Today I’m pleased to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Marriage Unarranged a great romance set in both the UK and India.  You can find out more about why I enjoyed this book below, as well as more information about the book and author, but first I’d like to say a big thank you to Zooloo’s Book Tours and the publisher for a copy of the book and the chance to be a part of this tour.  Now, let’s find out what I thought about this book…

Title: Mariage Unarranged (The Rishtay series #1)
Author: Ritu Bhathal
Publisher: SpellBound Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Book format: Digital
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Description: It all s̶t̶a̶r̶t̶e̶d̶ ended with that box…
The year 2000 and Aashi’s life was all set.
New Millennium ,exciting beginnings, new life.
Or so she thought.
Like in 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…

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is a fun romance which grew on me the more I got into it.  Aashi arrives at her fiancé Ravi’s house to discuss honeymoon and wedding plans.  But when she arrives at his house she finds his female co-worker there first thing in the morning, and Ravi suddenly looking worried when he sees Aashi.  It isn’t long before she discovers a packet of condoms in the bedroom and realises that Ravi has been cheating on her.  Upset she storms out of the house and out of Ravi’s life.  But given her family’s roots, the whole community will soon be talking about Aashi and the scandal breaking of the wedding will bring, so Aashi decides to go to India, to get away from all the gossip and her broken life.

This is a really great story which I found got better the more I read on.  We are introduced to Aashi and her naivety at the start of the book and it isn’t long before she finds out that her fiancé Ravi has been cheating on her.  I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t truly hooked on this story at first.  The first part of the book, where we get to kow Aashi and meet the rest of Aashi, and Ravi’s families didn’t pull me in as much as I had hoped.  I found Aashi to be incredibly naive and Ravi’s start to be less fun to read, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this book at that point.  However as the story moves into Aashi’s trip to India with her brothers and best friend I found myself really enjoying the story, especially when the new character of Arjun enters the tale.

I like what happens in India.  The story shows us a true snapshot of India, the beautiful, and ugly side to the country too.  I like how the five friends end up exploring the area and how we find out more about the culture and location and some of the places seemed wonderful like the temple.  The story switches between characters frequently, always written in the third person perspective but switching who we follow and their point of view in certain scenes.  I did find the viewpoint switching wasn’t confusing, but at times felt unnecessary.  A few of the switches didn’t really reveal any inner thoughts of those characters and instead could have been written in the same chapter with just a chapter break instead.

As the story moves on we find out more about the characters.  I found some of the story predictable, which romances often are, but some parts had twists I really wasn’t expecting, especially something we find out about Arjun later on.  I like what happens though and how Aashi finds herself moving on from her break up and how her friend Kiran finds herself moving on with her life too.  The story switches back to Birmingham for the last third and I like what happens towards the end.  The story switches to Ravi’s point of view sometimes, showing us how the cheat’s life isn’t going well.  After my initial concerns over not enjoying his story, I actually found it funny and interesting to see what happened to him after Aashi broke off the engagement.  It isn’t often you see the ex’s side of the story and I really like what happens to him and how things aren’t going as well as he’d hoped.

I like how things come together towards the end.  The story of the eccentric Milan made for funny moments and the whole books is filled with both lovely heart-warming moments and also funny ones too.  The ending is good, there’s a very funny last line which I liked, but if I’m honest I did wish there was a longer ending, a last chapter or epilogue, maybe set several weeks or months later to really wrap up Aashi’s story fully as I felt the ending given, though good, was a bit abrupt and didn’t solidify whether Aashi’s future would be the way we hope when reading.  The book has a few uses of the f and s swear words as well as other insults in Punjabi which I didn’t understand at first without looking them up, but could guess their general meaning.  In fact, there is a glossary of Punjabi relationship names which did help with understanding what some of the characters were saying, but there are also more Punjabi words used.

Overall this is a great book which gets better the further you read into it and I just loved getting to know Aashi, her family, Arjun and India.  The scenes in India bring to life the country, and I love how we find out more about the Sikh community the characters belong to too.  Most books with Indian characters I’ve read usually follow those are Hindu or Muslim, so this was interesting to see what happens with the Sikh community.  I love lovely Aashi’s parents are compared to some others.

Overall this is a good read and one I would read again despite my initial concerns.  There are a few niggles with the writing, switching viewpoint too often for me, and a few times where I felt scenes could have been shorter or less information given in each scene, but overall it’s a good book, one I would like to read again, and I’m looking forward to more in this series.

Buy the Book

Marriage Unarranged book cover

Buy from Amazon UK    Buy from Amazon US

About the Author

Ritu Bhathal author pic

Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but of 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 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, http://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.

Visit author’s website    Visit author on Twitter    Visit author on Instagram    Visit author Facebook    Visit author on TikTok

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What do you think of this book? Do you like books which are set (all or in part) in other countries?  Let me know what you think in the comments below. 🙂