Cover Image: Incense and Sensibility

Incense and Sensibility

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Member Reviews

I really enjoyed this book. The author does a great job of weaving the worlds together of the two protagonists, which was pleasant due to the immense culture clash between the two. Honestly, it was refreshing to read romantic books that have real life entwined into it, not just the love and overcoming obstacles. The story itself was heart-wrenching for the hero's family and political campaign. I would definitely recommend it.
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When gubernatorial candidate Yash is injured in an assassination attempt, images of his long-time companion crying over him go viral. Everyone loves a love story—but unbeknownst to the public, the two of them are really just friends. That turns into a problem when India Dashwood comes back into his life. 

Holistic healer India fell hard for Yash a decade ago, and thought he felt the same. After he ghosted her, she tried to forget him. But seeing him again, she realizes the connection between them is still there. That's a complication she doesn't need in her life when her mother is sick and her sister is mooning over a closeted K-drama star. 

Yash's whole life has been leading up to this campaign for governor. Can he risk telling the public that his long-term relationship has been a ruse? Will he lose India if he doesn't?

This novel is thoroughly addicting. I loved Yash and India—they've got so much chemistry together! This book is the most romantic in the series IMO, and not as dark as the first two. It's an emotional, and ultimately joyful, journey. 

Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.
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I've been very invested in this series thus far, and have re-read previous titles multiple times and was very excited for Yash's story. While Austen's Sense and Sensibility is not my favorite, Incense and Sensibility definitely gave me a bit more love for the story. I've been intrigued with Yash since he was first introduced, and his relationship with his fiancé, so I was glad to finally see his side of the story. I really appreciated the attention to detail Sonali Dev put into the PTSD that Yash experienced. It was all around a great addition to the series, and one that I'll be re-reading along with the rest of them!
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Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev is the third in a series of Jane Austen retellings. As a JA Purist, I typically pass on the “Read Alike”, so this is the first of this series that I have read.  The description of this one, along with the fact that Sense and Sensibility is one of my favorites, made me curious enough that I picked it up. Incense and Sensibility holds up fine as a Stand Alone, although no doubt having read the first two might have made it easier for me to sort out all the players earlier.
Yash is a bright young friend of the Dashwood Family, and is running as the first serious Indian gubernatorial candidate in California.  It is well known that he has a long-distance relationship with  beautiful, successful Naina with plans to marry someday.  When the novel begins, Yash has just been shot while speaking, the victim of a hate crime.  Naina is in the audience, and the press is quick to capture videos of her rushing to his side sobbing over his fallen body.  Thus ensues an interesting saga complete with cover-ups for hidden anxieties, a female ex-Marine Bodyguard, a Yoga/Stress Management Coach, a Fake Romance Trope, etc.  This was a fun, quick read and has made me strongly consider going back and picking up the first two books in the series by this extremely captivating writer!
Thank you to Net Galley for the ARC for this book.
 #IncenseandSensibility #NetGalley
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As the third book in the series, Incense and Sensibility focuses on Yash Raje. Yash is a politician who arrives to be a public servant. Yash's reasons for struggling with trust were well established in the earlier books in the series, and this is a series where I recommend reading the others first. This book goes deeper exploring how his previous troubles affected him and into realms I haven't seen explored in romance before.

India Dashwood is such an amazing protagonist. She had practiced yoga her entire life and is a incredibly grounded. She is such a great match for Yash. The contrast with her sister China was a bit tougher for me, as China seemed so changed from who she was in the previous books. 

I often have mixed feelings about romances featuring politicians, as I am rather cynical about politics. But the descriptions of Yash led me to be hopeful. I really enjoyed the approach to political service here. 

This book is a wrenching, emotional romance with a very slow burn. It got me in all the feelings. And there's an adorable pug named Chutney. What more could I ask for in a story?

Thank you to William Morrow Books and NetGalley for the advanced reader copy. These opinions are my own. 

