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The Dowry Bride

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  1,247 ratings  ·  150 reviews
One sultry night, a young bride overhears an extraordinary conversation. The voices speak of a plot to murder a wife who has failed to produce a child and whose family has failed to produce the promised dowry...

Megha is sick with horror when she realizes she is the intended victim. Her husband -- the very man who tied the sacred necklace of marriage around her neck -- and
Paperback, 343 pages
Published September 1st 2007 by Kensington Publishing Corporation (first published January 1st 2007)
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Average rating 3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,247 ratings  ·  150 reviews

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Sep 18, 2007 rated it it was ok
Disappointing. It's an interesting topic though: The dowry system is alive in India even today and brides whose families don't follow through on payment are often tortured and even murdered without consequence. The main character runs away from her husband and mother-in-law after finding out they're about to kill her. She runs to a male relative for protection, they fall in love, etc.

It was too light and fluffy--read it a couple of days. Most of the dialogue sounded like a bad soap o
Nicole Bunge
Apr 27, 2009 rated it liked it
This is ok. I wish I could give it 2 1/2 stars, because the writing level is just... atrociously grade-school. (if she's going to be quoted as an 'award winning writer' anyway.)She needs a better editor, there is a lot of rambling (and I'm not talking about the interesting bits about culture and day-to-day life in India, I liked that. But how many times do we need to hear about the male protagonist changing into khaki shorts and a blue logo t-shirt and how he looked masculine in them? *sigh*) ...more
Jan 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: india
It was a nice read but nothing different or new about this story. And you had a hard time understanding what period this story took place sometimes given its modern setting with a traditional character background and unrest.
Sep 26, 2010 rated it did not like it
The writing is terrible and it's so offensive in so many ways. The villains in this book are always dark skinned and fat (not to mention low caste or untouchable) while the good people are slim and fair. It's totally absurd, the only reason I finished it is because I was on the train and had nothing else to read.
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Cultural & Ethnic Romances
Reviewed for THC Reviews
For some reason, of late, I seem to have developed an interest in Indian culture. I’m not entirely sure why as India isn’t a place I’ve ever aspired to go in person, but I’ve discovered that I do enjoy being transported there within the pages of a good story. Since romance is my favorite fiction genre, I’m always on the lookout for a romance set in India or with Indian characters. Shobhan Bantwal came to my attention for two reasons: First she’s a local author in my area, and
San Kat
Jun 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
To understand the story you have to understand the author's upbringing. Shobhan Bantwal is a Brahmin by declaration. Now religious texts tell us that caste is by nature- how a person acts, his her mannerisms but Brahmins have hijacked the system to ensure they retain power by assigning birthright to the system i.e. you can be a terribly disgraceful person and yet still be a Brahmin because your parents inherited Brahminism from their parents etc etc. This is used to subjujate others while placin ...more
Feb 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
I am so disappointed by this book. Dowry killings is such a serious topic yet this book lacked substance. Bantwal failed to address the severity of dowry practices. Unfortunately, this book is comparable to a Harlequin romance novel or a Lifetime movie.
Dec 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dowry associated murders – a social issue that ended up being the fodder for many writers who weaved tales and did their bit to garner attention towards it. Naturally, the beautiful cover and the summary piqued my interest and upped my expectation. Sadly, the story fell flat on its face and didn’t exactly stand up to it.

Our protagonist, 21 year old Megha escapes from her house when she accidentally hears her mother in law plotting her murder for obvious reasons. She manages to escape
Christina (Reading Extensively)
2.5 stars

Although she seems a little too naive and she makes some really dumb decisions over the course of the book, I admired Megha's determination to make a new life for herself in the end. She really breaks free of the restraints placed upon her by her family and her in-laws. As a love interest, Kiran is alternately likeable and controlling. He is there for Megha and does his best to protect her and equip her for life on her own but at the same time he can be a little condescendin
Apr 04, 2008 rated it liked it
I find that there's a tendency to ignore this issue, of dowry killings - young wives burned or otherwise murdered to allow men to remarry and get another dowry - and it's great to see someone using the romance genre to make an important statement.
Checked out from the library.


3 out of 5


Megha is a dowry bride in India. One day, she overhears her husband and mother-in-low talk about how to murder her. For fear of her life, she runs away to the only place where they won’t think to find her. Kiran helps hide her from his wicked relatives. However, when they begin to have feelings for each other, will bring doom to them?

My feelings are pretty much the same as when I/>
Tara Chevrestt
Jul 31, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: india
This was simply good entertainment. I can't say I was enlightened or learned anything new, but I was entertained. It's kinda chic lit with a dash of suspense.

