From the back of A Convenient Marriage:
It was the perfect marriage… until they fell in love.
Chaya is a young woman torn between her duty to family and her life in the UK. While her traditional Sri Lankan parents want her to settle down into marriage, what they don’t know is that Chaya has turned away the one true love of her life, Noah, terrified of their disapproval.
Gimhana is hiding his sexuality from his family. It’s easy enough to pretend he’s straight when he lives half a world away in the UK. But it’s getting harder and harder to turn down the potential brides his parents keep finding for him.
When Chaya and Gimhana meet, a marriage of convenience seems like the perfect solution to their problems. Together they have everything – friendship, stability and their parents’ approval. But when both Chaya and Gimhana find themselves falling in love outside of their marriage, they’re left with an impossible decision – risk everything they’ve built together, or finally follow their heart?
A Convenient Marriage is SUCH a lovely book. The story spans seventeen years and the first half of the book switches back and forth between 1995 and 2005. I’m not a huge fan of split timelines, especially since we had dual split timelines with Chaya and Gimhana, but after the first few chapters, I didn’t mind it so much.
I wasn’t sure what to think of Chaya at first. I didn’t like her initially. She’s quiet, withdrawn and a complete workaholic. But once I got to know her better, and her reasons for why she was the way she was, she really got under my skin and in the end I absolutely loved her.
I took to Gimhana immediately, he is so sympathetic and at first it seemed like he was just the perfect man without any flaws. The only thing I didn’t really get was why he wanted to stay in his job. As the story unfolded and I got to know Gimhana better, I could see his flaws, which made him even more likeable as a character.
I love reading about people from different cultures. I can’t understand why both Chaya and Gimhana went to such great lengths to please their families. To the point of almost ruining their own lives. I guess it’s because where I’m from (the Netherlands), family doesn’t play such a big role. Sure, I love my family and I wouldn’t want to disappoint my parents, but Dutch culture doesn’t shame parents for what their children do, in the way Sri Lankan culture does (I’m oversimplifying here).
That did get me thinking, though. We all want the approval of our parents, right? I may not have completely upended my life for my family the way Chaya has, but, much like Chaya, I did break up with my first boyfriend because my parents didn’t approve of him. At all. To the point of threatening to cut me out of the family if I didn’t break up with him. Unlike Chaya, I got over that eventually and I’m now very happily married with the man I consider the love of my life, but it just goes to show how much influence families have on our lives.
The more I think about it, the more I feel I have in common with Chaya. Sure, I may not be a workaholic, but like Chaya I also don’t really cook for myself. I loved how Gimhana always made sure Chaya had good food to eat, and made sure she actually did eat it. My husband loves cooking, so he takes the lion share of the household cooking. We don’t eat as exotic as we used to, however, because the kids are fussy and I don’t have the energy to force them to eat something they don’t like (they’re branching out, though, so that’s good).
As I said at the beginning, A Convenient Marriage is such a lovely book. The story is heart-breaking and uplifting and will grip you hard. Chaya and Gimhana will definitely stay with me for a long time.
A Convenient Marriage will be available tomorrow, 13 November, from various sellers. Make sure you get a copy, you won’t be disappointed!