In Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev, Yash Raje has a problem. While he has been on top of the world, running for governor of California, he has been too driven to take care of his inner self. While this has led to great success, when tragedy strikes, he is emotionally unprepared. India Dashwood has been working with her inner self all of her career. A yoga and retreat instructor, she is prepared to confront all of life’s hardships except maybe those around love. As India begins to help Yash through this trauma, both are surprised by the bond that it rekindles between the two of them, an inconvenient bond given Yash’s relationship status.
I must admit that my first thought when I picked up Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev was that I needed to rewatch Sense and Sensibility to understand how this book took from that work. Once I got around to it after reading the book, it did not disappoint. While there’s not a direct line between the works like there is for a work like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, one story definitely was informed by the other.
The main difference came from the way that the main conflict of the book was structured. Without the structure of courtship and propriety that is present in Austen’s novel, this new retelling had to depend on the characters’ sense of familial duty and honor. In the end, it’s clear where some of the themes came from but much of the beats of the story are slightly different and play out in ways that I didn’t anticipate.
Overall, I found this book readable and the characters enjoyable. Even without the context of the source material, I think it’s a well-constructed romantic story with solid character development and good humor. If you’re looking for a romance to cuddle up with this fall, I recommend this one.
I recommend Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev if you like modern retellings of classic literature.
I received an e-book arc of Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev from the publisher William Morrow and Custom House
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