Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, January 28, 2019

Preparing some literary Valentine's Day treats

With February just around the corner, Valentine's Day is not far behind and when it comes to gifts, a good book will certainly last longer than the traditional candy and flowers(although it's nice to get those,too).

For your holiday planning, I have a trio of fresh new novels that will be more than ready to entertain you on that day. First up is The Matchmaker's List by Sonya Lalli, where our leading lady is Raina, a young woman who promised her Nani(grandmother) that if she wasn't married by the time she was thirty, she would let her do a little matchmaking.

On her twenty-ninth birthday,however, Nani surprises her with the first of many eligible men for a first date and gives her a list of others to check out. From that first encounter(where her set-up suitor rejects her,then later calls for a date but is taking calls from another woman) to the next(a guy who is seeing someone his parents don't approve of) and such charmers as a man who takes her to eat "gluten free raw bread" and is dismayed that Raina doesn't have a dehydrator, this list has more minuses than a math class.

As much as she wants to please Nani, Raina is still not over Dev, her former boyfriend but with her best friend Shay getting married right on Raina's thirtieth birthday, the pressure is on and then some. Can Raina make both herself and Nani happy without a compromise that would compromise her heart?

I'm reading this book right now and so far, this is a charmingly engaging debut novel that offers food for thought and a few laughs along the way. This lively read has much to recommend it and the pages turn harmoniously in tune with the themes of modern love and emotional independence:

Next up is Sophie Kinsella's latest, I Owe You One. Fixie Farr is the one member of her family that is always relied upon to make things right and when her widowed mother takes a trip to Spain, Fixie is left in charge of the hardware store that they've run for years.

She gets little to no help from her brother Jake, who wants to turn the place into an overpriced posh shop, or sister Nicole, who thinks it should be a yoga center instead. With the added burden of a former love back in love and the promise of a new romance with investment banker Seb Marlowe, Fixie finds herself in need of some personal maintenance and repair.

Not only does this book sound as delightful as many of Kinsella's stories are, it puts me in mind of Persuasion, my favorite Jane Austen novel with it's put upon heroine needing to find her own way to true happiness. I don't know if that's what Kinsella had in mind here but the comparison sound letter perfect to me:

Speaking of Jane Austen, Soniah Kamal gives us Unmarriageable which, as the subtitle says, is Pride and Prejudice set in Pakistan.

Alys Binat is the Elizabeth Bennet of this story, a schoolteacher satisfied with her life and not looking for a husband. much to the chagrin of her marriage minded mother. Despite the downfall of the family fortunes(due to a swindle) and four other sisters on hand, she feels that her life is all the better for being single.

When an invite to the wedding of a family friend brings her sister Jana into the path of potential romantic partner Fahad "Bungles"Bengla, Alys is happy for her but not enough to put up with the rude manners of Valentine Darsee, Bungles' best friend. This blend of classic story telling with the still well kept traditions of a modern society has garnered plenty of praise from contented readers already and should spark more interest in new takes on P&P indeed:

 These books ought to be a treat to read no matter what time of year it is,yet it is nice when your reading embraces the themes of the season. The love of reading is a lifelong affair, one that you can't help sharing with others and what better occasion than the celebration of romance is there for such literary joy?:

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