Saturday, December 29, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway - The Reluctant Matchmaker

The Reluctant Matchmaker by Shobhan Bantwal
Kensington Books, 2012

Format?  oversized paperback
Source? The publisher via LibraryThing Early Reviews
FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of The Reluctant Matchmaker from the publisher; however, the following review and the opinions offered below are without bias.

Why? I love reading about other cultures...and this one is about a modern young Indian woman trying to navigate life in the United States as well as hold on to the traditions honored by her family.

Title?  Prajay asks Meena to find a suitable wife for him...not exactly what she had in mind...pretty literal title

Cover? I like the cover ok...just in case the reader can't tell which culture the book is about...but I never envisioned the traditional Indian dress nor the Taj Mahal looking building while I was reading The Reluctant Matchmaker...quite the contrary, I envisioned a thoroughly modern setting including office buildings, apartments, and even Meena's parents' contemporary home.

What Now?  I'll be passing this one on to another blogger who'd like to read it :) Just leave your blog address and email address in the comments section if you'd like to win.  I'll notify the winner 1 week from today.

Golden Lines

The boys were just investments in the future, while I was more like a hothouse plant, meant to be nurtured until they could find me a decent husband and give me a reasonable sendoff by way of marriage.  But that was the Indian way, so I didn't complain.

I glanced at Prajay's hand as I reclaimed my own.  He thrust it in his pocket immediately, so I didn't have a chance to look at it closely.  His face told me he'd felt something, too, because he looked uneasy.  But he was a man, and what did men know about magnetic undercurrents and those small signs of connection between a man and a woman?

But I'd never considered myself a good Indian girl.  I wasn't bad, but neither was I a soft and malleable ball of putty that could be molded by my parents.  Or anyone else.  I was a modern woman with modern ideas.  One of these days I'd find my own man.  In my own way.

Why were some intelligent males so dumb when it came to women and relationships?

"An old widow should be reading scriptures, eating vegetarian food, and knitting sweaters.  Instead Akka insists on drinking liquor and eating meat," Mom grumbled once in a while.  Sometimes I wonder if she was adopted or something.  She's so different from my father and their other siblings."


31 year old Meena Shenoy is an unmarried Hindu career woman.  Her family supports her independence while at the same time still would like to see her marry a traditional young man from their same KonKani caste.  She falls for her boss who calls her in on a special assignment.  Meena meets with him thinking that he is going to admit his attraction to her as well...when, in fact, he wants to hire her to find his perfect wife.  

What I Liked

Vocab and foods - I don't know a lot about Indian culture except that I'm not fond of Indian food :( Curry, in fact, is one spice that I shy away from, no matter what.  While the story itself had some issues that bothered me throughout, I did enjoy the cultural exposure. 

I didn't know it was illegal to use cell phones while driving in New Jersey?  While this was certainly not a huge part of this book, I love little tidbits like this.  

Brother Maneel falling in love with a Muslim woman/parents' reactions - while on the surface the immigrated families seem to have assimilated into American culture, they find it very difficult to let go of some traditions.  

Akka - the wise aunt who helps Meena navigate both worlds.

Family, family and more family...the positives and negatives

What I Didn't Like

Meena's attitude and stubbornness - I didn't care for Meena and still don't.  She seemed spoiled and immature...these characteristics may be the result of her age and lack of responsibilities, but I still couldn't warm up to her.

I'm too small whine...Prajay wanted a 6 ft woman??  I got tired of Meena's obsession with her small stature and Prayay's obsession with finding a 6 ft woman...his list of characteristics he was looking for in a wife was ridiculous.

Overall Recommendations

If you enjoy multi-cultural ladies' fiction without too much depth, you might enjoy this one.


  1. This one sounds interesting. I read her Full Moon Bride and enjoyed it. I'd love to win. Thanks for offering it as a giveaway.
    2 Kids and Tired Books

    1. This was the first book of hers I've read. This was an ok read for me but nothing that just blew me away :)

  2. I read this one a while ago...I'd have to look up my review to remember what I thought. I think I read too many books.

    1. LOL! I read this one a while back as well...but am just now getting my review done :/ I was just eh about this one so I can surely understand why you wouldn't remember anything much about it :p

  3. If this is open to all, please count me in. New author and book for me.

  4. Thank you for your review of this book. It sounds like something I could dig into quickly! I am in the process of starting a blog. I probably won't get it up until after the New Year. I am new to this. I got a nice computer for Christmas. So... if I qualify, I would love to be entered in this giveaway. My email is wvpamb at g mail dot com
    Thank you!

    1. Sure, Lily! And good luck getting your blog together! The start-up effort is more than worth the results :)

  5. I'd love to read this, I have several of her books on my wishlist but they are hard to get hold of here. If the giveaway is open internationally, please enter me :0

    s.murray10 at

  6. Hmm...great review, but I'm not sure this book's for me, although it does sound interesting (really, a 6' wife?).

  7. I'm not a blogger so not sure if I qualify. But, if so, would love to enter. I am originally of Indian descent but grew up in the states. My parents emigrated here with my brother and I when I was 4 years old. I am drawn to books about India and/or by Indian authors b/c I understand and am familiar with the customs, social mores, lifestyle...

    I love Indian food, clothes, jewelry, decor, Bollywood, TV, and music. My marriage to hubby was arranged(now married 16 years) and took place in India.

    I read one of Bantwal's books, The Sari Shop Widow, and enjoyed it. I own The Forbidden Daughter(yet to read) and her others are on my TBR list.


    1. Mona, just from your list of interests, I'm sure you would enjoy this one...especially if you've read and enjoyed other titles by Bantwal :)

  8. I plan to do more reading in the coming year, so I do appreciate your reviews.

    Many blessings to you and your family in the coming year.