Busted in Bollywood

Busted in Bollywood - Nicola Marsh Don’t be confused by the title of Nicola Marsh’s zany comedic romance Busted in Bollywood, it’s heroine Shari Jones doesn’t get arrested. Shari’s best-friend Amrita “Rita” Muthu’s parents have arranged her marriage to Rakesh Rama, the son of a wealthy Mumbai family. Rita wants no part of it and convinces buddy Shari to fly to Mumbai, India impersonate her and foil the whole marriage to the stooge plan.

Shari is going through a rough time. She has recently broken up with her married lover who also provided lodging and he was her boss. So, not only did the relationship end, she also lost her job and home. Talk about a triple whammy! Shari moved in with Rita after her personal train wreck and three months later, she still hasn’t found work. Shari is smart and assertive and Rita figures if anyone can get her out of this mess her friend can. So, off to Mumbai Shari goes, but things don’t quite work out as planned.

Readers, like Shari are given quite an introduction to the chaos and bedlam that is Mumbai. Rita’s Auntie Anjali is the girls partner in crime and she, and her driver Buddy, meet Shari at the airport. A hair raising car ride through the city to “Auntie’s” home ensues. Nicola Marsh writes vivid descriptions laced with hilarious sarcastic dialogue that had me roaring with laughter. Besides eating, Anjali’s other obsession is Bollywood movies which surfaces more as Shari is shown the studios and introduced to what can be best be described as a cultural icon.

Rakesh proves to be handsome, intelligent and quite likable, and as Shari gets to know him it’s apparent he has a lot in common with Rita. Oh, and he is also savvy and very rich. During their first introduction at an enormous family welcoming party Rakesh takes his “intended” aside and lets her know that the jig is up. Rakesh knows she is not Rita, discovered through online investigation made available through his business. Busted! Surprisingly, to save Rita and the two families face, Rakesh agrees to support the girls ruse. Further, he informs her he has every intention of meeting Rita. Rakesh is intrigued by Rita’s ingenuity. *waggles brows*

Here is a little snippet to let you in on some of the fun. Rakesh and Shari are nattering at each other about favorite movies during a car ride to the Bollywood Studios and Auntie has had enough of the nonsense:

I shook my head. My nerves were shot, courtesy of confronting Drew shortly. I wasn’t in the mood for Anjali to regale us with whatever tale had elicited those tears.

“Are we there yet?” I changed the subject, glancing out the window on endless barren land, people foraging on the roadside, and an all- pervading dust that covered everything in a red haze.

Rakesh chuckled. “You sure know how to impress a guy. Name- this-movie games, are we there yet? Conversation, and that sullen pout.”

“Who said I’m trying to impress you?”

He blew me a kiss and I couldn’t help but smile. “Is that any way to talk to your number one guy? Your betrothed? Your fiancé? The man of your dreams? Your—

“Okay, okay. I get the picture.” Wiseass, I mouthed, aware we had to maintain the façade for Buddy—loose lips sink ships and I had no intention of letting Rita’s ship go the way of the Titanic—and wondering exactly how far I’d have to go before the end of this trip.

Busted in Bollywood © Nicola Marsh

Drew Lansford, is a Brit and Rakish’s partner who sees Shari as a gold-digger out to deceive and take advantage of his friend. Drew is hot! A Hugh Grant look alike, he is sexy, world traveled, rich and polished. Things get off to a rocky start between the hero and heroine of this novel considering the wacky circumstances surrounding their introduction but feelings change once Drew discovers Shari’s real motivations. Despite their initial animosity major sexual chemistry brews between these two.

Despite the fact he knew I was a phony and rubbed me the wrong way after one meeting, an irrational, inexplicable, intense, mind- numbing lust stabbed through my veneer of indifference and made me want to fling open the car door and run toward him.

Sheesh, I think the drama of being here was getting to me already.

Busted in Bollywood © Nicola Marsh

There are a number of hilarious e-mail exchanges between Shari and Rita during her time in Mumbai. I have to say Rita is a weapon, I love stories involving strong female friendships, I find it adds depth to a storyline. Shari and Rita’s camaraderie and support for one another shines through.

Rakish and Drew are big investors in Bollywood movie productions, and references to this billion dollar business are consistent (hence the title) throughout the story. While reading Busted in Bollywood I couldn’t help but think of the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” as the author weaves lush descriptions of Hindi culture and family dynamic into the narrative. Busted in Bollywood is told in the first person by Shari, and the dialogue and introspection is full of witty quips and dry sarcasm. All around good fun! Readers can look forward to a two pronged romance. Shari and her Brit eventually do become involved, but Rita, much to her surprise also finds happiness with the fellow she once viewed with disdain. I thoroughly enjoyed this unique, fast-paced laugh out loud contemporary romance. Shari’s previous relationship left her confidence in tatters, and her crazy, impulsive trip to Mumbai proves to be a life changing experience, in more ways then one.

4.5/5 stars.
Review posted at Book Lovers Inc.