Life simply couldn't be better for Erin Bentley. At twenty-seven, she is engaged to the simply divine Jay Keskar - and every minute of her day currently revolves around planning the wedding of her dreams. Until, that is, Jay's parents announce that they want to 'discuss' things - and this is when Erin's wedding heaven turns into her wedding hell . . . Tavish and Deena are Indian and have very firm beliefs about the form of wedding their only son should have. Of course, they say, Erin will be wearing a sari. And of course all the Indian pre-wedding ritual ceremonies - including tilak, mehendi, sangeet - will be observed. As Bollywood comes to Berkshire, can East eventually meet West in perfect harmony? And if not, will Erin and Jay's dream wedding even take place?
I was pleased to see that Dot was looking for more volunteers to review some books. On her list was An Enormously English Monsoon Wedding, one that I had planned to read because its tagline was ‘Bollywood comes to Berkshire’ and it sounded crazy and exciting!
Christina Jones has written a very romantic story bathed in sunshine and kisses which makes you hope that it won’t turn out to be a clash of cultures catastrophe!
Erin fell in love with Jay, Nook Green’s village vet, when he saved the life of her beloved cat, Florence. Now two years later, they have planned the perfect wedding at the Swan Hotel. And there’s only six weeks to go. They’ve chosen a civil ceremony so as not to upset either set of parents, and Erin has chosen the most beautiful dress. As they stroll through the hotel grounds to meet Jay’s parents, Deena and Tavish, everything in the garden is lovely, until lunchtime when his mother starts to question their plans and makes it clear that she expects them to have a more traditional Indian wedding. On top of this they have brought Nalisha, Jay’s childhood sweetheart, with them!
The village has some other memorable characters: Kam, Jay’s cousin and also a vet; Gina who runs the Merry Cobbler; Uncle Doug who owns The Old Curiosity Shop where Erin works; and Erin’s parents, Rose and Pete, who arrive from Australia. I particularly like the part when Deena takes Erin and her mother to buy Rose a wedding outfit.
Christina grew up in a similar close-knit Berkshire village, and has recently been involved in her daughter’s fusion wedding which, she says, went more smoothly than Erin and Jay’s! Therefore, she had lots of material to base her story on which makes it ring true.
It’s difficult to write about this book without giving too much away. Christina describes it as a ‘Bucolic Frolic’, and it is romantic and funny: perfect to read on holiday or at home by a roaring fire. I really felt for poor Erin and Jay and I was gripped by the story, which has some surprising twists and turns and Bollywood moments, to find out whether Deena gets her way or not.
This is the first book that I’ve read by Christina Jones. She’s writing three more in this series, set in the surrounding fictional Berkshire villages she mentions in this book, and I will certainly be looking out for them.
Jean's Rating: 5/5
Many thanks to Piatkus for sending a review copy!