Cover Image: The Marriage Game

The Marriage Game

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Member Reviews

After a disastrous breakup, chaotic and passionate Layla Patel has hit rock bottom. She moves back home and starts her own recruitment agency in the office above her parents’ bustling restaurant. Layla's father has a heart attack before he is able to terminate the existing lease on Layla's new office space. He also doesn't have a chance to tell her that he posted her bio data on a desi dating/marriage website and selected 10 candidates for her to meet. 
  Unbeknownst to Layla, Sam Mehta, a CEO of a corporate downsizing company is also sharing the same office space. Sam is the opposite of Layla, organized, reserved, and overly confident. As expected these two clash constantly. They come up with a solution and truce which involves Sam acting as Layla's chaperone on her dates and if she finds a husband, he gets the office to himself. 
  This romantic debut has great characters. Layla and Sam have great chemistry. Their witty banter and chemistry fly off the page and was a joy to read. There is plenty of humor from Layla's horrendous dates and her noisy 'aunties' and family. It is an easy and quick read. I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the book.
    The book, unfortunately, falls apart in the second half where it addresses the conflict. We are constantly told that Sam has one goal in mind: to avenge his sister who has suffered from domestic abuse which has left her in a wheelchair. The conflict is underdeveloped and what could have been an intriguing and much needed look at disability in the South Asian community, devolves to an ableist plot device. Though Sam's sister is present and has an off the page romance of her own, she is not given a voice and sufficient time to develop. I would have loved to learn more about her and Sam's family.
  A pet peeve of mine is when ethnic names, particularly South Asian ones, are Anglicized. I would have much preferred if Sam was called Samir, his full name (really, is it that difficult to say Samir?). I also left to wonder many times as to Layla's ethnicity and how she identifies as religiously, which were vague. There are times when comments about these aspects of her identity are made during her dates, but it is never clearly addressed.  
 In spite of these issues, Sara Desai shows a lot of potential as a writer and I am curious to see what she has in stored for her second novel which features one of the secondary characters in The Marriage Game.
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I will not lie: it was a bumpy start because of how they described HR Managers (those of you who read this will know what I mean and know I wouldn’t want to be lumped into that category! haha)

A few chapters in I set it aside for a day; then I put my big girl pants back on and went back in. I’m glad I did as <b>I enjoyed Sam and Layla’s witty banter</b> (my fav part of rom-coms). Although some plot points were a bit outlandish at times. It was a solid 3.5 stars, and I enjoyed the build up of the characters stories. I would certainly read this author again.

It would make a really interesting Netflix movie!
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I found the initial descriptions of Layla's body to be off-putting. So much focus on her curves and how attractive Sam found her! Enough already! I get it! But eventually that tapered off and I found myself engaged in the Sam and Layla's story.. Hopefully the next one will be Daisy's story??
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I was unable to connect to the characters in this, and found some of their interactions cringe-inducing. The hero came across as especially unpleasant. Despite the enjoyable writing and the heroine's delightful family and friends, this one just wasn't for me.
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no, i don’t think anyone can understand. i’m OBSESSED. this book is so cheesy but ajdjjajwjwwh i love it. sam was SO FUNNY, i was literally in orbit for 80% of the book. also layla was so 🥰🥰🥰, i love her. also i feel like the other brown romances i’ve read haven’t really allowed me to connect with the mcs, but this book. please. i LOVE IT. all those 4.25 stars are because it just gave me that really ✨🥰😇 feeling and ahshwhwhwus.
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absolutely adored this one!!! it was such a fun romantic comedy enemies to lovers romance with great south asian representation! I didn't like the major problem in the end but hey not books can be perfect?
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This book was funny, emotional and filled with typical desi families. I am going to go ahead and say she gave me vibes with her writing and story telling. Sonali is one of my favorite romance writers and Sara is now right behind her!! 
I loved the banter between the two protagonists and the stereotypical characters. You know they will end up together, you know already what their issues are even before they realize it but it always feels like coming home when I read a desi romance. Yes, they aren’t based in our country, yes they aren’t Muslims but they are still so close to our culture that it does feel home!
If you like romances, desi people, matchmaking (a fun take on it, please don’t get all serious on me!) and some Bollywood tarka, actually let’s make it filmy in general (there are so many Hollywood references😱) then please do me a favour and READ THIS BOOK! 
P.S kindly keep snacks close by as the family owns a restaurant and the female protagonist loves to eat! 
Can’t wait to read your next Sara!
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The Marriage Game is the story of a young woman who loses her boyfriend and job and is forced to return home to San Francisco. Layla plans to start a new business in the office space above her family’s restaurant, but corporate downsizer Sam claims he rented it first and an epic battle of wills ensues. Thinking he can get rid of Layla by helping her find a husband, Sam offers to be a chaperone on blind dates with men her father arranged through a website. Although Sam and Layla drive each other crazy at work and off the clock, they soon learn they have more in common than they thought. Will they realize they belong together before it’s too late or will their emotional baggage prevent them from finding the connection they crave? 

