The theme for January is We Love Short Shorts - short stories, novellas, and category romance. I selected a 2012 category romance from the Harlequin Romance line, Monsoon Wedding Fever, by Shoma Narayanan.
I bought this book because I was happy to see Harlequin bring out a book about Indian characters by an Indian author. What interested me most as I read was seeing how the conventions of a category contemporary romance played out within a different cultural milieu, one that's mostly unfamiliar to me. For example, the heroine is much more concerned about her reputation and keeping up appearances than a contemporary American or British heroine would be--though as a writer and reader primarily of historicals, I didn't have any trouble relating to her concerns.
This is a reunion story. The hero and heroine, Dhruv and Riya, first met in college, when she was 17 and he was 20, but he broke up with her abruptly and rather coldly--which I found forgivable given his youth and the fact his own parents' marriage was in crisis. They meet again some eleven years later, when it turns out he's a cousin to her roommate who's about to get married. In the run-up to that wedding, they can't avoid each other, and they reconnect.
But their romance doesn't run smoothly. Dhruv is the richer of the pair, and Riya is super-sensitive about her independence and proving she can provide for herself. Also, she learns from family gossip that he's been seeking an arranged marriage, meeting women more suitable in the eyes of his family than she could ever be, so she's understandably concerned he sees her as nothing but a temporary fling. I got a little impatient waiting for them to actually communicate, but overall this was a satisfying romance and an interesting glimpse at another part of the world.