The Five-Day Reunion

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Pub Date 25 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 28 Feb 2022
HARLEQUIN - Romance (U.S. & Canada), Harlequin Special Edition

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They ended their marriage, but they never fell out of love…

Law student Anita Virani hasn’t seen her ex-husband since the ink dried on their divorce papers. Now she’s agreed to pretend she’s still married to Nikhil until his sister’s wedding celebrations are over—because her former mother-in-law neglected to tell her family of their split! The closeness they share during the marriage act gives Anita new insight into the man she once loved so deeply. And reignites Nikhil’s feelings for her…

Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.

Once Upon a Wedding Miniseries
Book 1: The Five-Day Reunion
Book 2: Matched by Masala
They ended their marriage, but they never fell out of love…

Law student Anita Virani hasn’t seen her ex-husband since the ink dried on their divorce papers. Now she’s agreed to pretend she’s still...

Advance Praise

"Shroff begins her Once Upon a Wedding series with a beautifully crafted, second-chance at-love-story that not only offers readers an intriguing window onto Indian culture but also deftly illustrates the universality of family dynamics." -Booklist on The Five-Day Reunion by Mona Shroff

“Divorcées pretend to still be married in Shroff’s emotionally charged ‘Once Upon a Wedding’ series opener…. The wedding festivities force proximity between the couple and unearth buried feelings. But can love rekindle among lingering arguments about Nikhil’s workaholic tendencies and Anita’s career path? This question gives rise to a tempestuous will-they-won’t-they that Shroff (Then There Was You) expertly balances with family drama. Fans of juicy, tropey contemporaries should snap this up.” -PW on The Five-Day Reunion by Mona Shroff

"Shroff begins her Once Upon a Wedding series with a beautifully crafted, second-chance at-love-story that not only offers readers an intriguing window onto Indian culture but also deftly illustrates...

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ISBN 9781335408372
PRICE $5.99 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

I wasn't expecting to love this story but I did actually love it.
It is a great book that actually got me reading longer than I had been planning. I read this book in one sitting because I just didn't want to put it down.

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This is the 1st book in the “Once Upon A Wedding Series” and a first read for me by this author and she has done a wonderful job of holding my interest. This is a great second chance at romance; one of my favorite genres. This is a fast-paced easy read, with realistic and funny scenes, entertaining with wonderful characters and flowed awesomely and kept me turning page after page.

Nikhil is at his sister’s in town for his sister’s wedding and unbeknownst to him so is his ex-wife Anita. Nikhil’s grandfather and family members do not know that he and Anita are no longer married. So now he and Anita are pretending to be still be married because of his grandfather’s health. While Anita and Nikhil are spending more and more time together they are remembering happier times together and enjoying themselves.
Can Anita and Nikhil put the past behind them and work on a future together?

I received an ARC via NetGalley and I am leaving my review voluntarily.

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The Five-Day Reunion begins the Once Upon A Wedding series with a romance that touched my heart and several tropes like a second-chance romance, the forced proximity factors, or even a pretend marriage for a good cause years after they officially divorced. Anita and Nikhil were once a young couple deeply in love, but real-life often gets in the way of the romance and their short marriage was soon over — or it had been until Nikhil’s sister’s wedding celebration where once lovers, once married partners will reunite with unexpected to them results before this celebration is over. Nikhil’s mother had never told certain members of her family about the divorce, feeling that it reflected badly on her… and in her elderly father’s eyes, that would have been very true. Now she’s begging Anita and Nikhil to pretend that all is well, they are still happily married to avoid upsetting Nikhil’s grandfather or adding to his health issues with the truth. They will reluctantly agree, after all, it’s only a five-day celebration what could possibly go wrong, right? It only takes a brief moment to fall back in love when one gets the chance to see the one they’ve always loved with fresh, mature eyes… so, yeah, what indeed could possibly go wrong?

I was easily caught up in The Five-Day Reunion for so many reasons. The writing is smooth, the plot interesting, the characters believable in their choices, and the tears or laughter flowed easily as I learned about traditions and celebrations that captured my imagination. It’s a story that’s rich in describing the thought process and traditions of a culture that I’ve only looked in on from the outside. I love to learn new things, it’s one reason why I devour so many novels. So that was an added bonus for me, personally, in Anita’s and Nikhil’s romance.

