One of our recommended books for 2019 is Pride, Prejudice, and other Flavors by Sonali Dev

PRIDE, PREJUDICE, AND OTHER FLAVORS

A Novel


It is a truth universally acknowledged that only in an overachieving Indian American family can a genius daughter be considered a black sheep.

Dr. Trisha Raje is San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon. But that’s not enough for the Rajes, her influential immigrant family who’s achieved power by making its own non-negotiable rules:

· Never trust an outsider

· Never do anything to jeopardize your brother’s political aspirations

· And never, ever, defy your family

Trisha is guilty of breaking all three rules. But now she has a chance to redeem herself.

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that only in an overachieving Indian American family can a genius daughter be considered a black sheep.

Dr. Trisha Raje is San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon. But that’s not enough for the Rajes, her influential immigrant family who’s achieved power by making its own non-negotiable rules:

· Never trust an outsider

· Never do anything to jeopardize your brother’s political aspirations

· And never, ever, defy your family

Trisha is guilty of breaking all three rules. But now she has a chance to redeem herself. So long as she doesn’t repeat old mistakes.

Up-and-coming chef DJ Caine has known people like Trisha before, people who judge him by his rough beginnings and place pedigree above character. He needs the lucrative job the Rajes offer, but he values his pride too much to indulge Trisha’s arrogance. And then he discovers that she’s the only surgeon who can save his sister’s life.

As the two clash, their assumptions crumble like the spun sugar on one of DJ’s stunning desserts. But before a future can be savored there’s a past to be reckoned with…

A family trying to build home in a new land.

A man who has never felt at home anywhere.

And a choice to be made between the two.

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  • William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Paperback
  • May 2019
  • 496 Pages
  • 9780062839053

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$15.99

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About Sonali Dev

Sonali Dev is the author of Pride, Predudice, and Other FlavorsAward-winning author Sonali Dev writes Bollywood-style love stories that let her explore issues faced by women around the world while still indulging her faith in a happily ever after. Sonali lives in the Chicago suburbs with her very patient and often amused husband and two teens who demand both patience and humor, and the world’s most perfect dog.

Praise

“A truly wonderful and joyous book.” – Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author

“A profound, unique talent, Sonali Dev grabs the reader by the heart.” – Kristan Higgins, New York Times bestselling author

“Ideal for romantics and foodies alike.” – Booklist

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors is a vibrant multicultural feast written with a taste for the true nature of the American stew–not a mush of indecipherable flavors but a celebration of its many ingredients. Sonali Dev is a fresh, unique, and wise voice in women’s fiction.” – Barbara O’Neal, The Art of Inheriting Secrets

Excerpt

So much about the world baffled Dr. Trisha Raje, but she was never at a loss for how to do her job.

Telling a patient her tumor was not fatal should have been the easiest thing, but Trisha had no idea how she was going to manage it. How on earth did one tell an artist that she was going to go blind?

Trisha stood frozen in Stanford’s neurosurgery ward, staring down the passage that led to her patient’s room. But instead of the clinical gray floors and walls lined with locally sourced artwork, what stared back at her were memories of marble arches inlaid with peacocks of emerald and lapis lazuli. The smell of ancient sandalwood and salty ocean air permeated her lungs, displacing the mild tang of disinfectant.

This wasn’t the time for falling down the memory rabbit hole, but Trisha needed something to ground her and nothing did that quite like her family’s ancestral home thousands of miles away. Wrapping her arms around herself, she tightened her hold on the memories and pulled them closer. The Sagar Mahal, or the Ocean Palace, with its three hundred rooms overlooking the Arabian Sea, was the seat from which Trisha’s ancestors had ruled the kingdom of Sripore in western India for over two hundred years before British colonization.

As warrior kings, the Rajes had held the Mogul invaders at bay on the battlefield, but Trisha was having a hard time channeling their fierceness. Right now, she related more to how the Europeans had felled her ancestors using the more insidious violence of commerce to infiltrate and steal their land. In a befuddling twist of history, the rulers of the many kingdoms that made up modern-day India—the Rajes included—had found themselves stripped of their power and shoved into the role of figureheads, paying taxes to the British Empire.

In return for his indentured allegiance, the eighteenth maharaja, Trisha’s great—add four more greats to that for good measure—grandfather, had been allowed to retain his title and their beloved home and all the royal properties associated with it. So Trisha had him to thank for spending every single summer of her childhood in Sripore.

Trisha’s mother had insisted upon her American children staying connected to their royal Indian heritage. It was her way of holding on to the home she’d given up when she’d married their father and migrated to America. Trisha’s father for his part had gone along with it so long as their heritage didn’t interfere with their assimilation. To His Royal Highness Shree Hari Raje—HRH, as his children liked to call him behind his back—their royal lineage was their past, it was history. Their identity as native-born Californians was their future; it was the history he fully expected them to make.

To Trisha, medicine was where both her identities crossed over inside her, much the same way that the two optic nerves crossed over at the chiasm—the hallowed spot in the brain where her patient’s tumor was tragically located. Which meant that Emma Caine was going to lose sight in both eyes when Trisha performed the surgery that would save her life. In her five years of performing surgery, this was the first time a patient of hers was going to go blind. The irony was cruel.

