Book review: The Arrangement by Sonya Lalli

The ArrangementThe Arrangement by Sonya Lalli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this book up because, as you know, stories about modern Asian women/ second generation expats is totally my catnip. Also, I really like the cover.

Raina is nearly 30 and unmarried. Her grandmother (Nani) is trying desperately to find her a husband. But Raina doesn’t want to meet a nice Indian boy because she’s still in love with her ex… who is still stringing her along. There’s a lot going on in Raina’s life – apart from things with her ex, she’s not sure she loves her job anymore, her best friend Shay is having an epic Indian wedding and Raina herself is questioning why she made the choices she made.

Raina makes a seemingly small choice to lie to her Nani about something and this escalates, rippling out and affecting more and more people until she can’t come clean without hurting a lot of them.

There’s a lot of lovely description about the wider ‘family’ created by the other members of the diaspora. Turns out adopted Aunties in Canada feel just as much right to interfere are Aunties anywhere else. The wedding brings out the most extreme opinions in people anyway.

I loved Nani’s character. She is sweet and acerbic and complex (I especially like the flashbacks to Raina’s childhood where you get a glimpse of who Raina’s mother is like she is).

This is an interesting novel about how we live up to the expectations of other people and whether or not that’s a bad thing. It’s warm, funny in places, and entertaining. If you like Ayisha Malik’s Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged, then you’ll like this.

I received a copy of this via Netgalley in return for a fair review. Thank you Orion and Netgalley.

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