Book Review: The Marriage Game by Sara Desai ★★★★

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“Don’t bother unpacking the rest,” she said, tearing the lease in half. “I’m kicking you out now.”

She was almost as strong willed and stubborn as he was. But he had much better taste in furniture.

He snorted a laugh. “I’d like to see you try.”

“I’m sure you would,” she snapped. “It’s probably the only way you can get a woman near you with that giant ego in the way.”

“I’m hardly lacking for female companionship.”

Layla rolled her eyes in an overly dramatic fashion. “I’m not interested in hearing about your visits to the nail bar. I just want you gone.”

“It’s not going to happen, sweetheart. I have the document in digital form, and the law on my side.”

Number one, I love this cover. It’s gorgeous. (Although…the blank face cartoon trend is not my favorite. Poor Layla looks terrible there 😅). Number two, this was really freaking cute. Four stars, yes let’s give it up for well written rom-coms!!!

This is a new release and I believe it is the author’s debut novel. And you would never be able to tell! It was very well done. I did, however, notice quite a few grammatical errors, so Sara if you want a new editor ummm we should talk 👀. Other than that, everything was well written, well plotted, and well developed.

I LOVED the Indian representation here. The immersion into the Indian culture was detailed, nuanced, funny, and authentic. From what I know of Indian families and parents in real life, this was spot on. I also think this is own-voices, but I am not 100% sure.

The premise is great. A young Indian woman in her 20’s comes home to San Francisco after breaking up with her boyfriend in New York and losing her job in a less than dignified fashion. Layla’s very large and well-meaning, if slightly intrusive, family immediately decides she needs to find a nice Indian man to arrange a marriage with. She is tired of choosing the wrong men, so she considers it and agrees to go on blind dates with her matches from an Indian Desi-Tinder basically. Meanwhile, her new office was actually promised to this guy Sam who she immediately does not get along with. Hehehe we all know where that is going 😈.

The characters here were so great! I loved Layla’s family and how she never apologized for them and how they all leaned on each other and helped each other. They were so wholesome and warm. I loved her cousin Daisy the most and feel like a companion novel is coming her way next. I’d read it in a heartbeat! Any book with a snarky, goth Indian girl who wears Slayer shirts as the protagonist is a book for me. Sam’s sister Nisha was also very sweet and I enjoyed her subplot, as well (both the tragic one with Ranjeet and the much nicer one with John). It gave the book much more depth and feeling.

Sam and Layla were terrific. Their banter and chemistry was off the chain! I didn’t loveeee how Sam talked about her boobs sometimes and certainly disapproved of how he behaved in one of the climactic scenes 😬 but it was something I could get past in the end. He was ultimately a decent guy and funny character, even if he felt a little lackluster sometimes. Layla was always wonderful. She was hilarious and unapologetic and fierce and I really liked her a lot. The only thing that annoyed me slightly about her were all of the pop culture movie references. It was just a little much. There were times, as well, where you had to suspend your disbelief just a little bit to really enjoy the story (there is no way her dad chose all those awful men for her, and there was no way those men just sat there and watched her flirt with Sam the whole time they were on their dates), but hey it comes with the genre.

The actual romance between them was SO GOOD. It was sexy and steamy and slow burn and witty bantery and sweet. I loved it. The adult scenes were also very good. Very hot and not at all cringy! I really appreciated how open Layla was about sex and being in relationships for her own pleasure, even with the expectations and judgments that still come from within her culture. She was a badass and owned her own life, body, and sexuality. She was also really good at driving which is something I suck at, so I envied her there, as well 😂.

The ending of the book was pretty rushed, which almost made me consider rating it a 3.5 instead. It was weird, because the build up was so good and the whole book was very detailed and developed, but then the ending was neatly tied up really fast. It was just a bit of a letdown.

Overall, I really really liked this book! I definitely plan to buy it and add it to my collection for good. It’s so cute and lighthearted, while also boasting substance and finesse. It also made me crave Indian food like nobody’s business!!!

Do you think Max gets treats in the office?? If so, I want to be the next office pet!! Just keep Royce and his strippers away from me!

Thank you for reading!!

Title: The Marriage Game
Author: Sara Desai
Genre: Adult | Romance | Contemporary | Fiction | Women’s Fiction | Chick-Lit | Indian Culture
Publication Date: June 9th, 2020
Page Count: 304 pages
Buy It: Wordery Book Depository

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