The Village Bride of Beverly Hills
Kavita Daswani
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Buy *The Village Bride of Beverly Hills* online

The Village Bride of Beverly Hills

Kavita Daswani
288 pages
June 2005
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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In typical Indian style, Priya Sohni, a naïve twenty-four year old girl, has an arranged marriage with handsome stranger Sanjay. From Delhi to L.A., Priya makes an abrupt transition as she begins life anew living in a joint family with her in-laws in America. Despite having never worked before, a trait quite common in Indian daughters, Priya is soon scouring the metropolis for a job at the insistence of her dominating mother-in-law. After several unsuccessful interviews, she finally lands a job as receptionist at a glamorous Hollywood magazine.

Her Indian dresses and lack of sophistication, combined with ingrained British diction and politeness, all make her an object of curiosity and derision at the workplace. Through sheer luck, she goes from receptionist to a highly sought-after reporter, hobnobbing with the who’s-who of Hollywood. Even as her career takes off, Priya’s family life slowly deteriorates as she is compelled to hide her meteoric success from disapproving in-laws and disappointingly discovers how much of a spineless mama’s boy her husband truly is. Will her growing career compensate Priya for the lack of love in her life? Or will she finally have to take matters into her own hands?

Kavita Daswani returns with yet another tale about an Indian girl coming to the U.S. of A. and the resultant change in her life, career and thinking. From an immigrant’s point of view, American society and culture is explored, revealing its plus and minus points, and the author cleverly contrasts them at the same level with their Indian counterparts, favoring neither, instead leaving it up to readers to draw their own conclusions. Central character Priya exemplifies the resultant expected culture clash as she goes from a naïve young bride to an embittered professional. This is also true of the family she’s married into, who are a curious mixture of Eastern upbringing and adapted Western way of life.

A person’s search for love crosses all boundaries, as is revealed by the unhappy but accomplished Hollywood stars Priya interviews and by Priya herself. Daswani’s skill is evident in her simple but stylish and genuine approach to storytelling. However, she does have a tendency to romanticize a situation; this is especially noticeable in Priya’s meteoric and unlikely career advancement, and the optimistic ending, while pleasing, isn’t convincing.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Rashmi Srinivas, 2004

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