#BookReview : The Marriage Game by Sara Desai

The Marriage Game by Sara Desai
Publication Date : June 9th 2020
Publisher : Berkley
Genre : Chick-lit / Romance
Pages : 304

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A high stakes wager pits an aspiring entrepreneur against a ruthless CEO in this sexy romantic comedy.

After her life falls apart, recruitment consultant Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco. But in the eyes of her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, she can do no wrong. He would do anything to see her smile again. With the best intentions in mind, he offers her the office upstairs to start her new business and creates a profile on an online dating site to find her a man. She doesn’t know he’s arranged a series of blind dates until the first one comes knocking on her door…

As CEO of a corporate downsizing company Sam Mehta is more used to conflict than calm. In search of a quiet new office, he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he’s forced to share his space with the owner’s beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, and a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life.

As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm and sparks fly. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam and Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***

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.


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.

Book Links: Goodreads | |
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I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about this book and my reviewhave you read this book already or going to add it to TBR. Which is your favourite book featuring Indian culture?

Happy Reading!

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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”


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