REVIEW OF THE RUNAWAY BRIDEGROOM by Sundari Venkatraman.
On the face of it petite, attractive Chanda is a typical young Delhi college girl. She has her circle of friends, is carefree and independent and is studying to become a computer professional. So when she lands an internship with R.S Software it is a career opportunity that cannot be ignored. What nobody knows is that Chanda has a secret: she was married as a child and her husband abandoned her and ran away straight after the wedding. She is well aware that this marriage would not be considered valid and enjoys the full support of her family, yet in her mind’s eye, the shadowy figure of her husband whom she doesn’t even know always holds her back from romantic relationships. That is until she meets Ranveer.
Dashing, sexy Ranveer is the head of R.S Software. He has the confidence and magnetism that only a self made man can have. He is drawn to Chanda from the word go and once she comes to work in his office he knows he has to spend as much time with her as possible.
Will Chanda be able to get over ghosts past to build a loving relationship with Ranveer?
Sundari transitions through time and weaves her story deftly around that ceremony to show how child marriage affects everybody. Without standing on a soap box she manages to get her point across about the enormity and the futility of forcing children to get married and the poignant thoughts of Veer stayed with me ‘ that he is not old enough to have a say in his marriage but he is old enough to get married.’
The buildup of their attraction and love for each other is a sweet, tender process and you really want Chanda to get past her reservations.
For me the surprise package in the story was the character of Shikha. I have hardly come across a secondary character in a story that interested me as much as she did. She was well etched and jumped off the pages. There were times she actually overwhelmed the main protagonists and pulled my interest towards her. Not sure if this was intended or not but I enjoyed her appeal. What I didn’t much care for was the part of the astrologer. I felt undue importance was given to his predictions which showed indirect support for these methods. For me this was the one jarring part as I absolutely enjoyed all the other relationships and characters that were woven into the story be it Chanda’s family or even Veers. Even the detective was interesting in his little cameo.
The best part of the book was the subtlety Sundari employed to get her point across about the ills of child marriage and lo and behold she used a romance to do it.