Alexander McCall Smith meets Jane Austen in this delightfully charming Indian novel about finding love. What does an Indian man with a wealth of common sense do when his retirement becomes too monotonous for him to stand? Open a marriage bureau of course! With a steady stream of clients to keep him busy, Mr. Ali sees his new business flourish as the indomitable Mrs. Ali and his careful assistant, Aruna, look on with vigilant eyes. There’s the man who wants a tall son-in-law because his daughter is short; the divorced woman who ends up back with her ex-husband; a salesman who can’t seem to sell himself; and a wealthy, young doctor for whom no match is ever perfect. But although his clients go away happy, little does Mr. Ali know that his esteemed Aruna hides a tragedy in her past—a misfortune that the bureau, as luck would have it, serendipitously undoes. Bursting with the color and allure of India, and with a cast of endearing characters,
My take: 4 looks
Another joy to read! The notion that this is a combination of Alexander McCall Smith and Jane Austen is the perfect summation of this delightful first book in a series. Mr. and Mrs Ali are wonderful protagonists and encounter a variety of people as he runs the bureau out of his home. Being completely ignorant of this way of life, I found the processes very understandable, beautiful, and sometimes comical. The colors, textures, smells and idea of life in this Indian town permeate the text and add a richness to the story that makes it very satisfying.
I will read the rest in this series, and recommend it.