Title: The Love arrangement
Author: Ruby Basu
Publisher: HQ Digital
Publication Date: August 17th 2022
Genre: Rom Com
Comments: I received a free copy of the book for this blog tour in exchange for an honest review. My words are in no way coerced due to my childhood nemesis being hot. (He’s not. My childhood nemesis still looks like Frankenstein’s monster and probably only has half the brain power.)
Pre-order from Amazon – https://amzn.to/3NUuccO
Some deals are made to be broken…
Independent and free-spirited Annika has no plans to settle down anytime soon… if only her parents felt the same way. But when her father unexpectedly falls ill, she’ll do anything to make things better. Even if it means suddenly blurting out that she has a boyfriend.
The only issue is, he doesn’t exist.
Then, by chance, she bumps into handsome entrepreneur Rav, and she can’t believe her luck. He’s single, has sworn off relationships and looking for a date to attend work events with. He’s the perfect solution to her troubles. Or is he?
Because there’s just one slight catch – he also happens to be her childhood nemesis.
It was only ever supposed to be a simple, temporary arrangement. Nothing more. Certainly, love was never part of the terms and conditions. But Annika’s about to discover that some deals are made to be broken…
I admit I may have a small problem in that every time I’m reading a story about a hot Asian male my mind instantly puts Sendhil Ramamurthy front and centre. Now I know there are a plethora of attractive Asian male celebrities. From Siddharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan on the Bollywood scene to Steven Yeun, Manny Jacinto and Ravi Chakrabati; they are all gorgeous.
But in my head, a hot leading man equals Sendhil. I love him. Those big chocolatey eyes, that impish grin and cut glass jawline. It makes it incredibly difficult because no matter the story I want him to win. I mean, just look at him!
So as soon as I started to read A Love Arrangement, Annika’s dislike towards Rav was not only unjustified but downright illogical.
Annika spends her life jetting off to different countries in order to talk to companies about sustainable practices that mesh with local people’s customs and needs. She loves her job but has had several long-distance relationships that just ended in disaster so doesn’t think romance is on the cards for her.
That makes it especially grating when her brother and sister have settled down with their spouses near their parents. After her father’s sudden illness her singleness is brought under scrutiny and she blurts out that she has a boyfriend. Her parents are delighted. But it’s a big old lie. But one that Annika is determined to see through because it actually seems to be helping her father’s peace of mind to know she is happy and in a relationship.
Growing up Annika and all of her childhood associates had been held up to Rav’s example, making him the Hermione Granger of their circle- and he was just as popular.
For reasons of his own, he is happy to enter into a fake relationship with her. But the Rav she thought she knew isn’t who he ends up being and before long their fake relationship is feeling all too real.
One of the problems in fake-dating stories is trying to manufacture a reasonable reason why you have to fake-date. These days it is just as acceptable to say you are Aromantic or Asexual, internet dating, a Furry or any other weird reason to explain the lack of a partner.
In The Love Arrangement, the reason being family expectations and a sick father is just as good as any other, although it was stretched slightly with Rav’s needing to appear in a relationship for ‘business’ reasons. It made far more sense for it to be based on Indian culture with the cultural expectations of a woman’s role after marriage and how much pressure it seems that parents put on their children to wed.
As a white woman, I have very little experience and knowledge of these things other than Bend it like Beckham, It’s a wonderful Afterlife (starring Sendhil) and other such media. This book was full of many Indian-based practices that I had to look up. For example, the choreographed dances at weddings (which I always thought was a Hollywood thing but is totally a practice) and specific greetings when entering a house. It was a wonderful slice of education that I really enjoyed getting into.
The only thing that really brought the book down for me was Annika herself. She reiterated that she was fine without a man and children so often I honestly thought about doing a drinking game. It went past the “Lady doth protest too much” right to “Ok, we get it. shut up.” I found myself rolling my eyes every time the narrator thought about how hard it was to do long-distance relationships and how their burgeoning relationship was doomed to failure.
With that defeatist attitude, I did wonder how she could be so positive when talking to big companies about being responsible and sustainable for the planet.
Anyway, other than that, the book was really sweet. The plot, while obvious, was well written and the characters charming. I would have liked to hear more about why the Bramford’s had all of those events, especially the games night and what made them choose Rav’s company in the end.
I also wonder about Tinu and Greg, I hope they get a book of their own as I would love to read the playboy beaten at his own game.
The romance was sweet and didn’t seem far-fetched or too instant. Their coming together was nicely written and totally believable. Lovely book would definitely add it to any rom-com book list.
Ruby lives in the beautiful Chilterns with her husband, two children, and the cutest dog in the world. She worked for many years as a lawyer and policy lead in the Civil Service.
As the second of four children, Ruby connected strongly with Little Women’s Jo March and was scribbling down stories from a young age. A huge fan of romantic movies, Star Wars, and Marvel, she loves creating new characters and worlds while waiting for her superpowers to develop.
Social Media Links
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Website – https://rubybasu.com/
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