cover image Dating Dr. Dil

Dating Dr. Dil

Nisha Sharma. Avon, $15.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-300110-7

Sharma (Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance) half-heartedly retells The Taming of the Shrew in this tepid rom-com about 30-year-old, Indian American career woman Kareena Mann, who has “the entire New Jersey South Asian population” hounding her to get married. Kareena wants true love, but she also wants to buy from her father the house her late mother built. This goal is within reach using the wedding fund her mother started for her, but her traditionally minded father refuses to give Kareena the money until she’s engaged. Prem Verma, the local TV show host better known as Dr. Dil, needs money to build a community health center, and his mother, too, will pay him to get married. After the pair’s televised argument about love goes viral, they agree to fake a relationship to get the money from their parents. Though well-grounded in Desi culture, the novel’s engagement with The Taming of the Shrew is meager at best, throwing out most of the plot and themes. It’s not quite successful on its own terms either: flashbacks to Kareena and Prem’s improbably all-inclusive conversation during their drunken first meeting ruin the pace of many scenes, and the ever-present interstitial of an Indian advice columnist adds little. Sharma took an ambitious swing and missed. Agent: Joy Tutela, David Black Literary. (Feb.)