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
This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla and powered by Deyga.
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.
September 8, 2021 @ 10:20 am
This seems like an interesting read where as one is ready to give a second chance to thier Ex.
September 12, 2021 @ 1:10 pm
I love reading romance and this seems like the perfect book to read with a cup of coffee in this rainy weather. I have Kindle so will go for the Kindle edition as the paperback is a bit costly. Loved your review!
September 8, 2021 @ 12:40 pm
Wow looks like a fun read… will check it out…
September 9, 2021 @ 8:15 pm
I got this NetGalley widget and I can’t wait to start it.
September 11, 2021 @ 4:56 pm
I love such romantic comedies. Bollywood-style characters and two boys n a girl story must be an exciting read:)
September 11, 2021 @ 6:28 pm
This sounds like a very refreshing and light-hearted read. I too appreciate the fact that the protagonist has a career and concentrates on it, along with other things. Thank you for yet another brilliant review, Ritu.
September 11, 2021 @ 10:12 pm
The book seems to be an interesting read and after your nice review I would like to read the book.
September 12, 2021 @ 12:00 am
This book looks like an interesting read. Will surely give it a shot.
September 12, 2021 @ 12:03 am
Actually it relates to every girl (most of the time) who never forget the Ex.😉 and ever ready to get back him no matter whatever is there. Would really like to read.
Vasumathi_The Scarlett Dragonfly
September 12, 2021 @ 1:39 am
Like you I like romances for light reading. And my criteria for choosing these books also are very similar to yours. So Iam going to blindly go by your fabulous book review and add this to my reading list!
September 12, 2021 @ 9:42 am
Looks quite interesting on the face of it. I wonder if Neil was just a rebound. Would be interesting to find if there are any chapters from Neil’s PoV.
September 12, 2021 @ 12:40 pm
Why would Rita go back to Milan if he broke her heart once? Especially when she clearly has self-esteem and wants a career more than a Prince Charming.
That’s what I thought when I read this review. Now I have to read the book to find out.
And furniture restoration is a unique thing to read about in a romance novel!
September 12, 2021 @ 2:54 pm
Seems like an extremely interesting book! Loved the storyline and the twist with MyShaadi…eager to know what happens next! I will surely pick up the book. Thank you for this detailed and honest review.
September 12, 2021 @ 5:55 pm
I like the concept of the story. Usually romances are just about the couple. Being an interior designer, I am sure going to love the part about furniture restoration.
September 12, 2021 @ 6:54 pm
Woow loved reading this review. I am a die heart from com fan and a hopeless romantic too. I would surely give it a read and what’s more will check it now.
September 12, 2021 @ 7:19 pm
Seems a fun-read. will have a look.
September 12, 2021 @ 8:22 pm
This book seems like an interesting and light read. Loved reading your review and about the author. Will try to read this one.
September 12, 2021 @ 8:57 pm
This is interesting story. Wish I could get to read more. Thanks for sharing the review.
September 12, 2021 @ 10:42 pm
Lovely review as always, Ritu.Sounds like a good read. I do like romance but not right now. I will surely get it when I am in the right mental state.
September 13, 2021 @ 2:37 am
Nice Review, Looks like a interesting read, I would like to read this book to see the experience of second chance at first love. Adding to my wishlist.
September 13, 2021 @ 10:31 pm
Loved reading your review for this book. It seems that I will also enjoy reading it. I will surely read it.
Noor Anand Chawla
September 19, 2021 @ 9:38 pm
I was first struck by the high price tag of the book but then I realised it’s not a desi book! Hahaha, sounds like an interesting read!