Reviews

The Five-Day Reunion by Mona Shroff

andrea_author's review

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5.0

When Nikhil arrives for his sister's wedding festivities, he's shocked to see his ex-wife there. Turns out, his mother has neglected to tell her elderly father, who's traveled there from India for the wedding, that Nikhil and Anita are divorced. Not wanting to risk his grandfather's health, he goes along with the charade. Spending time together reminds Nikhil and Anita of why they fell in love. Can they overcome their past hurts and find their way back to each other?

This is a fun Desi romance, with the family relationships and wedding celebration playing an important role in the story. Nikhil and Anita were young and immature when they married, and they slowly come to realize they didn't work hard enough at the relationship. It's wonderful to see them rekindle a love that never really died, and commit to one another on a deeper level than before.

Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.

megatza's review

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emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

I don't love 2nd chance in contemporary, and this was a good example of why. While the breakup the first time felt real, with Anita walking out (for reasons I won't say here because it's revealed later in the book), it also very much felt like breakup one could have been avoided if they'd talked one thing through and also been mature enough to have a tough conversation. The setup for the fake getting back together part though was excellent. We love a matchmaking mama, and Nikhil's mom does it well here. 

I think ultimately what annoyed me was Anita and Nikhil very clearly are in love with one another through the whole book, but they aren't mature enough to talk about it until someone else forces their hand. 

allisonjoneshunt's review

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lighthearted fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

2.0

scoutmomskf's review against another edition

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5.0

Terrific second chance romance. Anita and Nikhil married young and divorced after just two years. They haven't seen each other in the three years since then. When Nikhil arrives at his mother's home for the start of his sister, Tina's, five days of wedding festivities, he is shocked to find his ex-wife there. Furious, he confronts his mother, who confesses that she never told the rest of the family about the divorce. Afraid of the news's effect on her elderly father, Nikhil's mother begs him to pretend they are still married until the wedding is over.

Nikhil is very reluctant to play along. He's still hurt and angry over the way Anita walked away from their marriage. Anita is also dubious, but his mother made her an offer she couldn't refuse. Forced to spend time together to keep up the deception, it doesn't take long for old feelings to resurface. But both of them have significant baggage from their past that must be dealt with before they can think about giving in to those feelings.

Nikhil is the odd man out in his family. All of the others are lawyers, while he is a writer. Despite being a best-selling author, Nikhil gets no respect from his family members. I ached for him because it's obvious that it hurts. I lost count of the number of times he was put down, asked when he'd get a "real job," or just plain ignored. Meanwhile, Anita, who is in her third year of law school, gets all of the attention he doesn't, which adds to his frustration. I could feel Nikhil's determination to show them all, even though he did the same things he blamed them for.

I liked how the time they spent together brought back memories of the good times, which helped make their forced proximity easier to carry off. With a little more maturity under their belts, they also begin to see that neither one was blameless in the failure of their marriage. I loved seeing them open up about their feelings and perceptions during those last days and realize that they'd still be married if they'd been better at communicating. It gave me hope for them when I saw Nikhil's pride in Anita's community law work and Anita's vocal support of him when his family's cluelessness/obnoxiousness got out of hand.

When Nikhil's ex-girlfriend shows up and wants him back, she doesn't take well to being denied. I could tell she would be trouble, especially when Anita got involved. In this case, Nikhil's brother had his back, and I loved seeing them deal with her quickly and decisively. Unfortunately, she didn't go quietly and stirred up quite a storm in her wake. I loved Anita's response.

With the cat out of the bag, Nikhil and Anita have some soul-searching and decisions to make. I loved Nikhil's advice from his brother and mother, which helped him realize he couldn't let history repeat itself. I loved his big moment and seeing that they've both learned from their mistakes. The epilogue was fantastic.

I loved the setting of a traditional Indian wedding. The information about the clothes, food, and entertainment was fascinating. I'm not familiar with the ceremonies, and I loved how each part was shown in a way that I could easily understand. I also liked how each event that Anita and Nikhil participated in brought back memories or gave them the chance to clear up something from their past.

The family dynamics were complex. Nikhil's feelings of being the black sheep were understandable because of how he was treated. His backstory made his insecurity when it came to anything to do with the family law firm heartbreaking to witness. Nikhil's mother irritated me through most of the book because she was one of the worst offenders, mainly to "save face" with her relatives. I liked Nikhil's grandfather. He was kind, funny, and more with-it than most gave him credit for. Nikhil's aunts were a pain and busybodies of the worst variety. I loved his sister, Tina, and her support of Nikhil. His brother Rocky bugged me for a long time but redeemed himself. I liked the younger couples, who seemed more relaxed and fun-loving.