TW: shooting, anxiety
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I've read all three of Sonali Dev's Raje books and Incense and Sensibility is as great as the first two. The books are modern takes on Jane Austen novels.  The characters are so well-developed I feel like I know them in "real life". I love the diverse characters and  have grown to really appreciate each  and every one.  While the books are marketed as romances, they're so much deeper.  Some of the outcomes are predictable, but so what, so is real life.  Kudos to Ms Dev for daring to take a progressive stance during these divisive times.  Praying for a fourth Raje book!
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a chance to read and review this book. 

This was my favorite in the series.  I really love everything about India.  Her character is so selfless and warm and thoughtful.  I loved how healing and calming her touch was to everyone around her.

Yashe was not my favorite character but he definitely grew on me especially learning his backstory.  I loved that he just wanted to serve the people and had such a heart for them through running for governor.

It was very well written with endearing characters.
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Heat Factor: This book is like 90% pining. The other 10% is political stuff and a few kisses. 
Character Chemistry: “We had an immediate connection, but then you ghosted me, and now you’re engaged to someone else, but I still have feelings for you.” 
Plot: After Yash survives an assassination attempt on the campaign trail, his family encourages him to learn some meditation techniques from India to help him get back in the saddle. Too bad nobody knows that he and India had one beautiful day of connection many years ago. 
Overall: I’ll be honest, it took me a while to settle into this one. It doesn’t help that the characters don’t even start interacting until solidly a third into the book. 

In reading this book, I came to the conclusion that Sense and Sensibility is challenging to translate into a genre romance in a way that both really captures the original and meets the expectations of today’s readers. Austen’s original is really about the relationship between Eleanor and Marianne (or perhaps, the contrast in the ways they view the world). Retellings, therefore, either have weak romantic plots, or they choose to focus on only one sister and lose the contrast. In this case, the Marianne / sensibility plotline is shortened, and Dev focuses on the Eleanor / sense arc, which sort of bums me out because I love Col. Brandon (but let’s be real, mainly because of Alan Rickman). 

On the other hand, Dev has achieved what I had always assumed was an impossible feat: she made me sympathize with the Edward Ferrars stand-in. 

So, basic premise. Yash Raje is running for governor of California. Some jerk tries to shoot him and his bodyguard takes the bullet, all of which leads to a bit of a personal crisis—which is so not what his campaign needs right now. Enter India Dashwood, yoga teacher, wellness coach, and his sisters’ friend. Also, the one woman with whom he has ever felt a deep and true connection, except they had one beautiful day together and then he never called her. (Classic Edward Ferrars move, if you ask me.) Also of note: he’s been engaged to his best friend Naina for years, except, whoops, this is a fake engagement of convenience. Obviously, India feels hurt by this, but she still feels the connection and won’t turn someone away who needs her help, so she swallows her pride and starts teaching him to meditate. 

There is a lot of angst here. And a lot of pining, because they both feel the connection, but they can’t be together. Yash can’t break up with Naina right after she was photographed crying over his wounded body, and he *definitely* can’t admit to the world that he’s been lying about their relationship for years. And he can’t have an affair, because he can’t cheat on his fake fiancée. All of that would be bad for his political career—but his political career is tied up in his family and his identity and his desires to make the world better. Dev really successfully teases out the pressures that Yash faces and his internal conflict, such that he comes across as sympathetic rather than as a spineless weasel. 

India is more immediately sympathetic, in that she’s longing for this man that she can’t have (she doesn’t know the engagement is fake). She does have some self-abnegating tendencies, but that’s to be expected, given the source material. Sidenote: casting the Eleanor character as a yoga practitioner who purposely works through her meditation practice to calm her emotions makes complete sense.

You might have noticed that I’ve used the words longing and pining and angst in this review. This is definitely a sloooooooow burn, where the sexiest thing that happens is a touch fraught with emotion. While Yash and India have decent chemistry when they finally get going, it took too long to get there for my taste. 

