Sonali Dev returns to the blog with a lovely story that uses the outline of the old classic to reveal a well-to-do Indian-American family and the interplay between them in
Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors
Little known secret about me: I’m not an Austen fan (or Hardy or F. Scott for that matter). I get why others like them, and I see the brilliance of Austen’s character studies and interactions, but hers are not titles that I reach for when I want something ‘familiar’ to read. The plethora of reimagined tales that use the tropes from Austen, particularly Pride and Prejudice, often leave me flat. It’s not that I can’t enjoy them – but more often than not I choose not to read them. Dragging me from that habit is Sonali Dev: I’ve always enjoyed her writing and the view she provides on histories and traditions of families and people from India, along with their assimilation struggles and the choices made. So I had to read this story that brought a new twist, both culturally and gender role wise, to the tale. And I am very happy to have had the opportunity.
The Raje family is seriously monied and more than a bit insular and suspicious of outsiders. Some of this, I have to believe, is a result of assimilating into the very different American city of San Francisco, and partly because in India, the cultural norms fit their status. First we have Trisha, the daughter and ‘black sheep’ of her very large family and our Darcy. Intelligent, talented and utterly socially awkward, she is the ‘less esteemed’ of the children as a childish indiscretion brought ‘complications’ to the family door. Her brother Yash, the favorite son is a political rising star, if the secrets and scandal Trisha brought to their door can remain hidden. Her father brings a level of ‘snob’ to the table as a descendant of Indian royalty and a successful physician, who also happens to be a higher-up in the hospital where Trisha works, while her mother is formerly a Bollywood performer and still revered for her beauty and talent in India. Of the many other siblings that Dev develops with a unique sense of being is her sister Nisha who has several wonderful moments. We still have yet to meet our Elizabeth though, and her character arrives in the form of DJ Caine, raised in London with an Indian father and Rwandan mother, his experience in America is a vastly different one to the Raje’s. An up and coming chef and brother of one of Trisha’s patients, DJ is struggling to make a name for himself as a chef as he deals with the untold struggles he faces as well as his worries for his sister Emma’s health and how to provide her with the best possible.
There’s the outline of who is who – and just who will be the main players upon the stage. But this is so much more: Trisha’s snobbery and her marked social awkwardness with everyone, including her own family. DJ and his life that has featured many struggles and actual racism, and his sensitivity to any sort of ‘put down’ that just reopens old wounds that are covered, but not healed. His skill and talent in the kitchen and his inability to overlook prejudice and slights to himself and others, along with his determination to succeed and shine in a career that always depends on the last impression made becomes the cornerstone on which the story revolves. He is hired to cater an event for the Rajes – as they endeavor to see Yash move up the political ladder – an event that will be attended by the best and brightest in the city, paid for by the Rajes. They see him as ‘the help’ as Trisha so casually mentions, and in that position as an outsider and very different to them – he is also simply one who is meant to serve their every whim. It’s curious to see how he gentles Trisha into an awakening of the world around her and the struggles of many – a child of privilege, she is frequently tone-deaf to the trials that others face, even as she is often subjected to a particular brand of ‘never being enough’ by her high-flying parents, most particularly her father. It’s not that the children aren’t loved, but in this family favorites are clear and male, with daughters being appreciated while still never without ‘correction. Dev’s writing brings insight into family dynamics that show differences and similarities to us all, and adds a quietly developing growth into awareness for Trisha that is provided by a growing attraction for DJ. With so many wonderful moments as well as difficulties that encompassed harassment, Black Lives Matter, prejudice, assumptions and unwavering loyalty, the story is full of intrigue, information and entertainment.
Title: Pride Prejudice and Other Flavors
Author: Sonali Dev
Series: The Rajes #1
Genre: Assimilation, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Family Saga, Interracial, Multi-Cultural, Reimagined Classic, Romantic Elements, Woman's Fiction
Published on: 7 May, 2019
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 13 Hours: 30 minutes
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Award-winning author Sonali Dev launches a new series about the Rajes, an immigrant Indian family descended from royalty, who have built their lives in San Francisco...
It is a truth universally acknowledged that only in an overachieving Indian American family can a genius daughter be considered a black sheep.
Dr. Trisha Raje is San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon. But that’s not enough for the Rajes, her influential immigrant family who’s achieved power by making its own non-negotiable rules:
· Never trust an outsider
· Never do anything to jeopardize your brother’s political aspirations
· And never, ever, defy your family
Trisha is guilty of breaking all three rules. But now she has a chance to redeem herself. So long as she doesn’t repeat old mistakes.
Up-and-coming chef DJ Caine has known people like Trisha before, people who judge him by his rough beginnings and place pedigree above character. He needs the lucrative job the Rajes offer, but he values his pride too much to indulge Trisha’s arrogance. And then he discovers that she’s the only surgeon who can save his sister’s life.
As the two clash, their assumptions crumble like the spun sugar on one of DJ’s stunning desserts. But before a future can be savored there’s a past to be reckoned with...
A family trying to build home in a new land.
A man who has never felt at home anywhere.
And a choice to be made between the two.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: