Book Review: The Emma Project by Sonali Dev #TheEmmaProject @Sonali_Dev @Harper360UK @RandomTTours

Synopsis

No one can call Vansh Raje’s life anything but charmed. Handsome—Vogue has declared him California’s hottest single—and rich enough to spend all his time on missions to make the world a better place. Add to that a doting family and a contagiously sunny disposition and Vansh has made it halfway through his twenties without ever facing anything to throw him off his admittedly spectacular game.

A couple years from turning forty, Knightlina (Naina) Kohli has just gotten out of a ten-year-long fake relationship with Vansh’s brother and wants only one thing from her life…fine, two things. One, to have nothing to do with the unfairly blessed Raje family ever again. Two, to bring economic independence to millions of women in South Asia through her microfinance foundation and prove her father wrong about, well, everything.

Just when Naina’s dream is about to come to fruition, Vansh Raje shows up with his misguided Emma Project… And suddenly she’s fighting him for funding and wondering if a friends-with-benefits arrangement that’s as toe-curlingly hot as it is fun is worth risking her life’s work for.

My Review

Meet Naina. Naina was in a 10 year fake relationship with Yash Raje which ended when Yash dumped Naina and declared that he was in love with someone else. Vansh is Yash’s brother. He is charming, rich and the darling of the Raje family so much so that Naina jokingly calls him Prince. In return he refers to Naina by her full name Nightlina. After Naina’s relationship with Yash ends she thinks her ties to the Raje Family have come to an end but she couldn’t be more wrong. When Naina thinks she’s secured funding for her foundation that will help millions of women in South East Asia become economically dependent, in swoops Vansh with his own project and suddenly he’s the competition. Inevitably Naina and Vansh end up working together but then the lines between work and play start to blur when Vansh proposes they have a no strings attached arrangement, Nina can’t resist, but is it as easy as it sounds? Will Naina and Vansh continue what they’ve started or will it all end in disaster?

I grew up reading the classics from the age of 11 and always wondered what would happen if the classics were given a desi twist and I think my question has been answered. I’ve never read anything by this author but I’ve always been intrigued by her work especially because in the series she takes on the classics and gives them a revamp. I really liked the storyline. It was refreshing and well written. Having read this book knowing nothing about the Rajes the author has done a brilliant job in bringing the reader up to speed with the family in the first chapter. As a character Naina was very intriguing and from the first time I was introduced to her the first word that came to mind was rebel. But at the same time she was also very oppressed. I can see why she entered into a fake relationship with Yash because it was the only way she could pursue her career and do the things she wanted to do. At the same time being in a relationship with Yash meant that Naina was not under the control of her very domineering father. It was sad at times to read that her father never recognised that his daughter was smart and her true potential. Rather in his eyes her potential was limited to marrying Yash and becoming the wife of a senator. Although she had some support from her mother who was trying her best, her mother was trying to balance finding common ground between supporting her daughter and the demands of her husband. I did feel sad for Naina when her mother made comments to her about the shade of her skin and that if she slimmed down that this would help her find a husband. Sadly colourism is still very rife in the South Asian community and comments even if made off hand can be upsetting.

From the outset it was clear that Yash and Naina were more friends than anything else. The same could not be said for the very charming and handsome Vansh. The teasing and conversation between Vansh and Naina just felt comfortable. Vansh always had a special place in his heart for Naina because she knew how he struggled with dyslexia growing up and always tried to help him even if it meant reading textbooks to him. The connection between Naina and Vansh was definitely more than friends. I loved how Vansh called Naina by her full name just to wind her up. The more time they spent together the connection intensified and there were definitely some spicy moments between them. One of which was interrupted by Naina’s mother. Being Yash’s ex and brother Naina and Vansh had to keep their relationship a secret. But I did commend Vansh for sticking up for Naina because she seemed to bear the brunt of the blame for her relationship with Yash ending. She was blamed not only by his family but also her own, despite being the one that was essentially dumped. So when Vansh stood up for Naina not only was it an act of chivalry but he was calling everyone out for pointing the finger at Naina when his brother was to blame. This book doesn’t focus on one love story but it includes a bonus love story which develops between Esha and Sid. This is the fourth book in series and I’m looking forward to reading the first three books.

If you like books that include friends to enemies, enemies to lovers, secret relationships and the age gap trope then this is the book for you.

Author Bio

USA Today Bestselling author Sonali Dev writes Bollywood-style love stories that explore issues faced by women around the world. Sonali’s novels have been on Library Journal, NPR, Washington Post, and Kirkus’s Best Books of the year lists. She has won the American Library Association’s award for best romance, the RT Reviewer Choice Award for best contemporary  romance, multiple RT Seals of Excellence, is a RITA® finalist, and has been listed for the Dublin Literary Award. Shelf Awareness calls her “Not only one of the best but one of the bravest romance novelists working today.”

She lives in Chicagoland with her husband, two visiting adult children, and the world’s most perfect dog.

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