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An Incurable Insanity by Simi K. Rao
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it was amazing

I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour and rated it 5 out of 5 Stars.

A mixture of contemporary romance, coming of age tale and multicultural fiction, Simi K. Rao’s An Incurable Insanity is a wonderful debut novel. Facing an arranged marriage, Ms. Rao’s characters give us a chance to explore ancient traditions against the backdrop of a modern society with a high divorce rate. We also get the chance to experience the cultural differences between two countries, men and women and the basic truth that all you need is love.

The only daughter of a well to do family in India, Ruhi Sharma faces a bright future; educated, loved and beautiful, she agrees to an arranged marriage to make her father happy. She’s even encouraged to participate in the choice of her future husband and chooses Shaan Ahuja, the son of a family friend, whose picture she falls in love with. Looking forward to her wedding and move to America, Ruhi is unprepared for what she discovers on her wedding night; a groom with no intentions of staying married who claims he’s given his heart to someone else.

A graduate student when he first came to the United States, Shaan Ahuja is now an aerospace engineer with no intentions of ever returning to India. Involved in an unsatisfying affair with an American woman, Shaan is determined to avoid marriage at all costs. At least until his father informs him his grandfather is dying and that his last wish is to see Shaan married. Forced into an arranged marriage, Shaan is determined to make his intentions clear to his wife and plans to return her “untouched” to her family. Only he never planned on his wife being determined to save her pride and demand a two month time period where they could gently break it to their families they’re not a good fit. Agreeing to her plan, Shaan is unprepared for the realities of having a roommate who has no intentions of going home.

The scenes between Ruhi and Shaan are well written and full of emotional angst. While Ruhi is infuriated with Shaan and his duplicity, she’s determined to save her family from the embarrassing truth and also save her pride. While Shaan attempts to pretend Ruhi means nothing to his life, Ruhi quickly immerses herself into his house and attempts to break down his resistance – she’s not giving up her husband without a fight. Ms. Rao does an excellent job developing her characters and dealing with the conflicting emotions they both undergo throughout the story. While neither planned on an emotional war for the other’s heart, they do find themselves engaged in an emotional battle. Ruhi wants to win her husband’s heart and feel love, while Shaan begins to realize he’s been used by his previous partner and that Ruhi could very well be everything he’s ever wanted.

The secondary characters all contribute something to Ms. Rao’s tale; from Ruhi’s parents, to Shaan’s friends in America, the colorful people Ruhi meets at the bus stop and even the woman who stands between them at first. Showcasing the strengths, and weaknesses of each culture, Ms. Rao gives us insight into Indian cuisine, traditions and their colorful emotions. While an arranged marriage goes against the American idea of falling in love and choosing your own spouse, it’s clear that an arranged marriage does have some appeal. Of course it’s only when Ms. Rao’s characters face their past, are honest about what they truly feel and make a conscious decision to give their future a chance that their arranged marriage has the greatest chance for success.

Will Ruhi learn to embrace life in the U.S. and capture her husband’s heart? Will Shaan realize the happiness he’s looking for can be found when he gives his heart to his new wife? You’ll have to read An Incurable Insanity to find out. I loved it and can’t wait to read what Ms. Rao writes next.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
September 22, 2013 – Finished Reading
September 25, 2013 – Shelved

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