With a strong heroine, a manly yet sensitive hero, hilarious banter, great chemistry, real conflict with high stakes, and a wonderful group of secondary characters, The Marriage Game was an excellent romantic comedy!
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This book started off normal, then cute. I had some expectations merely based off the synopsis, but altogether I figured this wasn't for me. I had some assumptions that didn't happen but I don't think it should deter anyone from enjoying this book.
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The Marriage Game is pure Bollywood rom-com energy, and I had a blast reading it. Since contemporary romances are currently in, there have been some releases purporting to be romances or rom-coms that...were not, but you don't need to worry with this one.

The set up for The Marriage Game, actually maybe the whole plot, is thoroughly silly and over the top. After a bad breakup with a social media influencer, Layla leaves New York to go back home to San Francisco and move back in with her parents. Her father offers her office space above their restaurant before having a heart attack (he's okay! It's not that kind of book.), so he's not around to settle the office space dispute with the guy who rented the space, Sam Mehta.

Sam and Layla immediately butt heads literally and occasionally figuratively. This is absolutely the kind of book where they angry banter and lust and fall on top of each other constantly. I'm not mad at it. The writing's great, snappy and engaging and quippy, which is my thing 100%. And I also love how open Layla is about her sexual adventures and misadventures, and that Sam never ever judges her for that. It's sex positivity for a heroine who has had a lot of casual sex partners, and that's still not something you see much in romance.

Despite their war over the office space, Sam ends up agreeing to a wager to help her meet 10 men her father chose from a Desi dating app. He's to serve as her chaperone and help her judge the guys, since he works as a guy who helps companies downsize (aka he weighs people up and fires them mercilessly). It makes very little sense, but who cares when all of the dates are absolutely hilarious? Sure, the book leans heavily into jealousy, but aside from that I loved this entire aspect.

Aside from that, I really liked the secondary characters too. They're not in the book quite as much as I would like, but they're around enough for me to develop deep affection for them. Enough for me to be super upset that Nisha, Sam's sister, didn't get a whole book for her romance with John. IT COULD HAVE BEEN SO GOOD HOW DARE. But I will settle for Daisy's dating adventures.

Anyway, this was a four star read for me until near the end. Mostly I just think that Sam's bullshit went on a beat too long, which made it hard for me to forgive him. I'm not necessarily sure I do tbh. However, I get that this is to fit the rom-com plot structure, where one or both parties need to fail hard so they need to stage the grand gesture. It's part of the genre for sure, but it's not my favorite part. I also hated that attempt to make Royce a guy with a secret heart of gold there at the end. Yeah no not buying it. (view spoiler)

If you're looking for a hilarious romantic comedy, complete with some Bollywood dancing, I definitely recommend Desai's debut. I cannot WAIT to see what she does next, because I am sold.
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E se depois de passar por uma grande reviravolta em sua vida, você ter que mudar pro outro lado do país, voltando para a sua casa e deixando o que construiu de lado?

Layla escapa depois de um escândalo em Nova York e retorna para São Francisco para recomeçar, 

do zero. O seu pai é capaz de tudo para fazê-la feliz, então oferece uma pequena sala que fica em 

seu chiquerrimo restaurante, para que Layla recomece a vida. 

O que ela não esperava, era que um perfil seu fosse criado em um  de relacionamento. 

Se não bastasse toda essa mudança em sua vida, ela vai conhecer o Sam, um homem que o pai dela

também tinha feito o acordo para que utilizasse esse escritório que fica no restaurante. 

