…And it is good!
There are a few writers who enrich your life with their words, stories and vivid imagination. Then there are writers whose books you actively wish you could have written. And the last, a very rare breed of writers, whom you want to befriend just because they write stories you wish you’d written that enrich your life.
Shilpa Suraj is that rare breed of writer.
In her second M&B romance Rescued by Love (which I read first on a personal request from Shilpa) we get to meet that hero we all love to fall in love with — Lt. Col. Arjun Malhotra. Tough, stoic, handsome and with a heart as gooey as melted chocolate. He rescues the heroine Naina from a kidnapping in the harsh terrain of Ladakh (I cannot help but think of Kingdom Come and Krivi Iyer) and she falls for his particular kind of bravery instantly.
He is exactly that perfect.
Naina has been the cossetted, pampered and yet unloved daughter of – a man who will break rather than bend as he sentences a notorious terrorist to death and has his daughter kidnapped in retribution. He is upset with her for getting into this terrible situation instead of being sick with worry over her safety and life. Her mother is no better, kowtowing to the father’s every whim instead of speaking her own mind and insisting that the daughter do the same: Marry an ‘appropriate’ guy that her father has picked out so she can live a comfortable life.
In her first act of rebellion, Naina goes to Ladakh and promptly gets taken hostage and then rescued by yummy Arjun and his awesome colleagues. And over the course of the trek that brings her back home, she finds her heart stolen by the soldier who puts duty and honor above everything else. The very thing that attracts her to him is the very thing that will keep them apart.
It’s a delicious dilemma that is further aided by Naina’s refusal to bend down to her father’s dictates as she is finally dumped back home with a broken heart and stubborn hope of changing her own future.
If I reveal any more, I risk giving out spoilers and I would like to avoid that. Suffice it to say that when Naina grows a spine and meets Arjun again in vastly different circumstances (of course, they do!) the drama and tension are even higher than they were amid all the bullets in Ladakh.
Falling in love is, after all, more dangerous than being rescued from militant terrorists.
The thing I loved the most about Rescued is its simple language which grabs you by the throat from scene one and refuses to let go till you reach the end. The other thing is the character growth arc of Naina from a doormat personality with no clue about her own desires to a woman who makes the right choices for the right reasons. And well, if I gush any more about Arjun I will be accused of biased favoritism, but Shilpa, seriously couldn’t you have at least given him a mole or something to detract from that hero-like perfection?
I also love that the mom has been relegated to a secondary character with no name at all, signifying how little impact she has on her daughter’s life and her husband’s commanding presence, not to mention Aditya. Read him, y’all. You’ll want him to have his own book, guaranteed.
If there is a tiny wrinkle with the book, I’d say that it has too few moments of passion (and one very ill-timed one) but it takes absolutely nothing away from the story or its characters.
Four and a half stars (Half a star taken for the minimal sex scenes)