The setting is modern day India. Megha has been married one year to a sickly, wimpy momma's boy with a mother from hell. One night, Megha overhears both her husband and MIL plotting to burn her alive because 1. her MIL just can't stand her. 2. Her dowry hasn't been paid. and 3. She hasn't had a baby yet. So it's action from page one as Meg
Apr 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, reviewed
I liked this book, it could have been worse. It was an easy read, the author's writing style, kind of killed the book for me. It made me skip pages because it seemed that she was going off on a tangent. The whole "dowry issue" seems a little old fashioned for most westerners but it still happens today. I applaud the author for writing on such a subject matter. However, that being said, I think it could have been a great story, but the characters were not well developed and it kind of seemed all ...more
Lois Duncan
Jan 09, 2011 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, (which is a romance, and I don't generally like romance novels), because of the unique (to me) situation of the heroine, the Dowry Bride, who is trying to escape being murdered because her dowry wasn't paid. Plus all the background information about the social situation in India and the way women are treated. When i reached the end and discovered the author was born and raised in India and was, herself, a Dowry Bride,that increased my interest in what I had read. The writing ...more
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 22, 2008 rated it liked it
This is quite possibly the worse book I've read in 10 years! Got 3/4 way thru and quit! No voice...I couldn't hear any in my head when I was reading...and that's not a good thing.
May 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned-books, fiction
I really wanted to like this book. I love the idea of writing a novel about something that is sort of touchy or taboo, like dowries, and bringing it to the masses, but this book just completed missed the mark.

The main character, Megha, is really just unlikeable. She's incredibly sheltered, which is part of her culture to be fair, but it comes off in a VERY whiny and irritating way. She also makes incredibly DUMB decisions. The "hero" Kiran, is also just not believable. He falls in love with his
Oct 30, 2018 rated it liked it
The overall premise was interesting, but many of the elements of the story felt flat and the plot in points felt very contrived. Overall I liked the characters, but the excessive stories and details really kept me from being engaged with the story.

Still, it was a decent read.
Kristen Schrader (Wenke)
Oct 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: india
A very enjoyable read. After I finished, I watched a BBC documentary and appreciated how accurately this novel described the problem of burning Dowry Brides. I had no idea it was so commonplace.
The writing is YA-esque. Very easy to read.
I felt the ending appropriate given how damsel-y the main character had been for most of the story. Glad to see her grow.
Overall, an interesting glimpse into an unfortunate aspect of another culture.
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well etched out characters .Makes for a good read,page turner. I felt the ending was a bit rushed though
Lara Saldanha
Aug 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
While the topic of dowry brides is worth tackling, the handling of it was atrocious. The writing was poor, and there were antiquated class, gender, and even skin color prejudices built in.
Lindsay Gillis
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great read! Very suspenseful. The author made me feel really bad for the evil mother-in-law.
Jun 17, 2018 rated it liked it
This book embodied all the typical Indian stereotypes and came together well. An easy read, page turner and definitely worth the tim.
Naimul Khan
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
The transition of the book was great. Really expresses the horrific crimes that occur in India.
Jamie Stanley
Mar 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: i-own
This book had such great potential. What a disappointment. The writing felt like a bad soap opera. Zero depth.
Gale Laroche
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Book

This is a very well written and interesting book. I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to see what would happen Next!
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kind of cheesy at times but overall a good romance novel. Suspenseful, interesting. I want to read more by this author.
Faseeha Esmailjee
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Puts into perspective the blatant disregard for females, specifically daughter in laws in the Indian culture.
Inderpreet Uppal
Nov 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The Dowry Bride is the story of a young 21 year old girl who runs away from her home when she realizes that her in-laws and husband are trying to kill her. How she manages to survive; where does she find the support and help to fight the odds and win. The book cover was the first thing that attracted me to the book and of course the topic of dowry, an ill that ails our society. It is a very aesthetically pleasing cover and the fire on the cover following the footsteps of a bride was a big pull f
Meryl May
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
***There may be spoilers, but nothing detailed***

This book, in my humble opinion, was really truly well written.
It spoke to me as an asian woman, where in many nations, still, many women still find themselves helpless --under the thumbs of domineering husbands, living with in-laws while struggling for their freedom inside their own homes, and being trapped in marriages not of their own choosing. Divorce is still frowned upon--not only as a sign of failure, but also because of the so
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Shobhan Bantwal is the Indian-American author of THE DOWRY BRIDE, her debut novel set in India and slated for release by Kensington Books in September 2007. It is the first of a two-book contract with Kensington.

Since 2002, Shobhan's articles and short stories have appeared in a variety of publications like India Abroad, Little India, U.S. 1, Desi Journal, India Currents, Overseas Indian, New Wom