ARC Review: Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma

Nisha Sharma’s hilarious new romantic comedy inspired by The Taming of the Shrew features a love-phobic TV doctor who must convince a love-obsessed homebody they are destined to be together.

Kareena Mann dreams of having a love story like her parents, but she prefers restoring her classic car to swiping right on dating apps. When her father announces he’s selling her mother’s home, Kareena makes a deal with him: he’ll gift her the house if she can get engaged in four months. Her search for her soulmate becomes impossible when her argument with Dr. Prem Verma, host of The Dr. Dil Show, goes viral. Now the only man in her life is the one she doesn’t want.

Dr. Prem Verma is dedicated to building a local community health center, but he needs to get donors with deep pockets. The Dr. Dil Show was doing just that, until his argument with Kareena went viral, and he’s left short changed. That’s when Kareena’s meddling aunties presented him with a solution: convince Kareena he’s her soulmate and they’ll fund his clinic.

Even though they have conflicting views on love-matches and arranged-matches, the more time Prem spends with Kareena, the more he begins to believe she’s the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. But for Prem and Kareena to find their happily ever after, they must admit that hate has turned into fate. 

When I first saw Nisha’s publishing deal announcement that she was writing a series of desi romantic retellings of Shakespeare’s stories, I was immediately intrigued and have been waiting for one to release since. But I also have no clue about the plot of Taming of the Shrew, so I can’t comment anything on how close or not it is to the original. I can just say it stands very well on its own.

This was quite enjoyable to read all the way through. Nisha’s writing has a way to make you feel good and that’s what I felt for the most part. We have a sassy and true romantic at heart heroine Kareena who is happy to be working in the field that makes her happy even if her pay doesn’t live up to desi parents’ expectations. And Prem is a cardiologist who believes love only increases the risks for heart health. How these two come together is pretty explosive and funny, but one undeniable thing is that their chemistry is off the charts. She is a strong independent woman who knows what she wants and will not lower her standards just because she is thirty. And despite whatever misgiving he has about love as a concept, Prem is a considerate, attentive and respectful guy and they seemed so perfect together. They both also had a couple of amazing bffs and I have a feeling we might see them getting together in the upcoming books of this series.

But my problem with the book has to do with the families. Firstly, because this series is titled “If Shakespeare was an Auntie”, I’m glad it depicted four delightful aunties who could be meddlesome as expected but also sweet and a bit more progressive than I would have thought. But it’s mostly Kareena’s family that infuriated me. Bindu, her younger sister is a full on Bridezilla and always taking advantage of her elder sister, disrespecting her but expecting only affection in return. But I liked how Kareena decided to deal with her towards the end.

But it’s both her father and grandma who were typical desi elders taunting Kareena for her choices and emotionally blackmailing her to get what they wanted. At this time in my life, I’ve realized that contemporary (or maybe even historical) romances don’t work for me because I’ve become too cynical. Even though I can still appreciate them when I need some fun in my life, I’ve also understood that I should stay far away from desi romances. While it’s cool to see protagonists like myself on page, it’s very hard to listen to the elders on page regurgitate the same nonsense that I hear everyday irl from my family, and I absolutely have no interest in reliving all of it while reading as well, because books are my only source of joy these days.

Anyways, let me not dampen anyone else’s mood with my problems. This is a super fun romcom with interesting characters, sexy chemistry, great friends and some cool aunties and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for something like that. It’ll probably take a few months or an year for the next book to release and I hope I will be in a much better headspace to appreciate a desi romance novel by then.

PS: Thank you to Avon Books and Netgalley for providing me with this advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.

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