Sam é seguro de si, assim como Layla, então se preparem para rir enquanto os dois vão se conhecendo

cada vez mais, e, pequenas chamas vão aparecendo. 

The Marriage Game é uma boa escolha para curar uma ressaca literaria. 

No começo, achei que não fosse conseguir me ligar a Laya, mas a autora trabalha bem suas camadas. 

Além disso. Também tive a mesma dificuldade com o Sam, achando que ele seria mais um perfil

 de CEO mais do mesmo, mas não é. 

Sara Dessai consegue trazer esses personagens à vida de forma que é difícil largar o livro.

Ah, e lembram o perfil que o pai da Layla criou? Pois é. 

Ela terá pretendentes para conhecer, mas será que algum deles vai ser bom o suficiente ? 

Se você gosta de livros divertidos e que tragam experiências culturais diferentes,  

Marriage game é uma excelente pedida. Sem contar que o tema de “ casamento arranjado “,

 ainda muito comum em várias culturas é bem trabalhado, trazendo para o leitor, perspectivas positivas, 

negativas e constrangedoras que envolvem a questão. 

O livro ainda não foi lançado no Brasil, mas esperamos que ele chegue em breve.
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Not a bad book, but run of the mill. I found the characters mildly appealing but the storyline moved rather slowly and wasn't interesting or original enough to make me want to read the whole story.
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Layla Patel has returned to her family home after losing her job, her boyfriend, and her apartment all after one humiliating viral moment. She is determined to start again surrounded by the support of her family. Problem is, she has to share her new office space with Sam Mehta, a gorgeous complication Layla didn't predict. 

"The Marriage Game" by Sara Desai is adorable and hilarious. Layla is feisty and wonderfully independent as she tries to find love the traditional way.
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This was a wonderful read! I really enjoyed learning about Indian food and culture, and appreciated the supportive role of family. I liked how the author explored the inner lives of the main characters and how their pasts impacted their present. I appreciated the humor at various points, and of course the happy ending.
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Content warning: A secondary character is a survivor of domestic violence. Also, the hero makes a living downsizing companies and firing people, which Catherine thinks ought to count as a trigger in this day and age, and makes Sneezy consider the merits of expressing herself with a flamethrower.

The Marriage Game is a romantic comedy set in the Indian-American community in San Francisco, and it has an amazing sense of atmosphere and family. It’s also very, very funny. But there were also some things that could have been handled better, and since Catherine and Sneezy were both very full of opinions and of flailing, we decided to write this review together.

Layla Patel has returned home to stay with her family and re-set her life, after her breakup with her boyfriend went viral and cost her her apartment and her job. She still wants to get married one day, but has more or less decided that love isn’t for her. Her father helpfully offers her the office upstairs, above the family’s restaurant, in which to restart her business. True, he has just sub-let it to another tenant, but that tenant hasn’t moved in yet, and he is sure the man will understand that family has to come first. Alas, Layla’s father then has a heart attack (he’s fine! But he is in hospital for most of the book), and informing the tenant-to-be of the changes in circumstance is the last thing on his mind. So when Layla goes to take possession of her office, Sam Mehta is already there, and he is not happy to see her.

Sam is the CEO of a corporate downsizing company, and is one giant ball of Issues. He originally trained as a surgeon, and when his parents arranged a match between his sister and his mentor, Ranjeet (the two sets of parents set up a meeting between the prospective couple, and Nisha and Ranjeet hit it off and decided to marry), he was delighted. Only Ranjeet turned out to be an abuser with an alcohol problem, and his sister wound up divorced, broke, and in a wheelchair, while the hospital where Sam and Ranjeet worked covered up Ranjeet’s crime and painted Nisha as a madwoman. Sam feels intense guilt for not seeing through his mentor’s façade, and is immensely overprotective of Nisha as a result (CW for ableism – he feels that her life has been ‘ruined’ because she is in a wheelchair). He is also angry with the culture that made such a marriage possible, and so he avoids everyone in his family other than his sister, and also anything traditionally Indian. And he is determined to take down his former mentor by any means necessary – which means he wants that corporate downsizing contract with the hospital where he once worked, so that he can get his hands on the HR files.

