Nithya, a vivacious, intelligent and driven college senior has always known what she has wanted: a successful career in medicine and the love of her family. She’s even come to terms with the idea of an arranged marriage, a tradition her conservative Indian family has held up for thousands of years.
When a night of partying puts her on a collision course with danger, Nithya’s entire life changes.
Enter James St. Clair, the smart, challenging and heartbreakingly handsome American.
As Nithya and James fall in love, she questions the future she and her parents have always planned. Now, Nithya has a choice to make: become a doctor and a good Indian bride, or step away from her family and centuries of culture to forge her own path.
The decision she comes to takes her on a journey that transforms how she sees her future, her relationships with loved ones, and how she learns to put herself back together when even her best-laid plans fall apart.
Do you remember that time in life when you were forced to make a choice between what your heart thinks you need versus the culture and traditions you have grown up with, the very ones that gave your life direction? Annika Sharma did a wonderful job at creating a beautiful, yet heart wrenching story for the readers that will allow you to strip away the labels society has placed on people and begin to see the real human heart behind the mask.
Nithya is a beautiful and independent Indian woman yet she is fully aware that the traditions of her family that have been carried on for years will more than likely direct her future path. She is going to college to become a doctor because that is what is expected from people in her culture. She has Indian friends, a close relationship with her parents and a life laid out in front of her that can provide success and value. She was willing to give her life to the culture of her heritage because she was taught that is what a young Indian woman is supposed to do. In her heart she knows that she would be better off if she married a man from her own cultural beliefs, her parents would feel better about it since they don’t want to pick her mate but what is she going to do with the feelings she has for one American man that occupies a piece of her heart?
Now she is faced with the fact that what is expected from her might not be parallel with what her heart desires. She is sure she can handle the internal battle, until more road blocks appear that could bring shame and disappointment to her family. Once you are on that road do you give up what you have worked for or do you try to repair the damage done? Do you allow your heart to take control and guide you to your desires or let the love for your parents’ guide you back to the path they have set out for you?
The Rearranged Life is not a fluffy romance, which I was very excited to realize. This reads more of a realistic story that was done in a way I could relate to, even though I am not Indian. I gained so much from learning about their culture and being able to place the same emotions I had when I was faced with such choices in my own life. I finished this book understanding that situations could be very different for Nithya and me, but the emotional struggles are very similar, proving we are all human with hearts that can be broken, minds that can be confused and boundaries set for us by traditions, religion and cultures that are very hard to turn away from at times. Annika did a great job at keeping this book realistic. There is no clear cut winner or loser, not good versus evil. What you are about to read is a story of real parents who make mistakes but the motive for their choices are always out of pure love for their child. It is about a young woman’s heart that battles with her head, her dreams versus her reality.
So many choices need to be made by Nithya and each opinion she gains only muddies the water a bit more for her. She will be forced to come to terms with what she wants her life to be, whose expectations she will fulfill and I could feel every tug and pull at her heart with this well written story.