Contemporary, Fiction, Romance

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev

The Rajes #1

This summer I decided that I would read one summer pick from each of my coworkers at the bookstore that I formerly worked at. This one was one of Becky’s picks and I’m always down for a Jane Austen adaptation!

Synopsis

From the publisher marketing:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that only in an overachieving Indian American family can a genius daughter be considered a black sheep.

Dr. Trisha Raje is San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon. But that’s not enough for the Rajes, her influential immigrant family who’s achieved power by making its own non-negotiable rules:

– Never trust an outsider
– Never do anything to jeopardize your brother’s political aspirations
– And never, ever, defy your family

Trisha is guilty of breaking all three rules. But now she has a chance to redeem herself. So long as she doesn’t repeat old mistakes.

Up-and-coming chef DJ Caine has known people like Trisha before, people who judge him by his rough beginnings and place pedigree above character. He needs the lucrative job the Rajes offer, but he values his pride too much to indulge Trisha’s arrogance. And then he discovers that she’s the only surgeon who can save his sister’s life.

As the two clash, their assumptions crumble like the spun sugar on one of DJ’s stunning desserts. But before a future can be savored there’s a past to be reckoned with…

A family trying to build home in a new land.
A man who has never felt at home anywhere.
And a choice to be made between the two.

The syntax of prejudice—threaded into conversation with the perfect pauses and facial expressions—was like ciphers and spy codes. The meaning clear to those it was meant for. To everyone else, it was harmless scribbles. Easy enough to deny.

Review

Sonali Dev describes her books as written Bollywood movies. If you have never seen a Bollywood film, I highly suggest that you do before reading because things get a little intense. SO much happens in a Bollywood film that it can feel a bit absurd and overwhelming. Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors definitely feels overwhelming at times. But then I remind myself that this book is setting up the background information for each of the subsequent books in the series so here we have a romance series where I strongly suggest reading this book before any of the others.

All that being said, I definitely enjoyed Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, the first in the Rajes series (four books so far). I didn’t realize until later that our character inspirations are gender-swapped which is a fun change to the traditional story, and we have various appearances from each of the Raje siblings, each of whom is the subject of a subsequent book in the series. When it comes to describing the plot, though, gosh where do I begin? 

Each of the characters in Pride and Prejudice have a foil in this book, including a Wickham inspired character, a Georgie, and all the other side characters that we know and love. Each also comes with their own heavy amount of baggage as well and unpacking that takes up a great deal of pages in this tome of a book (it clocks in at just under 500 pages). We get the thorough history of the entire Raje family, including the recluses upstairs and various cousins, along with DJ and his sister Emma’s entire tragic backstory as well. Suffice to say, there is never a dull moment and I’m impressed by the resilience of this cast of characters.

Sonali hits each of the prime P&P plot points you’d expect with her own changes thrown in as well and it also stays true to Austen’s original in the sense that for being a romance, it is pretty chaste (probably why it’s technically classified as women’s fiction). While there is always a lot going on and the storylines and backstories can be hard to keep track of, I do like Sonali’s writing style and I look forward to reading the rest of the series!

Rating: 7 out of 10

Where to Buy
In the USA, I recommend purchasing through BookShop or your local independent, in the UK, and many other parts of the world, I recommend Blackwell’s, and if neither of those cover where you live, I recommend checking out your local booksellers! Independent bookstores are vital parts of every local community and I wholly endorse supporting your local stores versus Amazon.

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