“Love doesn't always hit like a thunderbolt. Sometimes it can grow quietly in the background until one day you realize it is there.” ― Sara Desai, The Marriage Game
Last year I read a book titled The Dating Plan by Sara Desai. It was a great romcom (I gave it four stars), but I didn't realize that it was part of a series until just recently. My mom had The Singles Table checked out from the library and when I went to see if I had read it, I saw that it was the third book in the series and that I had already the second book. I was shocked! So, instead of reading The Singles Table right away, I decided to start back at the beginning with The Marriage Game.
The Marriage Game's main characters are Layla Patel and Sam Mehta. Layla has recently moved back to San Francisco, unbeknownst to her family, and when she surprises them with the news, her father has a heart attack. Right before his heart attack, he tells Layla that she can use the office above the family restaurant to start her new business. Layla is working at the office when a stranger comes in, telling her that she is trespassing and needs to leave. Turns out that Layla's dad has already leased the office out to Sam and his business partner. Both Layla and Sam refuse to evacuate the office, so they come up with a deal aka the marriage plan.
Layla is going to go on a date with all 10 men her father has picked out for her to see if any are husband material. Sam will act as chaperone on said dates. If Layla finds her perfect match and agrees to get married, Sam wins and gets to keep the office. If Layla does not find a husband, then she will be able to keep the office. Let's just say, in this case, parents don't always know best. As Layla goes on dates, and Sam tries to avenge his sister, the pair begin to create a bond between them. Will both Layla and Sam end up winning in the end?
The Marriage Game is a very cute book, especially if you're looking for a book that makes you laugh, cringe (in a good way), and is an easy read. There were many parts of this book where I literally laughed out loud. Some of my favorite parts of this book are the dates that Layla goes on with Sam as a chaperone, especially the date with the CIA agent. I'm still not sure whether or not to believe that blind date!
However, Sam can be an arrogant ass and, even though he's trying to do what he thinks is right, has some major boundary issues when trying to avenge his sister who became paralyzed in an accident. He's also rude when it comes to other people at times. For example, the way he talks to the blind dates, or whispers to Layla at a volume that is definitely not a whisper talking down about the dates. While it's nice to have a man who speaks his mind and sticks up for his love interest, this isn't the type of romance book where I feel the asshole alpha male character fits well.
I also loved the setting of the end of the book. It showed that Sam has grown to know Layla very well, and wants her to be happy and have her proposal go in a way that makes her feel comfortable and not pressured to say yes. The whole family is involved and supports Layla, and I love that Sam can finally open his heart once again by the end of the book.
Overall, I gave The Marriage Game three stars, and while I haven't finished this series, I'll take my chances on the third book, The Singles Table, and recommend all three books should be added to your TBR list. If you’d like to see what I’m reading now, check out my Goodreads or follow us on Instagram and Facebook! If you’re excited to see what other topics we’ll be covering in the coming months, make sure to subscribe. Thanks for reading with me!