Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal @RituBhathal #BookReview #DebutNovel

Posted February 5, 2020 by Zoé in Book Reviews / 43 Comments

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Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal @RituBhathal #BookReview #DebutNovelMarriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal
Published by RBW Books on February 9, 2020
Pages: 378
Buy on Amazon UK
Add to Goodreads

Aashi’s life was all set.

Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box...

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…

My Review

I have been dying to read this book for ages, ever since Ritu told me at the last Blogger’s Bash that she was writing it! So when she asked me if I wanted to read it I jumped at the chance!

When I got my copy, I do what we all do went on to Goodreads and marked it as Currently Reading and I checked out how many pages and then I panicked! Because I thought that is a lot! Will I like it? Will it drag? Because according to Goodreads it’s nearly 400 pages!

However!!! And it is a HUGH HOWEVER!! Do not let that put you off! Once you meet Aashi and her plight you won’t want to let go of the book. She is naive, bless her, when we first meet her and arranged husband Ravi, he is a bit shifty and we know before she does what he’s been doing! Douche bag alert! What then follows is such a lovely tale of not only letting go but of rediscovering yourself.

I love that this is heavily loaded with the traditionalism of Sikhs, down to the terms of endearments and phrases. We learn about arranged marriages and what happens with broken engagements and the dispersions of gossip and social cast that come with it.

Aashi trying to deal with her heartbreak still wants to go to India with her best friend Kiran and her brothers Bali and Sunny. This unit is such a fab unit to have the pleasure of being a part of for 2 weeks while we get to discover the “true” India with them. Plus the addition of Arjun who is out to discover it too all makes you feel like you are on the journey with them. We are not on the outside looking in, we are on the adventure with them, on rickshaws travelling through the streets, to the sounds of the markets with everyone vying for your business and attention. To the breathtaking celebration of Vaisakha with the temple lit up by the lights at 4 am and then the dawn as the sun broke. Everywhere you look on the tour is bright and bursting with colours and this is definitely a book that will leave you with a smile on your face.

I learned so much with Marriage Unarranged, growing up one of my best friends was a Sikh and the other was a Muslim, and they tried to teach me so much of their traditions and how everything was set out for them. I found it, still do, so fascinating as it is not the life I have lived. Having to have parents permission today date someone and to have chaperones is something I can not comprehend.

I love this journey of growth and strength for Aashi. She is someone I felt protective of, but not too sympathetic because she would hate that! She starts a timid naive girl, but when confronted at the end by the douche Ravi, and his sister Narinder. The strength Aashi has in front of them shows how much she has grown into a confident young woman!

It’s hard to talk too much about the plot but Ritu has created such a pool of wonderful characters that I want to be back with them and I told her I needed a sequel. Good news there is one on its way! For a debut, the writing is strong and eloquent and you feel like you are there experiencing India with all the characters. The smell and sounds of the markets, the lumpy beds, the stunning and bright array of colours and the fear for your life on a rickshaw! It was just such a wonderful story to lose myself in. It made me smile and it is, to me, a love story with a difference. Especially with that ending!!! I can’t wait to find out more and soon!

I loved, loved and breathed Aashi story and I can’t wait to get back with the gang. Now I need to save my money to go on a trip to India and experience what they have done! It just sounds amazing!

Until next time xxx

Follow the rest of the tour here

Thank you to Ritu for a copy of her book in return for my honest and unbiased review

Click on the picture to start your picturesque journey with Aashi

About Ritu Bhathal

Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her.

From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her writing, from fiction to

poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally encouraged her to continue writing.

As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes.

A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing! Ritu also writes a blog, www.butismileanyway.com, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was awarded first place in the Best Overall Blog Category at the 2017 Annual Bloggers Bash Awards, and Best Book Blog in 2019.

Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the fur baby Sonu Singh.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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43 responses to “Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal @RituBhathal #BookReview #DebutNovel

  1. What a great great review Zoe sounds like you had the same reading experience as I did. I loved the book too such a great story. Like you I am looking forward to a sequal or three 💜. Well done Ritu too.💜

  2. Good, not long to go now till I get my copy… Goodreads says 400 pages, my latest novel in paperback is 370 pages and that’s not my longest novel… How many thousand words is it Ritu?

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