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The Reluctant Matchmaker by Shobhan Bantwal
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The Reluctant Matchmaker (edition 2012)

by Shobhan Bantwal

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3514321,274 (3.47)3
Member:mcelhra
Title:The Reluctant Matchmaker
Authors:Shobhan Bantwal
Info:Kensington (2012), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:books I own, 2012, fiction, india, women's fiction, early reviewers

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The Reluctant Matchmaker by Shobhan Bantwal

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Summary

31 year old Meena Shenoy is an unmarried Hindu career woman. Her family supports her independence while at the same time still would like to see her marry a traditional young man from their same KonKani caste. She falls for her boss who calls her in on a special assignment. Meena meets with him thinking that he is going to admit his attraction to her as well...when, in fact, he wants to hire her to find his perfect wife.

What I Liked

Vocab and foods - I don't know a lot about Indian culture except that I'm not fond of Indian food :( Curry, in fact, is one spice that I shy away from, no matter what. While the story itself had some issues that bothered me throughout, I did enjoy the cultural exposure.

I didn't know it was illegal to use cell phones while driving in New Jersey? While this was certainly not a huge part of this book, I love little tidbits like this.

Brother Maneel falling in love with a Muslim woman/parents' reactions - while on the surface the immigrated families seem to have assimilated into American culture, they find it very difficult to let go of some traditions.

Akka - the wise aunt who helps Meena navigate both worlds.

Family, family and more family...the positives and negatives

What I Didn't Like

Meena's attitude and stubbornness - I didn't care for Meena and still don't. She seemed spoiled and immature...these characteristics may be the result of her age and lack of responsibilities, but I still couldn't warm up to her.

I'm too small whine...Prajay wanted a 6 ft woman?? I got tired of Meena's obsession with her small stature and Prayay's obsession with finding a 6 ft woman...his list of characteristics he was looking for in a wife was ridiculous.

Overall Recommendations

If you enjoy multi-cultural ladies' fiction without too much depth, you might enjoy this one. ( )
  epkwrsmith | Dec 31, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Meena Shenoy is a 31 year old career woman. One day she literally runs into her boss, Prajay Nayak, for the first time and ends up with a severely sprained ankle. After Prajay shows his tender side in caring for her, she starts to fall for him. Then Prajay makes a surprising request – he wants Meena to help him find a suitable wife. He offers to pay her handsomely for being his “marriage consultant.” Meena accepts his offer even though her heart is breaking.

In the Author’s Note, Shobhan Bantwal writes that she loves “to write stories that entertain and educate my readers, women’s fiction with romantic elements and that reflect my ethnic Indian culture, what I call Bollywood in a Book.” I think Ms. Bantwal has done exactly what she set out to do with The Reluctant Matchmaker. So much of the Indian fiction I read is super serious and tragic. I love it but it was also fun to read Indian chick-lit for a change. Meena reminded me a little of Bridget Jones (in a good way!). Meena’s community is a little more liberal than in some of the other books I’ve read but still way more conservative than mainstream society.

The main obstacle to Meena and Prajay having a relationship is their height difference. Meena is only five feet tall. I don’t think it’s ever stated how tall Prajay is but he’s described as a giant and says that he wants his future wife to be at least six feet tall. He tells Meena that he could never date her because she is too tiny and he would crush her. I found this really funny because my husband is six feet, seven inches tall – a full fifteen inches taller than me. His height has never been an issue! I think height is a big deal in Meena’s culture though because she talked often about how being so tiny was a disadvantage to finding a husband.

The Reluctant Matchmaker was a really fun read – I highly recommend it to fans of women’s fiction. ( )
  mcelhra | Dec 4, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Bantwal's "The Reluctant Matchmaker" is about an Indian-American woman named Meena. This is not the first time I've read Bantwal, but it definitely won't be the last. I love reading about the richness of the Indian culture, and Bantwal has nailed it with this one. Recommended. ( )
  Kegsoccer | Nov 21, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Thirty-one year old Indian-American Meena Shenoy has a successful IT career, but her mother and aunts determine success by one thing and one thing alone: marriage. It’s not like Meena does not try, but her dates never lead to anything more serious. And the one man who has all the qualities she’s looking for is unfortunately also her boss, Prajay Nayak.

While Meena’s thoughts are all about Prajay, Prajay’s thoughts are on placing a personal ad for a suitable wife - and he asks Meena for help. He offers to pay her for her “matchmaking” services and despite her feelings, she cannot refuse. Amidst Meena’s personal turmoil, her family is also thrown into disarray at the news of her brother’s relationship with a Muslim woman, leaving Meena to question the sacrifices she’s willing to make for the sake of love. ( )
  verka6811 | Aug 7, 2012 |
This was a light and breezy read - a true delight after the heavier books I have reviewed in the last few days. Meena is an Indian American young lady working for a rich, Indian American man but at first she just wants to impress him so that she can advance in her career. She dresses carefully for her first meeting but ends up colliding with him and finds herself on the floor with a sprained ankle. Not the first impression she wanted to make. He does remember her though and calls her to his office, not for the kind of romance she was hoping for though. He wants her to write a personal ad so he can find a wife to satisfy his family - they are bugging him as he is 39 and still unmarried. His main requirement - that she be over 6 feet tall. Not promising for 5'1" Meena.

What follows is a charming story that takes the reader into the family life and culture of Indian Americans. I really enjoy stories that broaden my knowledge of different lifestyles and this one did that will a light and deft touch. I really liked these characters and was invested in their journey. Meena learns a lot from working with her boss to find "the perfect woman" and she learns a lot from her beloved Aunt. Family is everything and it is very important. But a bit of comedy is excellent too. ( )
  BrokenTeepee | Aug 5, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0758258852, Paperback)

In her thought-provoking, uplifting new novel, Shobhan Bantwal vividly blends the nuances of contemporary Indian-American culture with an unconventional romance. . .

At thirty-one, Meena Shenoy has a fulfilling career at a New Jersey high-tech firm. Not that it impresses her mother and aunts, who make dire predictions about her ticking biological clock. Men are drawn to Meena's dainty looks and she dates regularly, but hasn't met someone who really intrigues her. Someone professional, ambitious, confident, caring. Someone like her new boss, Prajay Nayak.

Just as Meena's thoughts turn to romance, Prajay makes an astonishing request. He wants her to craft a personal ad that will help him find a suitable wife: a statuesque, sophisticated Indian-American woman who will complement his striking height.

Despite her attraction to Prajay and the complications of balancing work and her "marriage consultant" role, Meena can't refuse the generous fee. And as her family is thrown into turmoil by her brother's relationship with a Muslim woman, Meena comes to surprising realizations about love, tradition, and the sacrifices she will--and won't--make for the sake of both.

"One of the best [novels] I've read this year. I couldn't put it down. . .this book is a gem!" --Mary Monroe, New York Times bestselling author on The Unexpected Son

"Compelling and memorable." --Mary Jo Putney, New York Times bestselling author on The Forbidden Daughter

"Vivid, rich. . .expertly portrays a young woman caught between love and duty, hope and despair." --Anjali Banerjee on The Dowry Bride

"Dazzles you with a taste of Desi culture in America." --Caridad Piñeiro

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:39 -0400)

Just as Meena's thoughts of her boss turn to romance, he asks her to craft a personal ad to find him a suitable Indian-American wife. She can't refuse the generous fee, and must balance her work, her attraction, and her role of marriage consultant with her belief in love and the family traditions of India.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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