As they are bickering over who has the better claim to the office, some rando shows up for a date with Layla. This is when Sam and Layla realise that Layla’s work life wasn’t the only thing her father neglected to put on hold when he went into hospital. Yes, indeed, Nasir Patel has put Layla’s marriage CV up on a website where Indian families match up their children for marriage, and has begun screening candidates for her. Both Layla and Sam naturally have Feelings about this, and between Layla’s desire to make her father happy when he is trying so hard to do the same for her, and Sam’s guilt at not having sufficiently protected his sister, the upshot is that Layla decides to go on these dates, with Sam as a chaperone of sorts, and they agree the outcome will settle the office ownership question. If she does wind up marrying one of these guys, she will cede the office to Sam. If not, the office is Layla’s.

Catherine: I want to start with some of the things I liked, because there really was a lot that I enjoyed enormously. Layla Patel is a great character and I loved her big, close, loud, sometimes eccentric family. Also, this book was brilliantly funny when it wanted to be. And it was full of lavishly described Indian food and cooking (of which more later), and I am a total sucker for any book that does food well.

Layla’s relationship with Sam is also delightful – full of snark and sarcasm, and Sam has a genuine, if well-hidden, caring streak where Layla is concerned. His chaperonage on the dates degenerates into Sam and Layla sniping and snarking at each other and sort of forgetting that the dates are even there (I especially enjoyed the date with the psychologist who clearly recognised the dynamic early and found it nearly as amusing as I did).

Sneezy: The relationships in this book were high points for me too. There was a wonderful scene where Layla’s dad was patiently teaching Layla how to make dosa, encouraging her to keep trying, that it was okay she was struggling. (And Catherine can’t believe she didn’t mention that, because it was her favourite scene in the whole book.) Of the dates Layla and Sam went on, my favourite was with the maybe-CIA agent. Layla and Sam had an instant chemistry that crackled and snapped from the first moment they met. Sex between Layla and Sam was hot, funny, and sweet, often all at once.

Layla’s creativity in using Sam as her chaperone was one of my favourite ingredients. Depending on the circumstance, having a chaperone in Desi dating isn’t strange, though it’s generally supposed to be a member of one of the dates’ immediate family. Layla completely skews it to her advantage: she protects her mental bandwidth from her overzealous aunties by strong-arming Sam into doing it. This way she could work on getting her life back in order while also giving the candidates her dad picked out for her a chance.

This book also explored long term grief in ways that were really tender. The story touches on how sometimes we hold onto the things and dreams of our loved one, even if it isn’t what we really want, because it feels like a piece of them.

Layla’s brother passed away before the book began. He had a grand plan to expand Nasir and Jana’s restaurant into an enterprise, which they went along with out of love for him rather than common interest in the goal themselves. Eventually, Nasir decides he prefers a smaller location, because his dream and passion has always been to serve good food to his community. His son is gone now, and he’s realized it’s a moot point to chase someone else’s dreams, even if they’re his late son’s.

Learning to let go of our loved ones’ values and ambitions is a common theme in grief. This story quietly acknowledges that terrible things happen in life no matter our age, and we still owe it to ourselves to be honest about what we want and to go after them. It was poignant and beautiful, even though structurally it worked more like a deus ex machina because of how it relates to the Dark Moment, as Catherine talks about later.

Another poignant moment that really got me is what kicks off the story – the moment when Layla decided to go on the dates her dad picked out for her. While her decision was coloured by her knowledge that arranged marriage can turn out well, it was mainly borne out of love, fear, and self-doubt. For all her strength and snark, Layla had lost a lot of confidence in herself because of what her ex did. Not only was her heart broken, the ramifications of the fallout spilled over into her professional life. On top of losing faith in love and her own abilities to find her partner, she comes home and is confronted with the very real possibility that she might lose her father.

Seeing the amount of time and effort Nasir had poured into finding potential partners for her, craving stability, and wanting to be spared heartache by skipping love, she decides to give these dates a chance. For Layla, her decision also straddled a cultural tension she had and will continue to navigate for the rest of her life. Creating your own path within that tension is something I relate to a lot in my own diaspora experience. This book shows how momentous decisions can be layered with love for family atop fear of loss and uncertainty, and how those decisions are often made while also trying to make sense of one’s own culture. This part of the story made my heart ache in ways I haven’t the words to describe.

