Right now, my drug of choice is diverse rom-coms. It’s a perfect treat after work…or on my lunch break. They’re light-hearted and fun, and don’t always use the SAME tropes as regular rom-coms, but they’ve got flair and style and heart and a happily ever after, and that’s what we all deserve right now. If you want a story about neighbors falling in love, an Indian protagonist with stubborn parents, and a lot of chai references, you’ve got to pick up Love, Chai, and Other 4 Letter Words by Annika Sharma.
Kiran is trying to be the perfect Indian daughter, especially since her sister’s marriage 20 years ago tore the family apart. She moved to America, went to Duke, works as an Engineer, drinks chai with her Indian friends. She’s doing the things! But then, she meets a new neighbor who’s locked out of their building–Nash, and these two quickly hit it off, becoming friends overnight and taking on touristy NYC things together through fresh eyes–Kiran as an immigrant, and Nash as an NYC transplant from Nashville with a rough upbringing (poverty, child of addict, etc). They quickly fall for each other but there’s one looming issue: Kiran knows her parents will not be supportive, and Nash knows that he can’t take another heartbreak. Will these two find happily ever after, or will cultural differences keep them apart?
This is exactly what you expect from a rom-com in the best ways. Dual POV, a meet cute, lots of good date ideas and food you’ll want to eat, some airport intrigue, a tragedy that leads to resolution, etc. I say this in the nicest way–it’s predictable but with flair, and I appreciated that a LOT. I do, as always, struggle with the whole “my parents will disown me for loving you” thing even though I KNOW it still happens, but it’s a rom-com, we get our HEA, and we get some tear-inducing moments along the way. On a spice note, there is NO sex at all in this book. It’s lightly implied–they wake up together, reference cardio the night before–but nothing on the page, not even fade to black. So that’s something to keep in mind–either way you fall in preference.
This also appears to be the start of a new series–if I had to guess, Payal will be our next protagonist!
Love, Chai & Other 4 Letter Words is on sale everywhere October 5, 2021