Love Marriage

A BBC 2 Between the Covers Book Club Pick and Sunday Times Bestseller

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Pub Date 3 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 3 Feb 2022

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'Rich, sensitive and gloriously entertaining' Tash Aw, Times Literary Supplement

'An utterly unputdownable exploration of modern love'

'As engrossing and enjoyable as Brick Lane' Sunday Times

Yasmin Ghorami has a lot to be grateful for: a loving family, a fledgling career in medicine, and a charming, handsome fiancée, fellow doctor Joe Sangster.

But as the wedding day draws closer and Yasmin's parents get to know Joe's firebrand feminist mother, both families must confront the unravelling of long-held secrets, lies and betrayals.

As Yasmin dismantles her own assumptions about the people she holds most dear, she's also forced to ask herself what she really wants in a relationship and what a 'love marriage' actually means.

Love Marriage is a story about who we are and how we love in today's Britain - with all the complications and contradictions of life, desire, marriage and family. What starts as a captivating social comedy develops into a heart-breaking and gripping story of two cultures, two families and two people trying to understand one another.

'A glorious tapestry of modern British family life' Metro

'A surefire hit' Observer

'Wildly entertaining ... a bold and generous book' Financial Times

'Big-hearted, wry and tender' Harper's Bazaar

'Absolutely terrific ... genuinely touching' Jenny Colgan, Spectator

'Gloriously readable, acute, funny and sympathetic' Daily Mail




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ISBN 9780349015484
PRICE £18.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

This is a modern, fresh take on family, relationships and secrets that's really enjoyable to read. There are so many characters with issues and challenges that interconnect with each other to provide a balanced display of all the ways family can hold you back but also hold you up in times of need.

Yasmin and Joe are going to get married, but both have baggage that surfaces before they commit to a wedding date. There are clash and culture clashes from every angle, with so many ideas and threads, some of which are explored better than others but all of which show the messiness of modern life.

Light hearted and funny as well as hard-hitting, this book is a joy to read, a modern day reminder of Philip Larkin's 'This be the Verse' - there are plenty faults on display here, both inherited and self-created, but the intelligent treatment of the faults and their consequences add up to a rich exploration of modern Britain.

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Wonderfully Dickensian: social history married with strong narrative and character

This was one of those completely immersive reads, where from the off, the reader surrenders to a journey, willingly going wherever the writer is steering events

Though this is about life now in Britain, with its complex of cultural; influences, its many arising divisions and assimilations, I was strongly reminded of Dickens, whose books often exposed the seamy underbelly of his society. Dickens of course knew how to write about serious stuff, whilst never forgetting the power of ‘tell me a story’, the necessity of allowing that story to unfold through believable, complex character, a relishing and a delight in language, and the ability to move the reader with humour as well as with outrage, compassion and a wealth of other emotions

Ali does all of that, and, moreover writes far stronger and more complex female characters than sometimes Dickens tripped up in creating as heroines.

Central character in Love Marriage is Yasmin Ghorami . Yasmin’s parents came from Bengal They wanted to create every advantage for their British born children. Yasmin has become a doctor, like her father. She is currently working through her hospital placements, Her brother Arif is more of a problem, prone to rebellion and to flout parental authority

Yasmin has become engaged to Joe Sangster, a fellow doctor. Joe’s parents have separated, and he has been brought up by his radical feminist, hugely outspoken, liberal intellectual mother, Harriet. Both families are happy, for different reasons, with this match.

‘Love Marriage’ unpicks all easy assumptions about what all the romantic unions, past, present, future in this book, actually mean.

Every character we come to know will have revelations uncovered – not just revelations about their own families, their own relationships with each other, but will also make a journey of self-discovery.

Ali deals with the complexities of prejudice, class, race, gender both overt and covert without writing polemic lectures. And everything is far more telling for that. She also continually upends the reader’s assessment of who each major character is – everyone reveals their nuances, and escapes easy categorisation

This is a highly thought provoking book – and one which brims with vitality, is unafraid to plumb depths, whilst sparkling with fun and humour.

This was an joyful work out for heart, head and viscera; thoroughly recommended, start to finish

I have deliberately avoided much biographical detail of the cast of characters, as it adds to the reader’s pleasure, I believe, to make the journey of getting-to-know-you themselves!

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I loved this. I've never read Monica Ali before (something I'll be changing now!) so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, other than what was in the blurb. What I got was a compelling and nuanced story of two extremely different families – one an apparently quite traditional Indian Muslim family in north London, the other a wealthy and liberal single-parent family in west London. Expectations are played with and subverted, both with regard to these families and the people they interact with and to the romantic relationship at the centre of the book, to really great effect.

Over all, Love Marriage was a really enjoyable read and a really relatable one. Monica Ali's characters feel completely real and you feel their joys, their frustrations and their devastations as if they were your own. I'll be recommending this to lots of people when it comes out next year.

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Love Marriage feels like a much-needed antidote to the pervasive black-or-white, right-or-wrong ways of thinking and talking about society.

I loved each of the multiple storylines and struggled to put this down. Each character seemed three-dimensional and had a background; there were no characters - apart from, possibly, Flame - who were there purely as tools or props for other people's stories.

What particularly stayed in my mind was Yasmin noting how her infant niece was being her true, absolute self, and how brief this period will be. Society and its expectations can make life much more complicated than it needs to be, and it can be difficult to be truly yourself.

Sometimes you don't know that you don't know the whole picture. Life is complicated.

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I loved, loved, loved this book. The characters, especially Yasmin, were very relatable and the story was engrossing.

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Yasmin, a junior doctor met Joe, also a doctor on a dating app just six months ago. He is "perfect" and they are trying to arrange their "love marriage." Yasmin's parents who are from India also had a "love marriage." Her mother was from a wealthy family and her father a poor former chai wallah who worked his way up to go to medical school and then move to London as a GP and lives the "dream" in a semi detached house with a driveway and garage in a London Suburb. However, as the story of Yasmin, Joe and their families unfold things are revealed to not be so perfect and that the "Love marriages" are not what they seem.

I really enjoyed this book. I found the first few chapters a bit dull and thought I could see how things would play out but I was wrong. I started to become pulled into both Yasmin and Joe's world and the secrets in their childhoodsthat they start to uncover.

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‘Love Marriage’ is Monica Ali’s first novel for a decade and it’s more than worth the wait. Her portrayal of modern family life is utterly compelling; as mother-figure Anisah Ghorami is fond of saying, ‘Life is not simple’ and, over the course of the novel, her daughter, Yasmin, a doctor following in the footsteps of her GP father, learns that she cannot dismiss this aphorism.
Ali is equally good writing about the young and the old. The story revolves around two families, initially knowing each other through expected social niceties. Yasmin is engaged to Joe, another doctor and son of Harriet Sangster, well-known north London feminist, intellectual and salon-holder. When Harriet invites the Ghoramis over to celebrate, it’s painfully clear to Yasmin that there is a huge cultural and social gulf between the two families. And yet…
Over the course of the novel the reader learns a lot about the life of a junior doctor, the hierarchical nature of hospitals and the subject of psychotherapy. To those for whom these medical details lack appeal, don’t dismiss this story. It would be the same as suggesting that Jane Austen’s works only attract those interested in the country house.
This is a wise, powerful, affectionate and beautifully written depiction of what it is to love and be loved, to be angry and to be scorned. It is an acknowledgement that there is no such thing as a perfect family but that this institution helps us to learn about ourselves and become more understanding of others. The experiences of the Ghoramis, the Sangsters, et al. will linger long after you have turned the last page. A wonderful read.
My thanks to NetGalley and Little Brown Book group UK for a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair review.

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