Trisha Raje is an accomplished neurosurgeon, taking on only the most complicated and challenging cases in her department. She’s known for being tough and creative, able to operate on patients once declared terminal by other doctors. Professionally, she’s at the top of her game.
Unfortunately, her personal life isn’t going quite as well. Her family is very well-off, her father also a revered surgeon at the same hospital where Trisha works. But her family considers her the black sheep, too concerned with her own career, instead of focusing on the two things that should really matter: 1) getting married and 2) supporting her brother’s political aspirations. Trisha tries to be on good terms with them, and especially wants the approval of her father, but her own anxiety and deep insecurities keep her from acting like the serious adult she wants to be. Instead, she comes across like a bumbling child, always tripping over her own words or lashing out like a spoiled toddler.
When Trisha first meets chef DJ Caine, she doesn’t like him very much. He’s melancholy and withdrawn, not to mention way too fixated on the food he’s cooking—though Trisha has to admit, it tastes heavenly. Trisha sees DJ as beneath her, the hired help, while DJ sees Trisha as just another entitled brat. But when the two are forced to interact with each other when DJ’s sister gets sick, they have to confront their prejudices and see if they can work through their differences in order to protect the sister/patient they both deeply care for.
This book is obviously based on Pride and Prejudice. Some elements are lifted almost literally from the book (like when we meet manipulative Ms. Wickham…), but other parts of the story are changed so that characters and events develop in less expected ways. I like the premise of Trisha and DJ’s relationship, but there still were a lot of moments that felt overwrought and forced, maybe even a little unbelievable. More than once I was skeptical that these two people would actually talk to each other so harshly. Not only did their relationship strike me as unrealistic, it also kept me from fully supporting or enjoying either character. Mostly, I just wanted them both to stop whining, good grief.
Still, I enjoyed the story overall. It flowed well and even managed to surprise me a couple times. And I like that it was told through the perspective of an Indian American family. Ultimately, I was expecting a classic story with a twist, and that’s exactly what I got.
Thank you to Edelweiss and William Morrow for the ARC!