Series: The Rajes #4
Published by Avon on May 17, 2022
FINAL DECISION: Loved the romance but wish there was more of it and less about fantasy nonprofit stuff that has many pages and little significance in the story. The book seems unfocused with too many ideas and not enough payoff. That being said the last couple of chapters of this book are amazing and almost worth the slog through the rest.
THE STORY: Vansh Raje is the youngest of the Raje family. In his mid-twenties, he is charming and seems to live a charmed life. When he returns home, he finds a new project to dedicate himself to — homelessness in San Francisco. His new project, however, puts him in direct conflict with Naina Kohli. Naina, who is thirty-eight, has just ended a ten-year fake relationship with Vansh’s older brother. Instead, she is dedicating herself to her project to bring independence to women in South Asia. Now the two are fighting for funding even as a new relationship arises between them.
OPINION: I really love the tenor and flow of Dev’s books. She also writes very complex and interesting characters. Unfortunately, as with the last book, there was too much going on in this one. The book felt scattered and unfinished in the end because the stories did not reach a satisfying conclusion.
What I expected to really have problems with — Naina, who is almost a villain in the last book, I ended up having great sympathy for and actually began to like. I even liked the interactions with Naina and Vansh and thought that their romance could work really well. Unfortunately, this book needed more romance and less fantasy homelessness elimination. If a writer is going to focus on social problems, then the story should be seriously addressed rather than living in a fantasy where everything can be solved if people just clap their hands and wish really hard. There was just too much of the pointless charity story and not enough relationship.
Thus, while I loved Vansh and Naina, I didn’t get enough of their story to make the relationship work for me until the last couple of chapters. I absolutely loved those chapters which were emotional and deep and I was left wishing that I had gotten pages about them rather than a dull story about the nonprofit. The couple sparkled on the page in those chapters, but there wasn’t enough build-up on the page before that. I wish I could have loved this book more because I think if the focus was more on the characters rather than the plot, I could have.
WORTH MENTIONING: Younger man/older woman romance with a 12-year age difference.
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE EMMA PROJECT is the fourth book in the Rajes series. This book can be read as a standalone although the series is about a family and so characters from the other books make significant appearances here.
STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.