The road to romance is often bumpy and full of potholes, and that certainly was still the case for Nikhil and Anita. Yet, this time with a bit more maturity and perhaps more open minds they were able to find the love that has always been there and rebuild, not what they had but something new and fresh between them only this time with eyes wide open and hearts willing to bend and understand another view beyond their own. I enjoyed watching the journey as Nikhil and Anita faced the unique situation they were placed in and then owned it as a way back into each other’s lives. I had fun here, and I’ll definitely be on the watch for the next title in the Once Upon A Wedding series.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are my own – good, bad, or indifferent. I was not financially compensated for this review and no expectation of a positive review was promised.*

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When Nikhil arrives for his sister's wedding festivities, he's shocked to see his ex-wife there. Turns out, his mother has neglected to tell her elderly father, who's traveled there from India for the wedding, that Nikhil and Anita are divorced. Not wanting to risk his grandfather's health, he goes along with the charade. Spending time together reminds Nikhil and Anita of why they fell in love. Can they overcome their past hurts and find their way back to each other?

This is a fun Desi romance, with the family relationships and wedding celebration playing an important role in the story. Nikhil and Anita were young and immature when they married, and they slowly come to realize they didn't work hard enough at the relationship. It's wonderful to see them rekindle a love that never really died, and commit to one another on a deeper level than before.

Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.

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Terrific second chance romance. Anita and Nikhil married young and divorced after just two years. They haven't seen each other in the three years since then. When Nikhil arrives at his mother's home for the start of his sister, Tina's, five days of wedding festivities, he is shocked to find his ex-wife there. Furious, he confronts his mother, who confesses that she never told the rest of the family about the divorce. Afraid of the news's effect on her elderly father, Nikhil's mother begs him to pretend they are still married until the wedding is over.

Nikhil is very reluctant to play along. He's still hurt and angry over the way Anita walked away from their marriage. Anita is also dubious, but his mother made her an offer she couldn't refuse. Forced to spend time together to keep up the deception, it doesn't take long for old feelings to resurface. But both of them have significant baggage from their past that must be dealt with before they can think about giving in to those feelings.

Nikhil is the odd man out in his family. All of the others are lawyers, while he is a writer. Despite being a best-selling author, Nikhil gets no respect from his family members. I ached for him because it's obvious that it hurts. I lost count of the number of times he was put down, asked when he'd get a "real job," or just plain ignored. Meanwhile, Anita, who is in her third year of law school, gets all of the attention he doesn't, which adds to his frustration. I could feel Nikhil's determination to show them all, even though he did the same things he blamed them for.

I liked how the time they spent together brought back memories of the good times, which helped make their forced proximity easier to carry off. With a little more maturity under their belts, they also begin to see that neither one was blameless in the failure of their marriage. I loved seeing them open up about their feelings and perceptions during those last days and realize that they'd still be married if they'd been better at communicating. It gave me hope for them when I saw Nikhil's pride in Anita's community law work and Anita's vocal support of him when his family's cluelessness/obnoxiousness got out of hand.

When Nikhil's ex-girlfriend shows up and wants him back, she doesn't take well to being denied. I could tell she would be trouble, especially when Anita got involved. In this case, Nikhil's brother had his back, and I loved seeing them deal with her quickly and decisively. Unfortunately, she didn't go quietly and stirred up quite a storm in her wake. I loved Anita's response.

With the cat out of the bag, Nikhil and Anita have some soul-searching and decisions to make. I loved Nikhil's advice from his brother and mother, which helped him realize he couldn't let history repeat itself. I loved his big moment and seeing that they've both learned from their mistakes. The epilogue was fantastic.

I loved the setting of a traditional Indian wedding. The information about the clothes, food, and entertainment was fascinating. I'm not familiar with the ceremonies, and I loved how each part was shown in a way that I could easily understand. I also liked how each event that Anita and Nikhil participated in brought back memories or gave them the chance to clear up something from their past.

The family dynamics were complex. Nikhil's feelings of being the black sheep were understandable because of how he was treated. His backstory made his insecurity when it came to anything to do with the family law firm heartbreaking to witness. Nikhil's mother irritated me through most of the book because she was one of the worst offenders, mainly to "save face" with her relatives. I liked Nikhil's grandfather. He was kind, funny, and more with-it than most gave him credit for. Nikhil's aunts were a pain and busybodies of the worst variety. I loved his sister, Tina, and her support of Nikhil. His brother Rocky bugged me for a long time but redeemed himself. I liked the younger couples, who seemed more relaxed and fun-loving.

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Solid Second Chance Romance. This is one of those second chance / forced proximity / fake dating types of romance tales, all combined during a five day traditional Indian wedding celebration. The angst between the two leads is palpable, and their own individual motivations are solidly grounded. The Indian family interventions - and ensuing irritating (for the characters) hilarity (for the readers) hijinx - are well done, and Shroff does well to explain the various ceremonies reasonably well in-story so that those not familiar with them can follow along and not get lost in the story, yet not so much that it becomes an academic treatise on each ceremony. Overall a fun, funny, and short-ish (220 ish page) romance that gives a solid break from reality for many, and really... isn't that most of what we expect a book to do? Very much recommended.

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