The Village Bride of Beverly Hills
GP Putnam’s Sons, 1st printing, 2004
Genre: Chick lit
Book Report: Following an arranged marriage in India, Priya relocates to California, where her new husband’s family has made a life for themselves. They are an oasis of traditional values and practices in the hustle of LA, though Priya begins to suspect that her new sister-in-law may be rebelling. After a year with the Sohnis, Priya is astonished when her mother-in-law tells her that she must get a job since she hasn’t yet conceived. No woman in Priya’s family has ever worked before, but she dutifully obeys Mummy and goes job hunting. Laxmi is with Priya that day, for she walks into the Hollywood Insider offices just as the receptionist goes into labor. Priya’s responsible and hardworking air—as well as her lack of ambition to be an actress—makes her a natural for the position.
Soon Priya is working harder than ever, still doing all the cooking and housework at home for her husband in in-laws, and working at the Hollywood Insider. But she also must juggle her appearance and behavior, as her traditional costumes or the homely hand-me-downs approved by her in-laws look outlandish at work. Luckily, Shanisse, assistant to the movie coverage editor, soon takes Priya under her wing, helping her buy more work appropriate clothes and suggesting she change into them at the gym on her way to and from work.
To return the favor, Priya steps in for Shanisse in an important interview, and attracts the attention of several power players, including a Hollywood star, a powerful publicist, and the editor-in-chief and publisher of Hollywood Insider. When offered the chance of a lifetime as a special interviewer, Priya battles her conscience, but her ambition wins out, and soon she is interviewing stars and attending premieres. The influence she wields at work begins to make up for the lack of autonomy she has at home, but she also becomes more aware of the imbalances within her marriage. Her husband Sanjay is torn between his parents and his wife, and Priya always seems to come out the loser. Fed up with juggling tradition and ambition in hopes of achieving balance, Priya must choose whether to make peace or rebel.
This was an unusual find for me, because I actually found it browsing in the library. Like, in person. Most of the time, I read either books already in my own personal library, or I simply order books from the MCL, and Eli picks them up for me. (I love deliveries.) But we had to stop to pick up some books on hold while running errands one afternoon, so I went in and did a little browsing, coming out with a historical novel and some chick lit. Not bad. Read the rest of this entry »
The Morland Dynasty: The Emperor
originally published 1988
Warner Books, 2000
The Morland Dynasty: The Victory
originally published 1989
Warner Books, 2000
Genre: Historical fiction, romance, family saga
Book Report: 1795 – The shadow of Bonaparte has fallen across Europe and touches each member of the far-flung Morland family.
As the century draws to a close, Jemima Morland wearily acknowledges that her life is also nearing its end, but she has scant peace as her unpredictable children behave ever more incomprehensibly: James’ marriage to Mary Ann is close to falling apart; Lucy’s marriage de convenance to Chetwyn is in the balance—her affair with Lieutenant Weston an open scandal; Mary bears a daughter on board her husband’s ship during the battle of the Nile; and William supports a mistress whose marriage cannot be dissolved.
Jemima’s death appears to unite the family but, as ever with the Morlands, the future holds more peril than hope.
The jacket copy for these books is getting ever cheesier, in direct proportion to the ratio of history to romance included in the books, modified by the length of time each book covers. The first book, The Founding, spanned what? Sixty, eighty years? The Emperor spans eight. It’s a pity. Read the rest of this entry »