a quite a while until I was willing to pick it up again. I’m sure if the plotline had been a bit more focused, I could have finished this book easily in one or two sittings.
Another reason why this book was hard to finish was that although readers will have a decent understanding of who the narrator of the book is, her thoughts and feelings come across as superficial for the sake of sound humorous. Furthermore, as the story progresses and Nandini comes across more constraints from her culture, she only begins to question and oppose these traditions as the book begins to conclude—Nandini’s defining moment comes too late and passes in the blink of an eye.
I became a huge fan of Sahana Mehra’s after I read her last book, Seven Cities Far from Sober, and was excited to start a new fictional adventure. This book certainly had her trademark wit and ability to conjure up interesting minor characters, but it lacked a proper plotline and evaded any structural focus. This book does have a second part, so perhaps the story will make sense if I read the second book, but right now the book is unable to stand on its own.
★ ★ ★
Tales of an Almost Indian Bride by Sahana Mehra
Amazon Digital Services LLC. 326 Pages.
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