on May 12, 2020
Genres: Love & Romance
Liya Thakkar is a successful biochemical engineer, takeout enthusiast, and happily single woman. The moment she realizes her parents' latest dinner party is a setup with the man they want her to marry, she's out the back door in a flash. Imagine her surprise when the same guy shows up at her office a week later -- the new lawyer hired to save her struggling company. What's not surprising: he's not too thrilled to see her either after that humiliating fiasco.
Jay Shah looks good on paper...and off. Especially if you like that whole gorgeous, charming lawyer-in-a-good-suit thing. He's also arrogant and infuriating. As their witty office banter turns into late night chats, Liya starts to think he might be the one man who truly accepts her. But falling for each other means exposing their painful pasts. Will Liya keep running, or will she finally give love a real chance?
I’m not a big fan of the hate-to-love trope in romance novels. You can see where this one is going just based on the synopsis. The families try to set them up, they don’t want that, and then they end up liking each other after fighting for a while at work. You almost don’t even need to read the book.
But this book is a lot deeper than it would appear to be. Liya has been rebellous since she was a teenager and has been shunned by members of her religiously conservative community. Her estrangement from her family just gives the aunties more to gossip about. No one knows or care to find out what trauma is behind her actions.
Jay works hard to be the perfect son. However, his devotion to his family is also born out of trauma. Each of these characters are responding to severe circumstances in their lives in the ways that make sense to them.
These characters move slowly towards each other as they figure out what they have in common. Each of them need to learn less self-destructive ways of thinking about the world in order to let people get close to them. I like that they evolved from antagonistic strangers to reluctant allies to friends to lovers instead of straight from hate to love. I always find that pretty unrealistic.
The supportive characters are very well done. There are characters who could have very easily fallen back into stereotypes but each of them grow and surprise the reader through the course of the book.
I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.
TW for domestic abuse, sexual assault, traumatic death.