Author Spotlight: Sonali Dev
by Donna Soluri
I have been a fan of author Sonali Dev for more years than I can count. When I finally had the pleasure of meeting her at a romance reader convention, I was taken by her warmth, kindness, and unmistakable mom humor. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet, interview, and interact with many romance authors, and Sonali Dev is a true gem. Her lyrical, almost poetic writing pulls you into the process of romance so thoroughly, so completely, you’re often swept away by her prose. She has a way of making you feel that first brush of romance, the one that sends tingles down your spine in a way that makes you sit up and take notice. Add in her intricate renderings of Indian culture, traditions, familial bonds, and food, always food, and her books are serious one-click wonders for my TBR shelf!
One of my favorite series by Dev is The Rajes. The Rajes are an immigrant Indian family descended from royalty, who have built their lives in San Francisco, CA. The first book in the series, Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, came out in 2019. Dr. Trisha Raje is San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon. However, even with all of her hard-earned respect and literal genius, she’s
still the black sheep of her overachieving Indian American family. You learn very quickly in this tale that the Raje family has some strict, non-negotiable rules: 1) Never trust an outsider; 2) Never do anything to jeopardize your brother’s political aspirations; and most importantly, 3) Never ever defy your family. Dr. Trisha doesn’t do anything in half measure, even when it comes to breaking her family’s rules.
“[Dev’s] lyrical, almost poetic writing pulls you into the process of romance so thoroughly, so completely, you’re often swept away by her prose.”
Up-and-coming chef (see, I told you there would be food!) DJ Caine, an immigrant from Rwanda, needs a job the Rajes are offering but what he needs possibly even more than that is Trisha, the only surgeon who can save his sister’s life. Their assumptions about each other will have to take a backseat to save his sister and help Trisha redeem herself with her family. This unique retelling of Pride and Prejudice is definitely a great way to lose yourself in a book. Also, when I met Dev, she more fully explained the true definition of karma to me, much as she does in this book. Of note, karma is Sanskrit for action, and never forget that your actions are the only thing you can control. I’ll leave it at that. Go read the book if you haven’t already!
Sticking with a Jane Austen theme, Recipe for Persuasion gives us a twist on, well, obviously, Persuasion. I should probably let you know that you do not have to be an Austen-phile to enjoy Dev’s books in this series. In fact — and I can’t believe I’m about to type this — you can easily enjoy these books with nary an Austen reading. ***shudder*** In this second book, we meet chef Ashna Raje. Again I say, trust me when I tell you there will always be food! Ashna is trying to save her struggling restaurant while also trying to prove to her estranged, overachieving mother that she’s not a complete screw-up. If you haven’t noticed already, the family dynamic of the Raje family is an integral part of each story; family, tradition, love, and food all run strongly through each aspect of the story. Anyway, Ashna ends joining the cast of Cooking with the Stars, and she’s paired up with the worst celebrity of all.
Rico Silva, FIFA winning soccer star, is also Ashna’s first love, the love that ghosted her at the lowest point in her life. Great, juuuuuust great. Make no mistake, Rico isn’t thrilled with this pairing either. Losing Ashna nearly destroyed him all those years ago. As much as they try to fight it, their chemistry can not be denied. Soon, social media gets wind of the sparks, and we all know that never runs smoothly! Can they finally get over each other and move on? Nah, where’s the fun in that?
The third Rajes book, Incense and Sensibility, releases on July 6th, 2021. This gives you plenty of time to catch up if you need to or to re-read in preparation for Yash Raje’s book! Yash is California’s first serious Indian gubernatorial candidate. Yash has known exactly what he wants his entire life, and he knows how to use his privileged background to get it. Yash is a man with iron control. He believes if you can control your feelings, you can control the world. Then a
hate-fueled incident happens at a rally. His friend is critically injured, and Yash struggles to get his life and campaign back under control. “Struggle” might be too mild a word; debilitating panic fits a little better.
The only person he can trust to help him garner some semblance of control again is his sister’s best friend, India Dashwood. India is California’s foremost stress management coach, and was raised by a family of yoga instructors. She’s helped some of the most high-strung overachievers for over a decade without a stumble. Yash, however, is a client like no other. Never has India encountered such a thoroughly repressed soul in her life. Oh, did I mention that one night of passion India and Yash shared ten years ago? Yeah, Yash has repressed that away in a little box, too. India has her work cut out for her, and now both of their hearts could be on the line.
If you’ve had Sonali Dev on your TBR list for a while, or if she’s new to you, now is the perfect time to delve into the stunningly beautiful worlds she creates. Dev’s writing style will encompass your soul, feed your senses and expand the bright beauty the world has to offer. That’s not hyperbole, she is a brave craftsman of words, and I’ve never finished a Sonali Dev book with anything less than a happy sigh.
“Dev’s writing style will encompass your soul, feed your senses and expand the bright beauty the world has to offer.”
Donna should be an empty nester, but she’s not, thanks COVID-19. She’s a voracious reader of all books; she can’t pick just one sub-genre. A staunch supporter of seasoned romance and a lover of cupcakes, you’ll often find her with a cup of tea and a mountainous TBR pile close at hand. Follow her @DonnaSoluri on B+M Bites.
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