India’s sister China does fulfill the role of headstrong Marianne, and her story is cute if a bit cursory. However, the contrast between the two sisters is less thematically central than in the original, which makes China’s arc feel a bit crammed in. 

Overall? There were some lovely bits in this book, but it’s not my favorite of the series. 

PS: I can’t wait for Naina’s redemption story. I see you, Knightlina. 


I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

This review is also available at The Smut Report.
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Thank you NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishing for the ARC. The author did an amazing job of creating beautiful characters. She made me love India, Yash, China….  But had me angry at Naina and China’s “girlfriend” (I think I blocked out her name, haha). Oh and Chutney is just the best name for a dog. 😂
This was a quick, easy, heartwarming read. I recommend reading it when it is published on 7/6/21.
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Apparently I missed out on Books 1 & 2 of The Rajes series.  Incense and Sensibility continues the saga of The Rajes with Yash, and his campaign to be Governor of California.  It also reunited him with his long lost love India, a local yoga instructor. India's references to her profession and studio were spot on and I enjoyed her character as I teach yoga in my community. 

This slow-burn romance is drawn out to the final pages with India and Yash, and honestly nothing else really occurs in the book which felt a little too long as a whole.  I was also clearly missing some details on the side characters as I assuming there drama played out in the previous books.  

Thank you NetGalley and William Morrow Books for the complimentary copy for an honest review.
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I inhaled the ARC of this book! I've loved this series so much that I couldn't wait for the publication date to read it. I loved it! The Raje family keeps giving me so many feels. I had so many questions about Yash before this book. So enigmatic, so hard to read. And how would his run for the governor's mansion turn out? This answered all my questions and made me fall in love with him. India was a delight. The book is based on Sense and Sensibility, and India is closer to Eleanor Dashwood than any of the other characters in any of the books are like their Austen counterparts. I ached for her. The plot might be a little slow to unfold, but the writing is beautiful and the emotionality carried me along from start to finish.
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Not one of my favorite books. Had trouble keeping the characters straight. Might have been easier if I had read the prior books before this one. Story was just ok. Main characters did nothing for me. Didn’t connect with them. This book did not make me want to pick up others by her.
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I have been anxiously waiting for Yash’s story, and it was well worth the wait! Sonali Dev writes in a way that is relatable and that explores the richness of humanity-she is such a gifted weaver of stories. Yash and India are such a unique pair, and this is a book that I needed to read. Dev’s words somehow recentered me and refreshed some of the hope I had forgotten I held in this past year. 

I received and ARC courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley. The opinions are my own.
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I was already familiar with this author through her Bollywood books which I so enjoyed.  This book which is a part of a series is more serious than the Bollywood books and is a retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility but not totally.

Sonali Dev has give us a modern take on Jane Austen.  There were times when I could see the direct correlation between the two books and yet there were other times when I completely forgot that the basic idea was founded on a true classic.  We’ve been introduced to characters for whom we feel sympathy and at the same time we would like to give them a good shake and tell them to ‘wake up’ and listen to their hearts and common sense but then we wouldn’t have this story if they had.

I admit Sense and Sensibility is not my favorite Austen but I loved Incense and Sensibility because it is different and modern and there is so much more to this story than the original one.  This story is far more detailed into the back history and even the present-day lives of the characters and this is the best way for the reader to understand the why of the characters current actions and reactions

I highly recommend this book and you don’t need to have read the original to enjoy this take on it.

Thank you to The Book Club Girls, NetGalley, HarperCollins Publisher and the author, Sonali Dev for the Uncorrected EProof of this book..
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This early read from NetGalley took a bit of time to grow on me.  I’m giving it 4 stars,but that took a bit to get to in my decision. This is the story of a couple of families in CA, where one is attempting to become the next governor of CA.  That’s a life long dream to become a public servant, but in the process other dreams are put into a “box”.   It is a tale of stretching ones boundaries and the limitations that we put upon ourselves.
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3.5*
Dev returns once again to the Raje family. This time the focus is on Yosh Raje, the brother who wants to be a true public servant. He aspires to become the governor of California and all his focus is on telling the people of California about his plans to better the state and the lives of its residents. His campaign is charging ahead when a fanatic tries to kill him. Thanks to the quick reflexes of his ever-vigilant bodyguard, Yosh is injured but the bodyguard is left near death.