The year Trisha turned thirteen, her family had been on their annual summer trip to Sripore. As was his routine, HRH spent most mornings visiting the many royal charities. His pet project was the orphanage for blind children that his father had built just before he died.

Trisha was the only one of the children he had asked to accompany him to the orphanage that day—a rare treat she had rubbed in her siblings’ faces. Subtly of course. The Raje children were expected to be dignified in all things, and tormenting one another was not an exception.

At the orphanage Trisha had followed her father up the gray cement stairs where the headmistress greeted them with a welcome party of children lined up along the hallway in their white-and-navy school uniforms. One of the girls, roughly the same age as Trisha, had stepped up to her. She had reached out and touched Trisha’s face, traced her brows over her glasses, her cheeks, her jaw. Her hand had smelled of paint—chemical yet earthy; her touch had been moist and cool.

“You’re pretty,” she had whispered with a smile that wondrously reached her eyes where her pupils were sheathed in cloudy white film. Her shy voice had been at odds with the bold touch of her hand, the unselfconscious whiff of her breath, and when she had stepped away, Trisha had felt punched in the chest by a feeling she couldn’t place. An empty, hungry restlessness that had knocked her completely off-balance.

For the rest of the visit she had felt like a balloon with a leak, pressure siphoning out of her pores and slipping through the silk kurta her mother insisted she wear for public appearances. She had carried the feeling back to the palace with her, like a parasite inside her body she couldn’t expel.

Hours later, her father had found her hiding in the room she shared with her older sister, Nisha, curled up on the four-poster bed the rajkumaris had slept on since the first maharaja built the palace in the 1600s. Often at night, her brothers and sister and cousins gathered on the huge bed and pretended it was a battleship from which they conquered the world. The warmth of the teakwood posts had a way of stealing into Trisha’s bones, and the quilted silk of the coverlets had a way of anchoring her until she felt invincible.

But that day Trisha had felt afloat on it, unanchored. Unable to bring herself back from the gray-washed walls of the orphanage. From the sightless children working in rows at the long workshop tables under ceiling fans that turned the summer air with a ponderous buzz and scattered the smell of ink and shaved wood around the room. They had stamped and glued, the rhythm of their movements keeping time to their chatter as knickknacks and toys gathered into piles in the baskets beside them.

“What about today bothered you?” her father had asked when he found her. Back then he still cared to come looking for her when she was lost.

Try as she might Trisha had not been able to articulate what she was feeling.

HRH had lowered himself into the armchair next to the bed and waited. The quintessential prince, his spine straight but not stiff, his strength at once shaming her and making her want to be just like him. God, she had wanted so badly to be just like him.

“It’s important to identify what bothers you,” he had said in that beautifully clipped diction that always became more pronounced when they were in Sripore. “If you can’t pinpoint what bothers you, how will you fix it?”

He’d waited, his silence insisting that she move her focus from wallowing in her sadness to defining it, turning it active and curious instead of passive and consuming. Finally, it had come to her. What she was feeling was anger. Rage that only felt like sadness because it made a horrid mix with helplessness.

“They shouldn’t be blind.” She had sat up, blinking away her tears, embarrassed by how they pooled where her glasses dug into her cheeks. “Those children should be able to see. It’s not fair!”

Leaning forward only the slightest bit, he had thrown a pointed glance around the gilded room. “Families like ours don’t get to complain about the unfairness of how fortune is distributed. Guilt is a waste of time. The fact that you have the things you have isn’t wrong. Not understanding what you have is. You do understand what you have, right, beta?” He’d paused until she acknowledged the meaning in his brown gaze. “It’s not just sight or comfort. What you have is that brain, and access to resources. But even more important than that is the thing you felt today. That compass inside that told you something wasn’t right. That is your greatest gift. So what are you going to do about what you felt today?”

She’d drawn her knees into her chest. “I’m not God, Dad. What can I possibly do to make someone who’s blind see?”

He’d smiled then, one side of his mouth lifting. “Well, say you did have that power. What would you need to know to help a blind person see?” He’d held out his monogrammed handkerchief. He only used those in India, where the servants laundered and ironed them and arranged them on the clothes butler with the rest of his dress for the day.

Trisha hopped off the bed, her heart racing as though she’d run up the cliff all the way from the beach to the palace. She took the proffered piece of cloth. It smelled like the palace, like sandalwood and history, and yet somehow it also smelled like her father, all-American like the Californian summer, gravelly earth and fresh-cut grass.

“I’d find out the cause of their blindness.” She lifted her glasses and dashed away the wetness.

“Bingo!” This time his smile lifted both sides of his mouth and lit up his eyes. His proud smile, the one Trisha lived for. He cupped her cheeks and dropped the fiercest kiss on her forehead, making joy burst inside her. “That’s my girl. Go find the cause. Then find out if their blindness can be fixed. Then do something with what you find.”