Sunday, October 19, 2014

Review: "Priya in Heels" by Ayesha Patel

A new adult title from Entangled’s Embrace imprint… Love doesn’t conquer all…does it? Priyanka Patel is the epitome of an obedient daughter. She’s finishing up her medical residency at one of Houston’s busiest emergency departments, and has agreed—albeit reluctantly—to marry the man her family has chosen for her. The only thing that can derail the “perfect” life laid out before her is the sexy musician down the hall who wants into her life…and into her bed. Tyler O’Connor has been infatuated with Priya since she treated his sprained ankle in the ER, and after saving her from a brutal attack, he can't get her out of his head. When Priya puts her family's wishes before their relationship, agreeing to an arranged marriage with another man, Tyler is devastated. But love is fierce and unreasonable and clashes with the carefully sculpted life her parents want for her. Is going after her heart such a big deal, or will it truly unravel Priya’s world?

My thanks to Netgalley and Entangled Publishing for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book.

I originally requested this title because the synopsis reminded me of the situation of one of my best friends when we were just finishing university.  And in fact, as I was reading "Priya in Heels", I was brought back in time to where I couldn't understand why my friend would feel obligated to meet men that her parents felt were a possible match for her.  It just seemed so strange to me, that in this day and age, and in this country, people were still arranging marriages for their children.  My friend tried to explain the reasoning of this to me, but in all my ignorance, I still couldn't fathom it.  

Anyway, because of this relationship with my friend, I felt some sort of personal investment in this book.  It started off strongly.  Priya and Tyler meet when Priya treats him in the ER for a sprained ankle.  Immediately there is an obvious attraction between the two, and through the course of the first third of the story, they have several coincidental meetings, and some that are orchestrated by Priya's roommate and best friend.  

I found Priya rather hard to warm up to.  She was quite judgmental, to the point where I didn't even know why she was friends with the girls she was friends with from the way she described them.  One dressed promiscuously and had relationships with non-Indian men, so Priya looked down on her.  The other friend was very traditional and inexperienced in matters of the heart, so Priya seemed to look down on her as well.  When Priya first met Tyler, she thought he was a musician, so she looked down on him for that, and didn't even believe him at first when he said he worked for NASA.  Like, she's the only dedicated career person around!  Her attitude really irked me!

Priya has a very close relationship with her parents, and one of the overriding themes of the book is how much she wants to please them.  After meeting a couple of men her parents introduced her to and turning them down, Priya is finally introduced to Manuk, a dentist who seems to fit the bill in every possible way. Priya finds that she cannot turn down Manuk without severely disappointing her parents, but at the same time she cannot deny her growing feelings for Tyler.  What's a girl to do?  It was here that I first became dismayed with the direction of the plot.  Something happened that would be considered a spoiler, so I won't state what it is, but I will say that although I could empathize with Priya's situation, I really had a hard time respecting Priya's mother after it happened. 

Tyler seemed pretty great at first, if a little pushy.  I liked how the relationship between him and Priya started with friendship and developed slowly.  But then, something happened that really turned me off, and no matter how hard I tried, any love I had for Tyler was lost.  Another spoiler that I won't reveal here, but for me, it was a deal breaker, and completely unacceptable.  If it had happened earlier in the book, I would have DNFed right then and there.  As it was, I felt obligated to finish seeing I'd already put in so much time.

So, that brings me to rating time, which is really difficult in this situation.  On the one hand, I enjoyed the fact that this book was different than the typical New Adult fare, what with the interracial romance and cultural obstacles the characters needed to overcome.  The writing was well done, and I liked getting a look into Indian culture.  These aspects would easily put this book at a four star rating from me.  However, the things I didn't like didn't just irritate me, they pissed me off!  Those things really hurt this book, in my opinion.  After careful consideration, I'm awarding "Priya in Heels" 3 stars overall.

My rating:

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