The Marriage Bureau for Rich People
Last Saturday morning, while rocking my grandson to sleep for his morning nap, I began reading Farahad Zama's novel, The Marriage Bureau for Rich People. The back cover billed it as a blend of Jane Austen and Alexander McCall Smith, so I thought it would be worth reading a few chapters, at least. Several hours later I was almost to the end of the book and found myself hoping that the author had written a sequel.
Forget Jane Austen - except for a female character who is sensible and hard-working and is clearly aware of where she fits into society - this book is much more akin to The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, but instead of crimes and a detective agency, there are people looking for spouses and a match-maker (which might possibly remind one of Austen, I guess).
The novel takes place in India with Mr. Ali, a retired government worker, who starts a marriage bureau in order to have something to do. To his and his wife's surprise, the business becomes so successful that he has to hire a helper - a poor, but admirable girl who helps support her parents and sister with her earnings. Mr. Ali and his wife also have a son who gets into trouble protesting the government takeover of a small village. The novel is interesting and funny in places, but also gave me a glimpse of modern India.
Thankfully (for me), there are at least two more books in this series, and they're both on their way to me now.