Author: Farah Heron
Publication Date: 02 March 2021
Genre: Adult Fiction – Romantic Comedy
Reena Manji doesn’t love her career, her single status, and most of all, her family inserting themselves into every detail of her life. But when caring for her precious sourdough starters, Reena can drown it all out. At least until her father moves his newest employee across the hall–with hopes that Reena will marry him.
But Nadim’s not like the other Muslim bachelors-du-jour that her parents have dug up. If the Captain America body and the British accent weren’t enough, the man appears to love eating her bread creations as much as she loves making them. She sure as hell would never marry a man who works for her father, but friendship with a neighbor is okay, right? And when Reena’s career takes a nosedive, Nadim happily agrees to fake an engagement so they can enter a couples video cooking contest to win the artisan bread course of her dreams.
As cooking at home together brings them closer, things turn physical, but Reena isn’t worried. She knows Nadim is keeping secrets, but it’s fine— secrets are always on the menu where her family is concerned. And her heart is protected… she’s not marrying the man. But even secrets kept for self preservation have a way of getting out, especially when meddling parents and gossiping families are involved.
The quickest way to pull me into a romance story is by dangling that fake dating/dating out of convenience trope in front of my face, which is exactly what Accidentally Engaged does.
At 31 years old, Reena Manji has a job in finance that she hates, overbearing Indian parents who want to control every aspect of her life, and a new neighbor named Nadim who quite literally is the man her parents have chosen for her to marry. The one thing that Reena can control? Her love of bread making…and she’s damn good at it.
Following an unexpected night out after Reena is laid off (yet again), Reena and Nadim become friends (without her parents knowledge) and decided to enter a cooking contest that features couples. These two decide to pretend to be engaged, and of course, nothing will go wrong…LOL.
I really enjoyed Reena as a character because to be honest, her life is a mess. I am here for normalizing messiness and not being put together in adulthood. Reena has had several failed relationships, her career is at a standstill, and her family is a constant source of stress. It was just all so relatable and authentic.
My favorite part of the book was all of the rich descriptions of Indian food (which included the history of the dishes!) and when Reena would cook said dishes alongside Nadim. I definitely found myself drooling over the pages at several points. I love that the author included the Zanzibar egg curry recipe at the back of the book because my spouse and I will most definitely be cooking it!
I’m not desi nor Tanzanian, so I can not speak to this from a point of my own experiences. Rather, I appreciated the time the author took to continually infuse the Gujarati-Tanzanian culture throughout this story.
As far as the romance went, I enjoyed the chemistry between Reena and Nadim. It never felt forced, and you could tell that their personalities complement one another. However, as someone who is a fan of steam, I really wish we got to see those scenes unfold on page versus the fade to black approach, but that’s just a personal preference.
My biggest criticism of the book is that I thought that the last 20% or so was a bit rushed. I felt like we were hurried to our HEA.
Overall, if you’re looking for a fun, light-hearted romantic comedy that features TONS of incredible food then definitely pick this one up!
Thank you to Forever for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.