#netgalley

hijabi_reads's review

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challenging emotional funny hopeful lighthearted fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

max_pink's review against another edition

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3.5

A very sweet romance. Loved the Southeast Asian characters and cultural representation. I'm a sucker for fake dating/fake relationships and this fit the bill wonderfully. And the ending was adorable.

alisonb's review against another edition

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5.0

Usually I crack open a Harlequin romance and expect a quick read, but that was not the case with this book, and it benefited the overarching second-chance theme of the story in it's depth and breadth.

Anita and Nikhil divorced three years ago, only Nikhil's mother only told a handful of people in order to avoid feeling ashamed of their separation. Fast forward to when this story takes place and Nikhil's sister is getting married and his mother does not want Dada-her father-to know about the divorce, so she approached Anita with a deal. When Anita shows up at the wedding Nikhil is horrified, but also feels stirrings of feelings that may have never gone away.

This story was so much more than I anticipated. We get to watch Anita and Nikhil go through a gamut of emotions while bombarded by family and expectations. When going into a book like this I always think: who's side will I be on? In this case, I could see how things went wrong from both of their perspectives. At times I didn't know if these two could get past actions fueled by ego, but there was a depth that was exposed through intimate conversations, inner dialogue, and heart-to-hearts with family members that expanded the possibility for reconciliation.

The family played such a large role in this story and I loved that dynamic. When you marry someone, you also marry their family. Finding how that impacted Anita was heart-warming and heart-breaking. Seeing how family played a role in their demise was equally intriguing and relatable.

I could keep gushing, but then I would get into spoiler territory. If you are a fan of second chance romances that take place at a wedding and amongst the turmoil of family theatrics-which turns in the direction of healing and reconnection-I would highly recommend this book!


4.5 ✨’s

bookish_afrolatina's review

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hopeful reflective sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

bookishmillennial's review

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emotional funny lighthearted reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated
Disclaimer if you’ve read other reviews by me and are noticing a pattern: You’re correct that I don’t really give starred reviews because I don’t like leaving them. Most often, I will only leave them if I vehemently despised a book.I enjoy most books for what they are, & I extract lessons from them all.

Everyone’s reading experiences are subjective, so I hope my reviews provide enough information to let you know if a book is for you or not, regardless if I add stars or not. Find me on Instagram: @bookish.millennial or tiktok: @bookishmillennial 

I adored this second-chance, forced proximity, fake dating Indian romance! This is the first book I’ve read by Mona Shroff but it will *not* be my last. 

The details about Indian culture were so perfectly woven in! From the wedding traditions, to the food descriptions, to the elegant wedding attire, to the cultural conversations surrounding divorce, children, or family, Shroff clearly took such great care in representing Indian culture!
 
This is a great example of why representation matters, and how good representation illustrates nuance and layers of any identity. I felt the frustration and exhaustion of Nikhil in constantly feeling second-best when it came to his family, and I felt the deep love and protection that Tina (Nikhil’s sister) had for her older brother, even during a time that was supposed to be all about her and her relationship! 

I felt the shame that Anita felt when admitting how much she missed Nikhil’s side of the family, and I felt the pressure from some elders who constantly questioned when they would have babies! This is why the setting of a wedding is a goldmine, because it’s the perfect mix of stress, excitement, and joy. Family is complicated, but gosh, do these people love each other!! 

The dynamic between Anita & Nikhil was full of antagonistic quips, devastation, & major “the one who got away” energy. However, the journey towards reconciliation was so much fun as it all unfolded. As these two let go of assumptions and accepted the person who stood before them today (rather than the person who signed divorce papers three years ago), they allow their pain & heartbreak to finally be acknowledged & only then, can they decide if it’s something worth repairing. 

This is a closed door romance but there’s plenty of angst, tension, longing, & swoon-worthy moments! Shroff wrote a beautiful story about forgiveness, growing up, & rediscovering lost love. 

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mommasaystoread's review against another edition

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4.0

The Five-Day Reunion is a fake relationship romance between a divorced couple, so it isn't hard to see the second chance coming. Anita and Nikhil certainly have plenty of tension between them - I mean, they didn't divorce without a reason, so they have some stuff to work out, and a wedding is a pretty good place to remember what brought them together in the first place. The story has a good pace, and while there is some angst, it's tempered with a fun and entertaining storyline. This is my first time reading Mona Shroff, but it won't be my last. I enjoyed this one, and it's great for curling up on the couch for an afternoon's escape.