I really enjoyed the style of writing, too. It was warm, engaging, and evocative at times with some details that really steeped me into what was happening. However, I hated how some Indian foods and terms were italicized. To me, italicizing non-English words is inherently othering and rings like a tacit permission to gloss over those words and their meanings instead of interacting with them as real words and trying to understand them. In contrast, Jumoke Verissimo wrote a really beautiful piece on this issue, and felt that italicizing Yoruba in her work makes people pay more attention to the Yoruba words, not less. Point is, your mileage will vary depending which side of the fence you’re on, and this book uses italics.

Similarly, I didn’t like how the Indian foods were described by equating them with foods White Americans are expected to be familiar with. It rankles me terribly when there’s Google. Again, how you feel about it may be different.

Catherine: …and indeed I do feel differently about it! For me, the way food was described felt really welcoming – it invited me in to taste something new that still felt like home. And that feels in keeping with the way food was used thematically in this book, where it represents family and love and home and comfort and culture, and is nearly a character in its own right. For me, some of the most emotionally powerful scenes in the book centred around the making, offering, eating, sharing, and rejection of food, and the ways in which the characters interacted with food said a lot about who they were.

Layla has this fabulously joyous, sensual attitude to food – she is almost always snacking on something (donuts and dal!) and I’m not sure we ever see her turn down food that is offered to her – she even seems willing to try her aunt’s horrifying fusion food creations. Layla is open to nurturing and being nurtured, and food is central to that – when she makes food for Sam she is offering a part of herself and when this offering is rejected, or worse, goes unnoticed, it is brutal.

Conversely, we see Sam rejecting Chai tea, snarking about the fancy food in the restaurant they go to on one of Layla’s dates, and snatching one of Layla’s donuts, but the only times we see him enjoying food is when that food comes from Layla. For Sam, food is basically fuel, and this, I think, also represents his alienation from emotion and from the people who love him.

(I want to acknowledge that writers from marginalised communities are often only recognised as writing well when they are writing about food or about the pain of marginalisation, which… well, racism in publishing is not really new news at this point, though it would be REALLY NICE if it was history instead. But to my mind, The Marriage Game actually subverts this trope; food is everywhere in the book, daring the reader to ignore its importance, and while it is described in ways that make me hungry, it also carries immense emotional weight. I think this would be a very different book without it.)

Moving on to the things that we didn’t like so much, I had a huge problem with Sam’s career. I mean, I get that it’s a useful way to potentially get access to the HR files he needs, but I find it very hard to relate to or fall in love with a hero whose job is literally to go into companies, recommend restructures and reductions in staffing, and then help fire people. Just, no.

Sneezy: OOOH BOY, STRAP IN EVERYONE!!! So like Catherine, I haaate downsizing corporations. It would have been grounds to DNF this book if it weren’t for the writing, Layla, her family, and their food. Reading about how carelessly healthcare professionals, hospital staff, and researchers’ livelihoods were tossed aside to keep a company afloat with no examination of the plethora of problems in the American healthcare system that would lead to a healthcare company having a billion dollar deficit infuriated me. It especially didn’t help that there’s a global pandemic going on right now AND FIRING HOSPITAL STAFF AND RESEARCHERS SOUNDS LIKE A REALLY FUCKING BAD IDEA.

The lack of ethics in Sam’s goal to punish Ranjeet is not addressed with any nuance. All of Sam’s decent friends tell him that trying to bring down Ranjeet by pounding him with the Market’s Hammer would be unethical because of his conflicts of interest. Catherine suggested that while it’s fine for Sam to gather evidence of Ranjeet’s transgressions (the greatest hits including abusing staff verbally and emotionally, being drunk on the job, being drunk while performing surgery) Sam just can’t partake in determining what Ranjeet’s consequences should be. Sam’s past relationship with Ranjeet would give Ranjeet too much fire power to sue the hospital over whatever they decide. By recusing himself, Sam would be helping make sure that Ranjeet’s punishment sticks.