Suddenly Yosh is filled with anxiety. He’s worried about his bodyguard but also about his own safety. His sisters decide that any public knowledge of his fears will hurt his political aspirations, so they take him to see their good friend India Dashwood, a yoga instructor. Little do they know, Yosh and India had a brief romantic encounter that left them both reeling ten years earlier. But neither of the pair is anxious to re-connect.

As Yosh finds it hard to get back on track, he is drawn to the woman who is trying to help him and who still claims his thoughts. Complicating matters is the girlfriend he has been distantly paired with for ten years and who has suddenly become a media darling. Politics gets in the way of Yosh’s personal life but it has always been his number one goal, so he must decide whether to follow his heart or his gubernatorial dream.

Dev has created the Raje family of fascinating characters who are lovable and charming. Yosh and his sisters are delightful as are the Dashwood sisters. If this new book in the series has any downside, it’s in the protracted romance that was also a dominating factor in Recipe for Persuasion. Of course, Dev is following the basic plots of Austen’s celebrated novels so the long-suffering romantic aspirations are a given, but here it is such a focal point. Despite this, the novel is filled with great moments and strong characters.
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A big MAHALO to The Book Club Girls and William Morrow/Harper Collins for the #arc of Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev Having loved the first two books, I did a happy dance when it came up as an early read & snapped it right up. Had my work week been less busy, I would have finished it long before today, but that’s okay as I got to hang out with the characters longer. What sets great retellings of Jane Austen books apart for me is when the author keeps to the heart of the original story but also adds their own spin & makes it a book a reader could enjoy even if they are not familiar with the original. Sonali Dev writes with such passion & love of Austen’s work, it shines through every page. I loved getting to know India, China, Tara & Chutney & getting to revisit the Raje family. I would have told you that Recipe for Persuasion was my favorite of the series but Yash & India may have stolen my heart.. And I will be making some of India’s mango chia overnight oats soon.
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I'm a big fan of Sonali Dev's work, especially this series. After reading the previous two, it was so nice to finally get in the head of one of the most interesting and elusive Rajes - Yash. I loved hearing his story and watching him make the tough decisions to prioritize his own happiness. I did not expect to like India as much as I did, and I loved how Dev decided not to take the easy route of Yash staying with his childhood friend. I loved being the Rajes orbit again, but I wished to spend more time with Esha and the other Rajes, though I loved India's sister and Yash's bodyguard!  Overall, I tore through this book very quickly, and I'm so glad I was able to get a copy!
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Thanks to Netgalley and William Morrow for an advanced ecopy of this book. .

The third in the Raje series did not disappointed.  In fact, I believe this is the strongest so far in the series.  I liked that Dev dealt with social issues more in this book than in the previous ones.  The same issues of family conflict are still there as is the romance.  Another winner!
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Incense and Sensibility is a sweet romance that deals with some racial issues. Raj is driven to change the world. A California state senator, he is the first Indian gubernatorial  candidate that has a prayer of winning.  Racism leads someone to take potshots at Raj at one of his rallies. His body guard is laying in the ICU and no one knows if he will wake up. Raj underwent surgery to remove a bullet from his arm. The race seems to be Raj's for the taking but the trauma from the incident is leading to panic attacks that keep him off the stage and out of the public. Needing help, Raj is turned to yoga guru, stress management coach, and his sister's best friend, India Dashwood. India has problems of her own with a struggling studio and a sick mother and definitely does not want to revisit the broken heart Raj gave her ten years ago. Fate has other ideas as Raj and India work their way through a few snags to a sweet HEA that leaves me wanting to read more of Sonali Dev. My voluntary, unbiased review is based upon a review copy from Netgalley.
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