Series: The Rajes #1
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on May 7, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Retelling
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FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
PRIDE, PREJUDICE, AND OTHER FLAVORS Review
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is one of my all-time favorite novels. I love everything about Pride and Prejudice but I’m especially fond of it because it’s where my love for the enemies to lovers trope began. I’m also a sucker for retellings of any kind so when I heard that Sonali Dev’s latest novel Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors is meant to be a modern-day Pride and Prejudice retelling, it sounded like the perfect read for me.
I was engaged by the story as soon as I met the main characters because I immediately realized it was going to be a P&P retelling I hadn’t encountered before. Why? Because it’s a gender-bent retelling. The arrogant, unlikeable Mr. Darcy character is actually female. I just found this such a delightful and unexpected twist!
Dr. Trisha Raje is a gifted neurosurgeon who also happens to be descended from Indian royalty. Her father is directly descended from royalty, while her mother is a former Bollywood actress, and her brother is in the beginnings of a bright career in politics and who has his eye on the governorship of California. The rules of the Raje household are very simple: be careful who you associate with and do absolutely nothing to bring shame and scandal into the family. Fifteen years ago, Trisha did exactly that and is now considered the black sheep of the family. She wants to redeem herself and help her brother win his election, but the family doesn’t trust her.
I really loved the complexity that Dev gives Trisha. Trisha begins showing her “Mr. Darcy” side at a fundraiser for her brother when she has a run-in with the chef who is catering the event. She is rude and condescending to what she deems “the hired help,” which leaves a bad taste in the chef’s mouth and in my mouth too. Trisha is completely obnoxious in the way she looks down on people like the chef, but at the same time, she possesses many good qualities too. She’s a brilliant surgeon who, after a chance encounter with blind children at an institute when she was a child, is drawn specifically to doing whatever she can to prevent or cure blindness. It’s hard to reconcile that compassion for some with her seeming disdain for others, and I had to keep reminding myself that Mr. Darcy redeemed himself in the original book and that I needed to stay open-minded.
Chef DJ Caine, on the other hand, was easy to love right from the start. We learn in the opening pages that he and his little sister, Emma, were tossed out on the street by their father’s family after their mother passed away. DJ therefore practically raised Emma on his own, and all they have in the world in terms of family is each other. When Emma is diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor, DJ quits his job so that he can be there for Emma. How can you not love a brother who is so completely devoted to his sister? It makes it all the more infuriating when he has his run-in with Trisha and she’s so rude to him. Then it spirals into an ongoing series of encounters with him looking down on her for looking down on him. Talk about awkward, haha!!
Things between Trisha and DJ become all the more awkward, however, when they each realize that Trisha is the only surgeon who can perform the surgery that can save Emma’s life. Can they look past their initial clashing of personalities and come together for Emma’s sake?
In Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, there is a strong focus on the importance of family, as well as a thorough exploration of class and cultural differences and the prejudices that can arise because of them. I was equally drawn in by the DJ and Trisha dynamic and wanting to know what was going to happen to DJ’s sister, and by wanting to know what in the world Trisha had done all those years ago to end up in such a bad spot with her family.
Overall, I really enjoyed the way Dev gave the original Pride and Prejudice such a fresh and modern update in terms of the actual plot without losing track of those themes that have made the original such an enduring classic. I highly recommend Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors for Jane Austen fans, for those who enjoy a moving family story, and especially for those who enjoy a good enemies to lovers romance.
Award-winning author Sonali Dev launches a new series about the Rajes, an immigrant Indian family descended from royalty, who have built their lives in San Francisco…
It is a truth universally acknowledged that only in an overachieving Indian American family can a genius daughter be considered a black sheep.
Dr. Trisha Raje is San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon. But that’s not enough for the Rajes, her influential immigrant family who’s achieved power by making its own non-negotiable rules:
- Never trust an outsider
- Never do anything to jeopardize your brother’s political aspirations
- And never, ever, defy your family
Trisha is guilty of breaking all three rules. But now she has a chance to redeem herself. So long as she doesn’t repeat old mistakes.
Up-and-coming chef DJ Caine has known people like Trisha before, people who judge him by his rough beginnings and place pedigree above character. He needs the lucrative job the Rajes offer, but he values his pride too much to indulge Trisha’s arrogance. And then he discovers that she’s the only surgeon who can save his sister’s life.
As the two clash, their assumptions crumble like the spun sugar on one of DJ’s stunning desserts. But before a future can be savored there’s a past to be reckoned with…
A family trying to build home in a new land.
A man who has never felt at home anywhere.
And a choice to be made between the two.