"Priya in Heels" by Ayesha Patel
Priyanka Patel has always been the dutiful daughter. The only child of traditional Indian parents, she has always made choices that reflect her culture and respect for her parents. She is finishing up her medical residency and has agreed to let her parents find her a man from their community to marry. But when Priya meets the sexy musician who lives down the hall from her, her perfect life looks to be crashing down around her.
Tyler O’Connor first met Priya in the emergency room where she treated his sprained ankle. He couldn’t get her out of his head and when he discovered that she was living down the hall from him, he put everything he had into pursuing her. But Priya’s decision to put her family’s wishes above her own leave him devastated.
Priya and Tyler quickly discover that love isn’t something you can just set aside. But is it stronger than the bonds of family and culture?
Priya in Heels by Ayesha Patel is a New Adult novel that blends Indian tradition with American culture in a story that explores what happens when two people from different cultures fall in love.
This is the first New Adult title I have read and as someone who has not read a lot of Young Adult because I don’t connect with them, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I must say I was pleasantly surprised. This novel was basically a chick lit novel but not as fluffy as I usually read.
The Indian-American female character is not one that is represented well in contemporary literature and that was part of the reason why I grabbed this book. Growing up I had many friends who were straddling two cultures and I have quite a few friends who ended up in the exact same scenario as Priya. It was very refreshing to see this story being told.
Patel does a great job of writing about Indian culture for North American readers. She includes many traditional elements and does a great job of incorporating them into the story so the readers learns but also so much of the book isn’t spent explaining them. She assumes the readers has some knowledge of Indian culture but if you don’t, there is a glossary at the end that explains it.
I really enjoyed this book but I did feel like the story dragged on a bit. There was too much going back and forth, Tyler and Priya getting together, then being apart, then getting back together, then being apart. In my head I was yelling “just hurry up and get together” and if it had gone on any longer than I probably would have yelled it out loud. The book could have been about 100 pages shorter for me.
I hope that this book starts a new trend of diverse main characters and intercultural romances in the women’s fiction genre. Books like this represent the world we are living in and the challenges that people face growing up in cultures that are not their own. If you’re looking for diversity in fiction, this is a great place to start.