The Trouble with Love (Wellington Estates Book 3)

by Sunanda J. Chatterjee

Synopsis

Danielle Riley is beautiful, young, and wealthy. With her family’s money, Danielle can have anything she wants – except the one thing she truly wants: handsome, athletic, and poor Mike Meldoza. When it appears that he is truly out of reach, Danielle volunteers with an NGO in a small Indian village and there she finds her purpose in life.

When fate brings Danielle and Mike together again, she must decide on the path that will bring her happiness.

Theme of the Book

The Trouble with Love is a romance about prejudice, and fighting against constricting social norms. Both Danielle and Mike have trouble seeing people for who they are and not for what they own. Both are limited by social beliefs about class and money. The book is a story of discovery for the main characters.

What I Liked About the Story

The best part of The Trouble with Love takes place in India where Danielle has gone as a volunteer teacher of literacy to children. It is in this section that Ms. Chatterjee shows her abilities as both a writer and a social observer. The picture Ms. Chatterjee paints of the small Indian village is beautifully done. The reader will find the warmth of the women and children, the limits they live with, the strong conservative and traditional feelings of the men and the appalling results of those feelings. Here, too, is the unforgettable character of Shilpa, the little girl Danielle teaches at her guesthouse.

The Indian section of the book brought tears to my eyes. It was written with love and sensitivity and is an area Ms. Chatterjee should use more in her writing. The best written parts of Ms. Chatterjee’s work are those in which she writes about culture and about the difficulties of merging into a culture foreign to the character. She did this very well in the second Wellington Estates book, Old Money in writing about the main character, Juhi, and her struggles with her traditional Indian background and conflict with the Californian culture of her fiancé. I would love to see more of this theme in Ms. Chatterjee’s books to replace the more humdrum romantic plots.

It is the secondary characters that really stand out in The Trouble with Love. Isabella, Mike’s long-suffering mother, is a case in point. She is a well-developed character written with sensitivity and caring. Espi, the obsessive young woman who is in love with Mike, is a second fascinating character. Even Gloria, Danielle’s mother, finally evokes the reader’s sympathy when we finally learn something about her history.

What I Didn’t Like About the Story

Romance novels seem to follow a standard pattern of meeting/falling in love/breaking up/reuniting. This one is no exception to the rule. In comparing this book to the previous Wellington Estates book, the latter provided a much better setting and plot, especially with the clash of cultures. The current book does that to some extent, but it is in the first long section dealing with Danielle and Mike that the book falls below par. There is nothing particularly new or original in this first section. It is not until Danielle goes to India that we find something different and captivating.

As I wrote above, Ms. Chatterjee’s strength is in writing about people struggling with a new or a different culture. Here her characters seem like real people instead of the cookie-cutter characters (rich, attractive man/woman; love interest from a different background; evil relative) that appear in the first part of the book. If I could make one request it would be for Ms. Chatterjee to write more about what she knows – cultural collisions – than straight romance.

If I could make a second request it would be for this author to avail herself of a native English speaker to proofread her books. There are some very strange usage problems: Lily and her father live in an outhouse (an outside toilet in American English); Danielle is escorted to a seat in a restaurant by an usher (not a maitre d’ or a host); Danielle is described as donned in a blue dress.

Final Say

Parts of this book are wonderful and parts are simply standard romance. It is better than the first volume in the Wellington Estates series (Sins of the Father) but not as good as the second (Old Money).

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