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The Runaway Bridegroom (Marriages Made in India) Paperback – 31 August 2019
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About the Author
Sundari Venkatraman is an indie author with forty-four titles (forty books and four collections) to her credit, which have sold more than 1.5 lakh copies around the world. Her books consistently feature in the Top 100 Bestseller Lists on Amazon in both Romance and Asian Drama categories. Her latest romance novels have all been on the #1 Bestseller slot in Amazon India for over a month.
As a child, Sundari loved to read books with ‘lived happily ever after’ endings. They were all about good triumphing over evil. As a teenager, her favourite books were romance novels from Mills & Boon. She was fascinated by them, so much so that she began to visualise the stories set in India.
Sundari was forty when she began her writing journey, completing the first draft of her first novel in thirty-five days. She has not looked back since.
- Publisher : Westland (31 August 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 168 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9388754182
- ISBN-13 : 978-9388754187
- Item Weight : 450 g
- Dimensions : 12.9 x 1.63 x 19.8 cm
- Country of Origin : India
- Generic Name : BOOK
- Best Sellers Rank: #99,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from India
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Superb....I look forward to read more from her
I thoroughly enjoyed the read ! 😊😊
Worth the 5 stars !!
But overall I completed it in a day such a nice one tq
Top reviews from other countries
The book is surprisingly short and despite covering a fair amount of plot it focuses on some odd moments. There is more space given to the character's spending a weekend together than there reconciliation. It made for odd reading.
The plot has some long scenes with the side characters - the parents, the very vampy secretary and her love interest, the brothers and a detective - so much so that our couple of lost in the last third of the book. It was very odd pacing to my mind.
The book opens with a literal child marriage - I think it's meant to be a shocking opening as there were lines implying the ridiculousness of the child marriage, which I appreciated. However, this was marred by weak writing as some of the sentences were super obvious in highlighting the issues but some seemed to support the concept. I was never clear as to when the narrator was speaking and when the character's POV was being shown.
There are sentences like this: “Chanda was unaware that she was punishing herself for an mistake that was not of her making". The author will put in such asides which are really not needed except to bash the reader on the head. This cannot substitute for character development.
The plot generally read like a transcription of a Hindi TV serial. Even though I am a fan of the latter, there was a loss of context and fidelity which didn't work for me.
The sad part was that the secretary was the best character for me as she had a personality - screechy and silly - but still a personality.
In the five books of the series (after this one) we are presented with the wedding of the other four Mageshwari siblings and the wedding of Ranveer's second in command (His Drunken Wife), whom we were introduced in this book. Which is more of a reason that this book should be the first of the series.
I became interested in the Indian culture and traditions after watching an Indian television series (Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naan Doon) a few years ago. Since then, I read a number of books by Indian writers.
The story kept me interested, due to the unfamiliar setting and circumstances, rather then the plot or the writing.
In this book, the author described Chanda's parents as very 'cool' and allowing their children to make decisions about their own lives. This is repeated again, several times in subsequent books. Yet, here they got their only daughter married at eight years old. Where they allowing her to make her own decision? Big contradiction!
Would I recommend this book? Not really!
Chanda -( a mix of Meena Kumari and Aliya Bhatt ???) is getting married. She is just an eight year old child. Reading about her, made me want to pick her up and abscond. But I was saved from kidnapping her, when her child- husband Veerender runs away. As with many of the child-brides, Chanda is left in a strange relationship with a man whom she would never meet. (Kinda reminds me of the movie Water) Does Chanda have the same stoic expression seen so oftne on the faces of the lonely widows in that movie. I think she does. For Sundari Venktaraman has brought out this emotion in the lines -" Chanda held her arms tightly around herself and wondered what she was missing in life. She heard her friends discussing romance and stolen kisses in whispered conversations. But Chanda felt that that life was not hers to live."
Such pathos in the heart of a young girl can only make you want to scream at the mistakes some parents can commit in the name of social rulings. For those who are not well versed with child-marriages in India, it was quite common in the days prior to 1928 when Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 put a stop to it. Well, it did not. This act is only punishable when someone reports this act or the authorities discover it. But when the whole sect in a particular society follows this act, they hardly get reported.
But unlike many other parents, Chanda's parents put this incident behind them and moved on, educating their child and making her ready to face the society. Chanda too had accepted her fate and knew love was not for her. But she had not met Ranveer yet, had she ?
Till now Sundari Venkatraman had reigned in words and beautifully etched how our elders lived and her words brought out the patriarchal society with all their bossiness and views. Enters Ranveer and suddenly the landscape becomes modern and happy and of course passionate. With Chanda, the readers are also introduced to the bureaucratic life of Ranveer. A go getter, a passionate lover and a self made man. But a man with a past.
Like every love story rises above the others due to a villian, this story has one too. The past of Chanda. Will Chanda be able to choose between her heart and her duty?
What I Liked ....
The simplicity of the story. Sundari Venkatraman is an ace story teller, no doubt. Her stories are not preachy and she does not accuse the society of anything. An incident happened to a young girl. That's it. She leaves it to the imagination of the readers of what they want to do with the incident. I wanted to punish Dadaji (Grandpa ) however sweet he was.
The author did not accuse the parents even in one line, yet made me feel ashamed for what they had done. When parents take a wrong decision, how is affects the life of a child is very well portrayed here.
The chemistry between Chanda and Ranveer is sizzling and sweet. Without sounding vulgar, Sundari Venkatraman has been naughty. So the mercury factor has gone up.
What I did not Like ....
Hmmmm... Hmmmph :D Shall I say ? Totally the editor's fault if you must know (facepalm )
Veerender's running away had some loopholes. Just a few. It was too easy and too forgiving. In other words Sundari Venkatraman time has come to write a masterpiece of more than 75k words.
Disclaimer : The author is my friend and has promised me a pot full of gold at the rainbow's end. She is no leprechaun and I don't see a rainbow. So the reviews remain honest and from my heart till I don't reach the rainbow's end.
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