Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors | By Sonali Dev
Book Review | Contemporary Romance
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.
Narrative and Plot
Retelling a classic like Pride and Prejudice is a humongous effort. The story is still very much alive and one needs to be very clear about the route one wants to take with the retelling. Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors did an excellent job of imbibing the spirit of the original. Of course, the roles are reversed here. But Trisha Raje certainly carried that air of Darcy effortlessly.
The plot took a different route from the original, especially with the subplots. But the story celebrates the theme of the original, reminding us how relevant the Jane Austen novel is on a fundamental level. This book is an ode to the original, keeping the theme intact. It also tips the hat by retaining the name of DJ Caine and then there is Mr. Wickham.
Characters and Conflicts
The book had several dynamic characters, the most important of them being Trisha and DJ. The desi elements the book brought into were entertaining, if not relatable. I know people who used to be royalty in the pre-independent days, but not all Indian extended families are as tight as the Rajes. The family dynamics reminded me of the 90s Bollywood dramas with the uber-rich and tight-knit circle of family.
Trisha carried the story with her pride and emotionally detached demeanor, much like Darcy. DJ, on the other hand, was as passionate as Elizabeth. However, I would have preferred it if the story spent a little bit more time with DJ and showed how his feelings for Trisha gradually evolved rather than nailing it down in the end. It takes nothing away from the story, but if you had to point something out, that would be my one point.
In terms of conflict, the book touched on a lot of issues that a normal rom-com would shy away from. It showcased a long line of issues that determine the social status of a person in today’s world, much like what Jane Austen did with the original.
If you’re looking for a book that celebrates the author Jane Austen with a retelling that borrows the theme of the original but creates a story of its own, then Pride, Prejudice, and Other flavors is a must-read.