I actually bought this book because of the great reviews it received, but ultimately I was really disappointed.
There are several reasons for that:
1. Lina and Anil are sadly undeveloped. Lina (female protagonist - young, Indian, muslim woman living in the UK) is - of course - beautiful, everybody falls in love with her, while she lands a great job at the UN. I didn't find her believable or interesting. Anil (male protagonist - young, Indian, sikh, living in London after having spent his childhood in Nairobi with his affluent parents) is painted with better strokes and comes across as more real to life!!!Lina's parents certainly do not approve of their daughter being with a non muslim, and so the couple conducts their affair clandestinely. A LOT of back and forth ensues, and in the end I really didn't care for either Anil, Lina or whether they ended up together or not.
2. The main story line is punctuated with love letters. It doesn't take long before you realise, that these letters were written years prior to the present, to Lina's dad by the white girl he left for religious reasons. Not because his family made him leave her, but because he himself realised he could not live with someone who didn't share his religion, as it is such an integrated part of him. Granted: that is a good point, that he leaves her because of who HE is, and not because of someone his family wants him to be. However, I didn't find this plot line interesting; it actually seemed a bit silly.
3. The minor characters are not well developed either in my opinion. Hans - the German aid worker Lina meets in Nairobi and since seems to bump into constantly all over the world. Isabel - Lina's friend who is visiting Lina in New York. They meet Hans and we sense, that Isabel is interested in him. However, we are to understand that compared to Lina she doesn't stand a chance. They both only seem to serve the purpose of making Lina appear more fantastic, and as such have no real life of their own.
4. The time perspective. This is a minor issue, but still had me guessing throughout the book, when the "present"(where Lina and Anil meet again after not having seen each other for years) is set. In one of the first chapters Lina looks herself in the mirror and thinks, she doesn't look too bad for someone, who has lived more than half her life. I then assume she is no younger than 40 years old. However, the book has references to the Rwanda genocide (1994) and september 11, when Lina is a very young girl. And it seems like she is 24 in 2003, ergo she must be 31 in 2010 (when the book was published). Maybe the "present", when Lina and Anil meet again is set further ahead in time than 2010? As I said - no major issue, just something that made me wonder.
The book does deal with an interesting subject. Arms trade and possible governmental involvement in this. However, this subject is downgraded in favour of a not very interesting love story.