The Rajes, Book 3
From the publisher:
Yash Raje, California’s first Indian-American gubernatorial candidate, has always known exactly what he wants—and how to use his privileged background to get it. He attributes his success to a simple mantra: control your feelings and you can control the world. But when a hate crime at a rally critically injures his friend, Yash’s easy life suddenly feels like a lie, his control an illusion. When he tries to get back on the campaign trail, he blacks out with panic.
Desperate to keep Yash’s condition from leaking to the media, his family turns to the one person they trust—his sister’s best friend, India Dashwood, California’s foremost stress management coach. Raised by a family of yoga teachers, India has helped San Francisco’s high strung overachievers for a decade without so much as altering her breath. But this man—with his boundless ambition, simmering intensity, and absolute faith in his political beliefs—is like no other.
Yash has spent a lifetime repressing everything to succeed, including their one magical night ten years ago—a too brief, too bright passion that if rekindled threatens to destroy the dream he’s willingly shouldered for his family and community . . . until now.
I read all three books in this series last week, and frankly, that says a lot. I loved spending time with the Rajes, and while each book stands alone, I think they are best read in order. This is Yash’s and India’s story.
Yash is the crown prince of the Raje family, everyone’s favorite son. He is brilliant and kind, and has devoted his life to public service. Now he is running for Governor of California. His sister is his campaign manager, but the whole family is involved. When shots are fired at a rally, Yash’s bodyguard takes the bullet meant for Yash, but it passes through his body into Yash’s. Both are taken to the hospital.
Yash has pretty superficial wounds, but Abdul, the bodyguard, is in critical condition. Abdul’s wife is in the hospital as well, having given birth to their first child, a daughter, just two days earlier. Yash is just beside himself, feeling guilty and out of control, and control is his most important character trait. He recovers quickly, and a couple of weeks later is set to speak at another rally. But as he is supposed to go on, he has what seems like a panic attack. His sister’s best friend Ashna suffered from panic attacks, but their friend India was able to help her so they want Yash to see India.
India, her sister China, and their mom live in a building that also houses their yoga studio and handmade incense factory. India and Yash met at his sister’s wedding ten years earlier, and had an amazing connection. They spent the night together, just talking, and Yash showed her around his family’s estate. But he was leaving the next day, so their plans were put on hold. But Yash’s best friend, Naina, makes him a proposition. She wants to work on her plan to help women around the world, but her family is driving her crazy because they want her to marry. Naima and Yash come to a decision; they will be “spoken for” and that will allow them both to do their work unimpeded by their families’ marriage plans. Both families are thrilled with the idea, and it works well for them. They are rarely in the same place, but for ten years they have avoided having to marry. Of course, Yash has to give up on India for the greater good, his political career.
India is heartbroken when she learns about Yash and Naina. No one but the two of them know it is a relationship of convenience, but Naina returns to California where she will be working for a while. She is in the audience when Yash is shot, and the picture of her crying over his body goes viral. Naina wants to get married because she thinks it will be best for the careers. There is no love there; they tried having sex a few times but it wasn’t good. This will be a marriage of convenience, but Yash has had it. He is tired of living the lie, and he certainly doesn’t want to move forward into a marriage. But Naina lets slip to the media that they are engaged, and he doesn’t now how to get out of it.
Meanwhile, Yash goes to India for help. She is not of a mind to help the man who broke her heart, but India is a kind soul and would never refuse to help someone who needed her. As their relationship deepens, Yash is torn and cannot figure out how to get out of the mess he finds himself in, especially when he is leading the polls so close to the election.
One of the reviews of this book that I read described it as “West Wing meets Jane Austen” and while that is quite a stretch, the politics are an important part of the story. It seems hopeless that Yash and India will ever be able to get together, but have no fear, they get their happy ending. I loved this latest entry into this wonderful series, so now I have to patiently wait for the next Sonali Dev book. Something to look forward to!
8/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
INCENSE AND SENSIBILITY by Sonali Dev. William Morrow Paperbacks (July 6, 2021). ISBN: 978-0063051805. 400 pages.