It was incredibly aggravating that there was also no discussion of how a downsizing corporation’s restructuring capacity can make hospitals systemically hostile to abusers. You know, the ONE thing a RESTRUCTURING company is good for! Not only was there no mention of this possibility, Sam’s hit list didn’t include all the people in power who protect and enable people like Ranjeet, despite Sam knowing the part they play in upholding a dangerous system. It’s why he got out of medicine in the first place!

A huge point was made of whether Sam was fixated on vengeance against Ranjeet for himself or for Nisha, which is valid. However, he never actually has a conversation with her about it, and we never hear Nisha’s perspective on her own story. Instead, Sam’s moment of reconciliation with his family and culture was a conversation with his dad. The Marriage Game is Sam and Layla’s story, and their thoughts and feelings should be centred. That said, what happened to Nisha is her story, and no one’s feelings on what happened to her should take precedence over hers, not even Sam’s.

It was infuriating how so much noise was made over Sam not even asking what Nisha wants, only for the signifier of his growth to be a conversation with his dad instead of Nisha. It would have been much more emotionally satisfying for the arc of Sam’s growth to be capped with a heart-to-heart with Nisha.

And that’s not even getting into all the casually terrible things this book just whizzed by, like domestic abuse and shitty immigration policies. These things happened on the periphery of the story, but I really didn’t appreciate how the story handled what was there. The domestic abuse victim was disregarded completely, and the immigrant was painted as the problem instead of the policies and global systems that shoved that character into the position he’s in.

Catherine: I also found the Dark Moment really hard to take – it was so very, very, ruinously dark, it was at least partly precipitated by Sam, and the fact that it didn’t completely destroy Layla and her family was really down to the fact that Layla’s parents didn’t actually have the priorities she thought they had. There’s a sense of ‘all’s well that ends well’, and I felt as though everyone had been very, very lucky. I’d have liked some more grovelling from Sam, too, though it was satisfying watching him get hauled over the coals (and punched in the face) by his friend.

So how do we grade this? When it was good, it really was very, very good. I liked Sam and Layla together, I adored their banter, and all those dates where the poor guy Layla was supposed to be meeting wound up being the third wheel on Sam and Layla’s lunch date were laugh out loud funny. I really did like seeing Sam’s sister coming into her own and making her own friends and relationships. And I loved the way food was so important to Layla and how it went beyond just being (high quality) food porn into something that expressed the values and emotions of those creating it and eating it.

For me, the core of a romance novel is the main characters and the relationship between them, which I loved – and so for me, Sam’s career choice was actually more of a deal breaker than the poor handling of the abuse subplot, because it felt more central to what made the romance work or not work. I think The Marriage Game gets a C plus from me – my heart enjoyed it, even though my head could see that there are critical flaws. I would definitely read more by Sara Desai.

Sneezy: This is nearly an impossible book to grade for me. I loved the humour, the food, and there were some great poignant moments in here, but there was also ableism, and severe mishandling of really heavy topics. To have so many squee worthy things and DNF flags squished into one book makes for a very frustrating read.

Between the two of us that averages out to a C.
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I love books where the two main characters are competitors or enemies turned into something more and this book is no exception. Sara Desai writes another great rom-com. Layla is using the spare upstairs office space in her dad's building to launch a small business but her dad forgot that he rented the space to Sam the ceo of a downsizing firm. Forced to share the space and subjected to the constant barrage of Layla's family and her eager potential suitors Sam has had enough. But is upset with having to share the space with all of its trappings or because he'd really like Layla's undivided attention. Guess you'll have to read to find out!
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The Marriage Game was fun chick-lit that revolved around Layla and Sam’s marriage game. It was about burden of guilt, coping with loss, desire for requite and its consequences, family, community, Indian culture and cuisine, and love.

Writing was excellent, entertaining and fast paced. It was set in San Francisco, written in third person narrative from both Layla and Sam perspective that gave insight on what was going on in their life and what they thought about each other, making it easy to understand characters and their different perspective on same culture.

