AMERICAN author Sonali Dev has carved out a niche for herself with contemporary novels that cleverly combines a Jane Austen style romance with a Bollywood flavour.

The superb Incense and Sensibility is perhaps a standout in the series. The books that follow a large Indian family have a connectivity.

This latest offering draws influence from Austen’s classic novel Emma and gives it an Indian American twist, but also an interesting flip. Now in her late thirties, a heartbroken Knightlina (Naina) Kohli is recovering from what she sees as a fake 10-year relationship with Yash and focuses her energy on a charity project that will have a transformative effect on the lives of south Asian women.

Meanwhile, Yash’s handsome young brother Vansh has everything from money to attention and wants to make the world a better place for others. Through a series of circumstances Naina and Vansh go on a collision course, which inevitably leads to sparks flying.

The gender and age flipped reimagining of Emma, successfully following the enemy turned lovers story troupe, rounds off a great series well.

There is a lot more electric energy in a story powered by well-defined characters, great prose, and forbidden romance. The fast-paced read flows freely and draws you into an interesting world filled with relatable moments. There is a range of emotions in a story that has everything from humour to heartbreak and conflict.

Although this can be read as a standalone story, those who have read the previous books in the Rajes series will have a stronger connection with the characters and appreciate it more.
That doesn’t take away from this being one of the most inventive adaptations of a much-loved story, which includes a clever reversal of the age gap between genders. The author has delivered a unique series with a special quality.