Updated: Sep 18
Writer Smita Das Jain reviews the book Love & (Mellow)Drama by Manali Desai.
Love & (Mellow)Drama by Manali Desai presents a seemingly endearing yet emotionally poignant spin-off of the author’s debut novel, Love (Try)Angle, featuring the familiar characters of Varun and Gayatri. Set against Mumbai’s bustling city and Pune’s vibrant landscape, this book navigates the intricate dynamics of love, relationships, and personal aspirations.
From the very first pages, the love story between Varun and Gayatri captures the heart. The protagonists are not only relatable but also intriguing, with their individual dreams and challenges adding depth to their connection. Manali paints a vivid portrait of modern romance, skillfully intertwining their dreams and desires with genuine emotional depth.
As the story unfolds, it becomes evident that Love & (Mellow)Drama goes beyond the confines of a conventional romance. Themes of women’s agency, the pursuit of personal ambitions, empowerment, and the process of moving forward are interwoven into the story’s fabric. While the book’s ambition to tackle these issues is commendable, there are moments when the breadth of topics feels slightly overwhelming, causing the story to become somewhat heavy towards the latter part.
Manali’s narrative style shines as a defining aspect of her writing. She breathes life into her characters with finesse, crafting an intimate connection between readers and the protagonists.
Whether it’s Gayatri’s journey of self-realisation, Varun’s evolution in confronting his emotions, and the bonding between Ayesha, Gayatri and Nalini or Abhi, Sharad and Varun, the author’s skilful portrayal makes readers feel an intimate connection with their experiences. This connection makes the epilogue’s impact even more potent, leaving readers in a state of shock and reflection.
As the story unfolds against the backdrop of Mumbai and Pune, Manali’s depiction of these cities emerges as a vibrant element of the narrative. The settings come alive, infusing the story with an authentic sense of place, particularly Pune’s role in shaping the characters’ destinies.
While the storytelling excels, minor editorial oversights are scattered across the book. One more round of proofreading could have enhanced the reading experience. Nevertheless, the narrative’s grip on the reader’s attention remains unwavering.
The book is an unmissable exploration of love, ambition, and the intersections of the two. It transcends traditional romance, inviting readers to introspect on societal norms, personal choices, and the pursuit of happiness. Manali’s ability to seamlessly merge romance and realism is commendable, making the book engrossing.
In summary, Love & (Mellow)Drama masterfully marries emotions with insights. I would rate it a 4.3/5 for being a captivating read that skillfully delves into both the tender moments and the intricate complexities of relationships. The characters linger in your mind, and the narrative’s depth keeps you engaged from start to finish.