Review: The Emma Project by Somali Dev

 

Title: The Emma Project {The Rajes #4}

Author: Sonali Dev

Published: 17th May 2022, Avon Books

Status: Read June 2022 courtesy Avon Books/Edelweiss

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My Thoughts:

 

The Emma Project is the fourth (and last) book in Sonali Dev’s popular Jane Austen inspired rom com series, The Rajes, though if, like me, you haven’t read any of the earlier books it is a successful stand-alone read.

The story’s connections to the original ‘Emma’ are generally quite subtle, but still recognisable. Vansh Raje is the youngest of the Raje’s siblings. Handsome, successful and single, he is effortlessly charming, and somewhat spoilt. Knightlina (Naina) Kohli is the aloof ‘Knightly’ to Vansh’s ‘Emma’, a long term, close friend of the family, who had previously been involved in a fake relationship with Vansh’s older brother, Yash.

I liked both characters, who are portrayed with a complexity I wasn’t expecting from a romcom. Naina and Vansh both have rich back stories that are coherent motivator’s for their attitudes and actions.

The pair’s history is an obvious impediment to their relationship, with Naina having been Yash’s (fake) girlfriend for nearly a decade, both have trouble seeing each other as a potential romantic partner, as does the entire Raje family. Vansh is also twelve years younger than Naina, and her (horrible) father, clearly the root cause of her distrust of love and marriage, in particular is disparaging of the age difference.

Much of the couple’s conflict however stems from Naina being forced to share a multimillion-dollar endowment from Jignesh Mehta, the sixth-richest entrepreneur in the world, to her charitable foundation that supports sustainable economic security for women in remote and neglected regions. Naina has a plan for every dollar, so she is appalled when Mehta insists she share his largess with Vansh on the basis of a cocktail conversation.

I liked the development of their romance, it’s not quite an enemies-to-lovers trope but  fairly close. There are the inevitable misunderstandings and miscommunications, tantrums and tears. I liked the heat level of the romance, but I was a bit surprised to find it here.

A secondary romance plot involves another Raje family member, cousin Esha who has an unusual story of her own, and Sid, a photojournalist. To be honest, I felt this thread was shoehorned in, and elements of it, out of place, though there is a loose parallel to the romance in ‘Emma’ between Jane Fairfax and Churchill.

Dev also touches on a number of surprisingly serious issues including domestic violence, homelessness, dyslexia, and (what I thought was) an odd reference to to the BLM movement.

Others will be better judges than I on how satisfying The Emma Project was as a series finale. I was entertained by the story and its characters, though I don’t feel compelled to read the earlier instalments.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anne - Books of My Heart
    Aug 05, 2022 @ 04:13:38

    I enjoyed this much more but I read the entire series in order.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. WendyW
    Aug 05, 2022 @ 10:31:39

    I enjoyed this a bit more than you, but I have read most of the series.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. laurareadingbooksagain
    Aug 05, 2022 @ 23:25:25

    I am thrilled to see that Dev has another book out. Thanks for putting it on my radar.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies
    Aug 06, 2022 @ 00:37:50

    Great review! I actually thought this was perhaps the weakest of the series (although I still liked it) — Incense & Sensibility ended up being my favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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  6. Kathryn
    Aug 08, 2022 @ 05:03:07

    I do have this one sitting on my shelf but thought I might keep it and read Emma first but that will be a slow read so will likely get to this one first. I have read all her books in the series, good to see you got so much from it.

    Like

    Reply

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