The Marriage Game by Sara Desai
Format: ARC~Kindle Edition (304 pages)
Published: June 9th, 2020 by Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Blurb: 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.
I have not read this author before but the title caught my eye. I am super glad that I tried it because this book really resonated with me. As a first-generation daughter of immigrants, I could really relate to Layla’s struggle to establish herself as her parents want her to marry.
It was so touching the lengths her dad went to in order to ensure Layla had a guy that was worthy of her. I don’t think my parents would be savvy enough to create an online dating profile and follow up with the responses. The hero, Sam, was really likeable. He was hard working, a bit cynical but he had a sense of humor. I like how he enjoyed pushing Layla’s buttons and how she gave it right back. Enemies to lovers is one of my favorite trope so the whole push-and-pull thing with Sam added many chuckles for me. The actual husband hunt where Sam helped Layla weed through the profiles was really entertaining. I am glad it helped Sam do some soul searching as he had some of his own dating baggage to reconcile. He also had to work through things with his sister. At the heart of this story was the connectivity of family. The author did a great job of drawing the reader into the culture and make it feel familiar. I love that we got a glimpse into the family traditions, food, and views about careers from an immigrant family perspective. It was clear that Sam and Layla had that sexy chemistry even as he was trying to evict her out of the office space.
The writing was engaging, the story was enjoyable and the character growth was the icing on the cake. I definitely will be keeping an eye out for Sara Desai’s other work because this was a great introduction to her story-telling. The relationship journey will keep you turning the page until you finish the book. This was a winner for me.
Special Thanks to Berkeley via Netgalley for the e-book given in exchange for an honest review.