It started with Layla’s father writing marriage resume (so very Indian and fun to read), character introduction, Layla’s family background, and Layla returning from NYC to San Francisco to her family with thought of starting her own recruiting company in her father’s office above their restaurant. But problem was his father has given that office on lease to CEO of corporate downsizing company, Sam Mehta and his partner Royce. Her father couldn’t cancel the lease due to heart attack and now Layla was stuck with arrogant, uptight, and handsome Sam. And then Layla’s blind date walked in the office. Turns out Layla’s father had set up 10 blind dates for Layla through that marriage resume. She wanted to try these dates after series of disastrous boyfriends in her life but she didn’t want to deal with it alone and Sam wanted to save her from arrange marriage after what happened to his sister. They made a deal if she found a suitable husband, Sam could take the office but in exchange he would chaperon her on all 10 dates for support and safety. So that’s how the conflict of who would take the office turned into a marriage game.

First half of the book brilliant. I couldn’t stop smiling. All characters were interesting and quirky. Family members were fun to read. I can see my family in them and let’s not talk about aunties and relatives. Layla’s cousin and best friend Daisy stole the show. I loved her sarcastic and witty comments and enjoyed all scenes she appeared in.

Layla was fiery, witty and full of life heroine. Her brother’s death still affected her. She took bad decisions, made many mistakes, but I liked her determination of moving on in life make things right and settle down with a man of her dream. She was romantic and filmy by heart. She believed in love than arrange marriage but that didn’t work out so far and so she was trying blind dates her father had set. But she didn’t anticipate falling for Sam. I liked her growth in book, the way she learned what real love is and taking risk in love to find her happiness and happily ever after.

Sam was interesting and complicated character. He was arrogant, uptight, serious and lived with self-constraint but behind this demeanour was fun, smart, loving, witty, caring and protective person. His conscience was buried behind the drive for justice, guilt, and requite for what happened to his sister. I could understand why he was behaving differently and how much burden he was carrying for something he was not responsible for. It took long for him to realise that and he messed things a lot in book but I like the way he turned around and made things right.

Romance was slow build and passionate. I enjoyed banter between Layla and Sam over office and during dates. It added spice to story. It was lovely to see their arguments and banters turning into attraction and love. There was lot of drama caused by misunderstanding and silliest decision. It was sad to see what Sam did before climax and heartbreak was messy.

Indian culture was at the centre of the book. There were mention of many delicious Indian food and Bollywood references. Everything the plot and character gave the story Bollywood vibe. All those dates were epic, hilarious and so fun to read. I liked this book most for those dates. I liked characters’ view on arrange marriages and relatives’ behaviour. It was apt and realistic. Parents and elders still believe in it and sometimes even force their children for arrange marriage and yes sometimes it turns out unpleasant like it did in this book.

Climax made me a bit tiresome at characters for being silly and dramatic. Why can’t they just talk rather than jumping to assumptions! But events after that made me smile and laugh. It was actually crazy and I loved the big gesture at the end. End was lovely and cute.

Why 4 stars-

Second half was bit long and overly dramatic. Definitely filmy.

Overall, The Marriage Game entertaining, laugh-out-loud, Bollywood style romance with interesting characters and Indian culture. I recommend this book to fans of chick-lit and romance.
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Where do I begin? 🧐

Layla and Sam happen to be “sharing” the same office space.  Definitely not by choice. Sam needs the space for his corporate downsizing company and Layla needs the space for being a future recruitment consultant. Not to mention that the office space also happens to be owned by her parents and is the floor above her parents Michelin-star restaurant. 

Her father has arranged a series of blind dates unbeknownst to her until the first one comes knocking on her door. Soon after the marriage game comes in to play with Sam being her personal chaperone, we are sent on a series of dates that don’t always go to plan. Will she find her future husband? Could her future husband be standing right beside her? 🤷🏻‍♀️

These two have an attraction that is hot, delicious, sarcastic, spicy 🌶 and infuriating at times but boy did they become my new favorites! 

I will say this is one book that at times I didn’t see certain moments happening and thought O-M-G!!! Like really? 😳 

I absolutely loved the whole premise  of the story, Sam & Layla were a match made in heaven and I’m hoping that @saradesaiwrites continues to make great novels like this one!
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This book had so much potential but it tanked in the end. The couple started out so amazing and I loved their banter but then after the 75% mark everything went downhill and I definitely was not rooting for the couple to get together in the end because I can't imagine how the female lead forgave the guy for what he did.
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There was a lot of problematic content in this book. I particularly didn't enjoy the ending. I was also not impressed with the writing and doubt that I'll continue with this author.
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