Genre: Romance/Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: September 7th, 2021
Buy at:Penguin Random House (Pre-order) | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Amazon | Add to Goodreads
Summary and Story:
High school sweethearts Rita Chitniss and Milan Rao were the golden couple, until the day he broke her heart. Now, six years later, Rita has turned her passion for furniture restoration into a career and has an almost-perfect boyfriend, Neil. The last thing she needs is for Milan to re-enter her life, but that’s exactly what happens when her mother, an unfailing believer in second chances, sets them up. Milan is just as charming, cocky, and confident as he was back in school. Only this time, he actually needs her business expertise, not her heart, to flip a hard-to-sell house for his realty agency.
While Rita begrudgingly agrees to help, she’s not taking any risks. To prove she’s definitely over him, she signs herself and Neil up on MyShaadi.com, a Desi matchmaking site famous for its success stories. It is trustworthy enough to convince everyone that she and Neil are the new and improved couple. Instead, she’s shocked when MyShaadi’s perfect match for her isn’t Neil… it’s Milan. Ignoring the website and her mother is one thing, but ignoring Milan proves much more difficult, especially when she promises to help him renovate the beach house of her dreams. And as the two of them dive deeper into work—and their pasts—Rita begins to wonder if maybe her match wasn’t so wrong after all…
The Shaadi Set-Up is a witty and heartfelt rom-com debut for fans of Jasmine Guillory, Emily Henry, and Tessa Bailey.
I always have a light read as a go-to on particularly stressful days. But I am quite picky when it comes to romances. I absolutely hate the babe in the woods trope. Teaching the ropes comes a close second. I like ones that are more than just fluff. And what I do love are romances where the characters are career-oriented and the women give it back as good as they get.
The Shaadi Set-Up by Lillie Vale checks all the boxes. A slow-burn second chance rom-com with the right amount of angst. Set in a small town where everybody knows everybody. A well-meaning and supportive desi family, particularly the mother who is most excited about how the relationship is progressing. Add to that, house flipping. In a way, it reminded me of the quintessential Hallmark movie. But unlike them, the current boyfriend does not really deserve a royal boot. His mother on the other hand… definitely.
“Because when a bone breaks, it can be set, mended good as new. Hearts? Not so much.”
The Shaadi Set-Up by Lillie Vale #BookReview @LillieLabyrinth @PutnamBooks @lonelypagesBT #BohoPonderings Click To Tweet
The story is narrated in the first person from Rita’s point of view. Both the main characters are quite likable. There is quite a bit of angst involved, a generous amount of push and pull. And an equal amount of witty banter. Not to be missed, two adorable mutts (the bundle of energy and the diva) who are often more perceptive than humans. And of course, the food. The masala mac is unmissable. What is there not to like?
The secondary characters are not the typical black and white. The parents are actually supportive and somewhat realistic. So is Rita’s grandmother, Aji, who is often bristling but has her heart in the right place. A childhood friend who is always there to lend an ear but also knows when to give space.
Often one reads romances where career takes a backseat once the story begins to flow. On the contrary, the two main characters here actually work and talk about their careers and disappointments. That is, once they begin being civil with each other. Just not about what happened six years back. But then, the book would have ended in a 100 pages flat. There is also not the typical “let’s just pick up where we left off”. I enjoyed reading about the process of furniture restoration that was well woven into the book.
“I take care of me. I make my own decisions. And even if they’re the wrong ones, at least they’re mine.”
The pacing slackens a bit towards the latter half when the couple settles into a pseudo domesticity of sorts. And everything seemed to resolve a bit too easily towards the end.
That said, it is a delightful read nonetheless and I quite enjoyed reading the book. I am looking forward to reading more by the author. If you are looking for a cute and light read that leaves you with a smile on your face, I recommend you pick it up. The book releases on September 7th.The Shaadi Set-Up by Lillie Vale #BookReview @LillieLabyrinth @CindyAnnDSilva @nooranand @deygaorganics #BlogaberryDazzle #BohoPonderings Click To Tweet
About the Author
Lillie Vale is the young adult author of ALA’s 2020 Rainbow Books List selection Small Town Hearts and Beauty and the Besharam (forthcoming from Viking Children’s). She writes about girls fighting back, secret-keeping and between-places, the ways in which we’re haunted, food as a love language, and all the feels. Born in Mumbai, she grew up in Mississippi, Texas, and North Dakota, and now lives in an Indiana college town. Her debut adult romantic comedy, The Shaadi Set-Up, releases in 2021. Find her on Twitter @LillieLabyrinth and Instagram @labyrinthspine, or visit her website elillielabyrinth.com.
I would like to thank Lonely Pages Book Tours and the publisher for providing a copy of the book for the blog tour. All opinions are my own.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a very small percentage of the sale at no cost to you.