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The Marriage Game

The Marriage Game, June 2020
by Sara Desai

Berkley
352 pages
ISBN: 0593100565
EAN: 9780593100561
Kindle: B07XM3PBK6
Trade Size / e-Book
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"An enemies-to-lovers romance that is a roller coaster from start to finish."

Fresh Fiction Review

The Marriage Game
Sara Desai

Reviewed by Danielle Dresser
Posted June 14, 2020

Romance Comedy

Layla Patel has moved home to San Francisco after a very public breakup with her social media influencer ex-boyfriend. She decides to start her own HR firm in the spare office above her family’s Indian restaurant, but things go awry when her dad has a health scare, and the family turns to Layla to help out. On top of that, no one mentioned to her that the office above the restaurant was already rented to Sam Mehta, a workaholic corporate downsizer whose no-nonsense demeanor immediately clashes with Layla’s more easygoing, chaotic nature.

Forced to work out of the same small space, Sam can’t help but overhear Layla’s latest predicament. Her father had signed up for an Indian dating site and she has a long list of potential suitors intent on an arranged marriage with her. Sam feels oddly protective of Layla and decides to act as her chaperone on many disastrous dates. Meanwhile, Sam is also dealing with the aftermath of a terrible incident that left his sister seriously injured and is worried about her safety from her ex-husband.

With so many things going on, Layla and Sam turn to each other for comfort and start to not just become friends, but also fall for reach other. Over differing opinions on everything from baseball teams to dodging family setups, these two opposites can’t help but fall in love.  

THE MARRIAGE GAME by Sara Desai is an enemies-to-lovers romance that is a roller coaster from start to finish. From the very beginning, there’s a large cast of boisterous and funny characters, all of whom interact with the main couple at a fevered pace. Layla’s large extended family provides much of the comic relief in this novel, while Sam’s sister and her tragic story as a result of domestic abuse add heartbreaking situations that were hard to read at times because they were very emotional. Layla’s roster of suitors veered from overly stereotypical to somewhat comedic at best, but these dates were at first used to show how much Layla and Sam despised each other, and then how much they desired each other, leaving the actual person on the date on the outside of most of their conversations, or as the punchline of the intended joke. Though some of the execution didn’t fully pan out, THE MARRIAGE GAME is gorgeously written and a well-conceived contemporary romance.

Learn more about The Marriage Game

SUMMARY

A high stakes wager pits an aspiring entrepreneur against a ruthless CEO in this sexy romantic comedy.

After her life falls apart, recruitment consultant Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco. But in the eyes of her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, she can do no wrong. He would do anything to see her smile again. With the best intentions in mind, he offers her the office upstairs to start her new business and creates a profile on an online dating site to find her a man. She doesn’t know he’s arranged a series of blind dates until the first one comes knocking on her door…

As CEO of a corporate downsizing company Sam Mehta is more used to conflict than calm. In search of a quiet new office, he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he's forced to share his space with the owner's beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, and a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life.

As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm and sparks fly. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam and Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.


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