Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Book Review: The Full Moon Bride by Shobhan Bantwal

The Full Moon Bride by Shobhan Bantwal
Publisher: Kensington
Publish Date: August 1, 2011
Paperback, 352 pages 
Fiction, Women's Fiction, Multi-cutural, some romance
 ISBN: 978-0758258847

My Review:
The Full Moon Bride is a highly entertaining look at life for a woman straddling the line between trying to be American and sticking to her Indian roots.  Since Soorya has pursued her career as an environmental lawyer it has left little time to pursue romance and men so as she has approached thirty she has decided to go the old-fashioned Indian route of bridal viewings to find her a husband.  It's not quite the same as arranged marriage, at least the parties involved get a chance to know each other, but it's still not the same as meeting a random man in a bar.  But it's hard to meet random Indian men of her culture in a bar.  After the first few are pretty bad, Soorya meets Roger who she finds an instant attraction to.  However Roger has other things in mind and thus begins a back and forth play between the two that mirrors what often goes on between two people dating even though Roger and Soorya aren't really dating.  Add in another interesting man and The Full Moon Bride is even more interesting.

While I couldn't relate on a cultural level to Soorya, I could relate as a woman and I found her culture fascinating to read about.  I loved that she took her culture seriously as she grew older.  I also enjoyed the things she learned about herself during the book.  I liked that she was confident, but still a little self-conscious.  I liked the look into her work life as well as her personal life, it really rounded her out as a person and helped the reader get to know her better. 

At times I liked Roger and at times I didn't.  I saw what was going on better than Soorya, but then again isn't it easier to see things from the outside looking in?  I loved how they interacted together.  You could really tell they could have good chemistry.  I also liked Lou.  Lou is handsome, he is suave, the older man, the kind man.  There is no distrust there and there is chemistry there is well.  So I liked the possible love triangle.

I was captivated by The Full Moon Bride.  It was entertaining and enlightening.  I loved Soorya's insights into her life.  From the food, to her parents and grandmother, Soorya shares all of her life with the reader during the book and I think you will be as enchanted as I was.  To me it was not only a tale of who she will ultimately fall for in the end, but a tale of her life and I found her life fascinating to read about and hard to put down.  The Full Moon Bride is a great read for the end of summer, beginning of fall, for those coming cool nights or those last warm days, or really for any day you just want to be taken away to someone else's life for a little while.  Come, enjoy, The Full Moon Bride.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

About Shobhan Bantwal

Shobhan HeadshotShobhan Bantwal calls her writing Bollywood in a Book, romantic, colorful, action-packed tales, rich with elements of her own Indian culture, stories that entertain and educate.
Shobhan writes for a variety of publications including The Writer magazine, India Abroad, Little India, U.S. 1, Desi Journal, India Currents, Overseas Indian, and New Woman India. Her short stories have won honors/awards in contests sponsored by Writer’s Digest, New York Stories and New Woman magazines.
Visit her website at


About The Full Moon Bride

Full Moon BrideWhat makes a marriage-love or compatibility? Passion or pragmatism? Shobhan Bantwal’s compelling new novel explores the fascinating subject of arranged marriage, as a young Indian-American woman navigates the gulf between desire and tradition…

To Soorya Giri, arranged marriages have always seemed absurd. But while her career as an environmental lawyer has flourished, Soorya is still a virgin, living with her parents in suburban New Jersey. She wants to be married. And she is finally ready to do the unthinkable…

Soorya’s first bridal viewings are as awkward as she anticipated. But then she’s introduced to Roger Vadepalli. Self-possessed, intelligent, and charming, Roger is clearly interested in marriage and seems eager to clinch the deal. Attracted to him in spite of her mistrust, Soorya is also drawn into a flirtation with Lou, a widowed colleague who is far from her family’s idea of an acceptable husband.

In choosing between two very different men, Soorya must reconcile her burgeoning independence and her conservative background. And she must decide what matters most to her-not just in a husband, but in a family, a culture, and a life…

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1 Like most second-generation Indian-Americans, I’d dismissed arranged marriage as a ridiculous and antiquated custom. Tying oneself to a man one hardly knew, and pledging life-long love and fidelity on top of that?
“For a modern woman it’s nothing short of insanity,” I’d mocked many a time.
But after reaching adulthood and realizing that everybody in my big South Indian Telugu family was married in that fashion and looked utterly content, except for my uncle Srinath, whose wife was suspected of being a hermaphrodite, the concept didn’t seem so absurd. I figured I’d even give arranged marriage a try. That is, if I could find a man to marry me—and it was a huge if.
So far, I’d acquired an Ivy League education and moderate success as a big-city attorney, but I’d come up empty in the marriage department, perhaps because I’d distanced myself from the madness of the dating scene.
If it weren’t for the fact that I really and truly wanted to get married, I wouldn’t have ventured into the old-fashioned Indian form of torment called bride viewing. Fortunately it wasn’t as bad as it was in India, where girls were often put on display and expected to tolerate their potential in-laws’ scrutiny like cows at a cattle auction.
Here in the U.S. it was just a matter of boy meeting girl and family meeting family in an informal setting. There was generally no undue pressure exerted on either party to marry. But convention required them to be polite and respectful of each other. However, the system was biased in our male-worshipping culture. The respect shown by the girl and her parents to the boy and his family often bordered on sycophantic.
At the moment, standing before the oval mirror in my elegant bedroom with its honey oak and pastel furnishings, I gave myself a once over. In spite of the clever use of cosmetics, the face staring back at me seemed rather plain—ordinary nose, full mouth, curious eyes fringed by dark lashes, tweezed eyebrows. Nothing beyond plain Miss Soorya Giri.
Being the potential bride in yet another bride viewing was hardly pleasant. The mild fluttering in my tummy was gradually escalating into an anxiety attack at the thought of meeting one more eligible man.
With a damp palm pressed against my belly, I waited for my bachelor and his family to arrive. I stood in my bride viewing finery—the whole nine yards—or in this case, six. The sari happened to be six diaphanous yards of silk—soft, glossy, South Indian silk.
My suitor and his family were coming all the way from Kansas City, making the occasion all the more unnerving. Looking outside the picture window, I contemplated if I should make a quick and silent escape into the backyard.

The Full Moon Bride Tour Schedule

Monday, September 5
Guest Post at The Hot Author Report
Tuesday, September 6
Guest Post at The Hot Author Report
Wednesday, September 7
Review at My Reading Room
Thursday, September 8
Guest Post at The Book Connection
Friday, September 9
Review at 2 Kids and Tired Books
Monday, September 12
Guest Post at One Day at a Time
Tuesday, September 13
Review at One Day at a Time
Wednesday, September 14
Interview and Review at The Cottage Bookshelf
Thursday, September 15
Interview at Literarily Speaking
Friday, September 16
Review at Just Another Book Addict
Monday, September 19
Review at Day by Day in Our World
Spotlight at The Plot
Tuesday, September 20
Character Interview at The Plot
Wednesday, September 21
Guest Post at Life in Review
Thursday, September 22
Review at Life in Review
Friday, September 23
Interview at Pump Up Your Book
Monday, September 26
Spotlight at Books, Products and More
Guest Post and Review at The Bookish Dame
Tuesday, September 27
Guest Post at The Story Behind the Book
Wednesday, September 28
Review at My Random Acts of Reading
Thursday, September 29
Guest Post at A Journey Into Reading
Friday, September 30
Review at A Journey Into Reading
Review at Library of Clean Reads
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FTC Information: I received this book from the publisher through Pump Up Your Book tours for an honest review.