The Emma Project by Somali Dev
**We received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. We’d like to thank Sonali and Avon Books for the opportunity. This book comes out on May 17th**
Reviewed by GGGinny
What I drank: Riesling! I studied abroad in Germany and loved learning about Rieslings, while I’ve expanded my wine focus, it was so nice to have a nice tart semi-sweet wine tonight while I crushed some friends while playing board games (full disclosure, I did lose one game, but I won 2)
Emma gets a fresh Indian-American twist from award-winning author Sonali Dev in her heartwarmingly irresistible Jane Austen inspired rom com series.
No one can call Vansh Raje’s life anything but charmed. Handsome—Vogue has declared him California’s hottest single—and rich enough to spend all his time on missions to make the world a better place. Add to that a doting family and a contagiously sunny disposition and Vansh has made it halfway through his twenties without ever facing anything to throw him off his admittedly spectacular game.
A couple years from turning forty, Knightlina (Naina) Kohli has just gotten out of a ten-year-long fake relationship with Vansh’s brother and wants only one thing from her life…fine, two things. One, to have nothing to do with the unfairly blessed Raje family ever again. Two, to bring economic independence to millions of women in South Asia through her microfinance foundation and prove her father wrong about, well, everything.
Just when Naina’s dream is about to come to fruition, Vansh Raje shows up with his misguided Emma Project… And suddenly she’s fighting him for funding and wondering if a friends-with-benefits arrangement that’s as toe-curlingly hot as it is fun is worth risking her life’s work for.
Drunk Overview: This is the final book in the Rajes series, where we focus on the younger brother and the scorned ex of Yash (the oldest bro in the family). They both work in the non-profit industry and a flighty billionaire pits them against each other for funding. They, of course, fall in love.
Drunk Thoughts: I feel like I’ve had a hard time judging this book fairly. Firsts off, Naina (the scorned ex) came off as unnecessarily cruel in a previous book, and while I understand different perspectives making different assumptions, it made it hard to trust her here. Then you add in an age difference, the fact that it felt like Vansh was pursuing her as a slight to his own family, the power dynamics brought up as they fought over money, and… it just didn’t sit right with me.
- This book also had to deal with a secondary romance (which happened in other books in the series, but not to the extent of this book).
- Instead of allowing the partially-psychic cousin her own book, it felt like it was just shoe-horned in here. This meant that both romances felt a little more rushed and it felt like Esha (the cousin) and her romance were more of a plot point than an actual love story…
- So Naina, she gets the chance to be vulnerable in this book, which was nice. and the book dealt with the fallout of her treating Yash badly, but the ending felt a bit too easy (I don’t want to get into details here, but you’ll understand if you read it).
- Then Vansh (the hero) just felt a little too perfect? This was a book where it felt like most of the issues were made up rather than real.
- I know that with romance novels, the beats are obviously made up and planned out in advance, but so much of Vansh’s story seemed to be due to pure dumb luck, and while I know that’s a point that’s made in the book, it was kind of hard to not see the workings behind everything as a reader.
- I will also point out that this book is based off of the story Emma by Jane Austen, which I am not particularly familiar with, maybe if I was I would have enjoyed this book more?
- Regardless, the random drunken encounter, the “you’re the perfect person” vibes… I just didn’t connect with this book.
- To be fair, I also had very high expectations. I’ve really loved the previous books in the series.
- Which could have been part of the problem. I had little knowledge of Vansh, and too much knowledge of Naina going into this book.
- And yet, I keep going back and pointing out that that was a fairly prominant theme in this book.
- Like I said, I might not be in the best place to judge this book.
- I wish I could say I enjoyed reading it (again, I LOVED the previous books in this series) but I cringed through so much of this book that I find it hard to look past the awkward work/relationship dynamic, the way both the problems and solutions felt like a deus ex machina, and the rushed plotlines (to fit in Esha’s story too).
- I’m not saying you shouldn’t read this book, just maybe reset your expectations?
What it Pairs With: white zinfandel