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The Arrangement By Sonya Lalli

The Arrangement‘The Arrangement’ is the latest book by Sonya Lalli.

When you’re approaching thirty it’s normal (if not incredibly annoying) for your family to ask when you’ll tie the knot and settle down. But for Raina there’s a whole community waiting for someone to make her a wife – and a loving grandmother, Nani, ready to play matchmaker with a comprehensive list of potential husbands.Eager not to disappoint her family, Raina goes along with the plan but when the love of her life returns – ex-boyfriend Dev – she’s forced to confront her true feelings. Now her ‘clock is ticking’, it’s time for Raina to decide what she actually wants.

In this book, even though it is set in the 21st century, this modern tale featuring a strong, independent woman focuses on the pressure of a young Indian woman bordering on her 30th birthday and the immense pressure to find the perfect man and become a married woman to be fully accepted in society.

Raina is a fun and outspoken woman, brought up by her grandmother Nani, her upbringing was far from conservative with a wild and underage mother, who was rarely around. Raina’s grandmother brought her up, even she was never short of love and attention, Raina always felt stifled.

As she nears closer to her 30th birthday and her best friend prepares to get married, Raina is constantly reminded about getting married and finds herself beginning to buckle under the immense pressure from her grandmother. Even though, Nani only has her best interests at heart, her pressure for Raina to settle down is stifling, with lists of potential suitors and registering her on dating websites is making Raina go insane but with the reappearance of her ex Dev, Raina is finding it even harder to concentrate on her new potential partners.

With its bright and vibrant cover, ‘The Arrangement’ is a fun and insightful story from the very start. Highlighting the pressures of society that are inflicted on women from an early age to get married and have children, Sonya also writes frankly and with humour about the stress of being a young Indian woman, trying to be happy as well as be traditional in the 21st century.

You can buy The Arrangement from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Arrangement Book Tour – Short Story

The ArrangementTo kick off the book tour for Sonya Lalli’s new book ‘The Arrangement’, the lovely author has written a short story that will continue across the other websites of the tour.

Serena’s Story
In The Arrangement, thirty-year-old, fun-living Serena is on the sidelines. She shares a mutual friend with the novel’s heroine Raina, and for a while dates one of Raina’s relatives. Even though Serena’s story doesn’t make it into my novel, I wanted to share a bit more about her own dating misadventures – and give you a few clues about what’s to come in ‘The Arrangement’!

“I’m done with dating.”

“You don’t mean that,” says Shaylee.

“This time, I mean it.” Serena takes a sip of her lukewarm pinot grigio and thinks about every lousy boyfriend she’s ever had – from first-kiss-worst-kiss Luke in the eleventh grade, to her most recent ex, Kris, who had the emotional intelligence of a granola bar.

Meanwhile, Serena had – for lack of better words – her shit entirely together. She was a successful marketing manager, had great friends and nearly enough in her savings account to finally buy that dream flat. She drove out to the suburbs every Sunday to spend the afternoon with her parents, attended yoga class every Tuesday and Friday morning, and – she thinks modestly – isn’t entirely unattractive.

Wasn’t she a catch? In the words of her spirit animal Charlotte on Sex and the City, “I’ve been dating since I was fifteen. I’m exhausted. Where is he?” If Mr. Right wasn’t here by now, Serena thinks decidedly, he wasn’t showing up at all.

As Shaylee orders them a plate of nachos, Serena tucks her phone back into her purse to avoid checking it obsessively. Just hours ago, James had texted her a picture of his new kitten poking out of a tea cosy with the caption Garfield is looking forward to our date, too!

And now?

Now, her new coworker James – who’d she been crushing on for weeks –had stood her up. He’d disappeared without so much as a “wait, actually, I’m just not that into you” text, and let her sit by herself at a bar waiting for him. Now, she was still just regular Serena – crushed and crush-less – still on the mend from her breakup with Kris.

“Oh, snap!” Shaylee slides her phone across the table. “The cinema down the road is doing a midnight screening of Mean Girls. Should we go?”

Serena shrugs.

“It’ll cheer you up…”

“OK. I guess.” She smiles, thankful Shaylee had nothing better to do tonight than keep her company. “Doesn’t Raina live nearby? Should we invite her? ”

“She’s on a date tonight.”

“Another one?”

“Her Nani’s fixing her up, remember?”

“Maybe her Nani should set me up.”

“Be careful what you wish for, Serena,” Shaylee says, as she buys the cinema tickets on her phone. “She’s driving Raina crazy right now.”

“Well, I guess I’d rather be alone than crazy.” Serena sets her hands on the table with purpose. “And in fact, I will be. I am never going to date again.”

“You still don’t mean that.”

“Watch me.”

Shaylee leans forward on her elbow, like she’s trying to read Serena’s face.

“I’m serious. This is bullshit. I’m done with dating.”

She reaches across the table and grab’s Serena’s wrist, rotating the watch face upwards. 9:04 pm.

“We have three hours until the movie starts,” Shaylee says. “Three whole hours to kill…”

“Your point is?”

“I’ll make you a deal. In the next three hours, I’ll introduce you to three men. Three men of my choosing.”

“Tonight?”

“Yeah,” Shaylee says. “Tonight. And if you don’t like any of them, I’ll leave you alone. I won’t say all the things friends are supposed to say about ‘taking time for yourself’ or ‘letting yourself heal’ – or anything like that. I’ll let you give up.”

“You’ll let me give up.”

“Not just let you, Serena, I’ll enforce it.”

Three men? Three hours? Would Shaylee pick them out in this very bar? Serena glances around the room, a few strangers already catching her eye. Or, would Shaylee go through Serena’s phone? Message men she’s met up with in the past but has already written off. Connect her with new ones on her dating apps?

“So are you in?”

Tapping her fingers on the table, she shrugs. It’s not like she had anything better to do, or at this point, anything to lose.

Three hours. Three mini-dates. This would be a walk in the park, and then she could sit down and embrace spinsterhood in peace.

“I’m in.”

If you enjoyed this short introduction to the characters, you can buy the book The Arrangement from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.