Jul 192019
 

The Essence of Jane Austen Infused With Bold Indian-American Zest

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisher

TYPE OF NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Modern Adaptation

SETTING: San Fransisco, Present Day

SYNOPSIS:

  • Dr. Trisha Raje: A brilliant neurosurgeon who developed life-saving technology to help operate on brain tumors comes from a titled Indian family living in California. She is horrible at relationships, feels banned from her family, and has a strong mistrust of others due to appalling events that happened a few years back.
  • DJ Caine: A talented chef who abandoned his life and career in Paris to take care of his sister who has a brain tumor. He is trying to stay above the expensive doctor bills by catering fancy events for the elite such as Trisha’s family.

Due to their professions Trisha and DJ are constantly being thrown together. And after a few contentious encounters and misguided prejudgments, their opinions of each other could not be lower. With such critical outcomes at stake, how will Trisha’s and DJ’s animosity effect the delicate and important work they are involved in? Can these two ever learn to understand each other, or has their unpleasant encounters together “built so immovable a dislike?”

WHAT I LOVED:

  • Inspired by Pride and Prejudice: I love that this story only utilized a set of specific parallels to Jane Austen’s original tale. DJ isn’t one of 5 brothers, there is no Mr. Collins/Caroline Bingley/Lady C characters. However, there is a spectacularly horrible first impression, frequent heated debates, a heartwarming devotion to siblings, and the challenges of family, society, and personal development. Other similarities are more shades of Jane Austen, but that makes them even more diverting to spot!
  • A Brilliant Gender-Swap: Yes! This has to be one of the best and most successful gender-swaps I’ve ever witnessed! I thoroughly appreciated the nuanced way Sonali Dev transformed Jane Austen’s characters into her own. They weren’t reincarnated modern replicas, these characters instead captured key similarities while also exhibiting their own persona. I really enjoyed how these characters were still likable through their flaws. Readers can understand Trisha’s extreme arrogance and sympathize with her reserved/skeptical demeanor, yet at the same time comprehend DJ’s defensive attitude and forgive his errors in judgment.
  • Compelling Conflicts: Aside from DJ and Trisha, there are other characters in this story with gripping storylines. I was desperate to know what happened in Yash’s (Trisha’s brother who is running for governor) past that ruined Trisha’s relationship with her family. And I was completely consumed by what would happen to Nisha (Trisha’s sister who is hiding a critical secret from the rest of the family) and Emma Caine (DJ’s artist sister with an operable brain tumor). Not to mention Julia Wickahm – who I knew would commit some heinous act to destroy others. I loved that these conflicts weren’t all the same as the ones we experience in Pride and Prejudice, it added some new intensity and suspense.
  • The Raje Family: There are so many members of this illustrious, royal family. I loved learning more about their history and witnessing each family members’ distinct personality. There is definitely some heart-wrenching pasts for some characters, and I appreciated the depth these experiences gave to these characters. Also, it was a lovely switch to see the “Darcy” character come from a big, dynamic family, when it is usually the opposite.
  • Other Details: The depiction of immigrant families, Indian culture, funny family nicknames, and inside jokes – I loved all these details that provided such vibrancy and color to this tale. In addition, I absolutely adored every single bit of food described and every decadent and inspiring creation conceived by DJ Caine! What scrumptiously vivid and sensory descriptions. Cooking is indeed an art form.
  • It’s A Series!?!: I’m so elated! I could not contain my happiness when I read that this book is the first in a series and that Sonali Dev is planning to write more! I cannot wait to learn who takes center stage in the next story and if it will be inspired by another Jane Austen novel!!

WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:

  • That the second book in this series isn’t out yet. I need it yesterday! 😉

WARNING: Due to the use of strong language and reference to a sexual encounter (nothing explicit), I’d recommend this book for readers over the age of 14.

CONCLUSION:

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors is an inventive, remarkable, and perceptive homage to Jane Austen’s characters that I thoroughly admired. This savory and vibrant tale is appetizing enough to tempt readers who enjoy contemporary stories, dynamic family sagas, and compelling fiction. I heartily recommend!

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  17 Responses to “Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors – Sonali Dev”

  1.  

    Yes!!! And being inside both their heads was….wildly moving.. Especially hers during a particularly difficult moment for her….and we know why she is where she is….I hope I made that confusing enough that it isn’t a spoiler!!

    •  

      I agree, Kirk! I do believe that was cryptic enough to not give anything away… 😉 And that scenes was all the more heart-wrenching for that reason!

  2.  

    Smashing review, Meredith! I loved it. This sounds compelling. I’m adding it to the wish list right away. ‘Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors’ sounds like it would make a great movie. But if it were set in London, I think the Brits could pull it off beautifully. Being set in America though, I’m thinking only an independent film maker could do it right. Not Hollywood. I don’t think they do justice to the immigrant situation.

    •  

      Thank you, Michelle! I was so thrilled with this story…ended up loving it so much more than I expected! I think it would make a fabulous movie…what a brilliant idea!

  3.  

    sounds fantastic

    denise

  4.  

    I had seen this publication, but hesitated because it’s a modern adaptation (no logical reason behind this, just preference). I’m so glad I read your review! It’s been added to my list!

    •  

      Totally understand, Brigid. They aren’t everyones’ cup of tea. This one is a little unique in that it doesn’t follow strictly the outline or characters of P&P…you could almost make the argument that if you change the characters names and such it could be marketed as a non-Jane Austen novel. But I really enjoyed the subtleness of the Jane Austen parallels…I never love it when they are too obvious or forced.

  5.  

    This sounds great. I hadn’t heard of this book, so thanks for sharing.

  6.  

    This is on my TBR pile. Thank you for such a comprehensive review Meredith, you’ve really shown us what the book is like without giving too much away. Definitely one to read soon. SO glad it’s going to be a series! That doesn’t seem to happen that often in JAFF so that’s a real bonus.

  7.  

    I’m planning to read this in August. You’ve made me even more eager!

  8.  

    What a great review! I have this on my TBR list and it’s just been bumped up.

  9.  

    I just finished this book an absolutely loved it! So glad you did, too! As always, I really enjoy reading your take on books!

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