Seven Cities Far From Sober, by Sahana Mehra , is a novel of 130,000 words. The novel can be described as a cross between a travel log, a story of friendship and the crazy adventures had on holiday by two women — and, of course, no story of this type would be complete without a little romance.
The story revolves around an unlikely friendship between the two main characters, Madison Alexandra Huntington-Jones and Sophie Anderson, each with their own unique personality that differ greatly from the other’s — the former is a beautiful but extremely awkward creature while the latter has all the confidence of Soberton itself.
And Soberton, a fictional village in West Sussex, is the place where this all starts, when a coincidental meeting brings them together because of the one thing they have in common — family issues.
The two then move away separately and lose touch, but another fateful meeting reunites them once again and they become friends. This friendship takes them on adventures in seven cities: London, Bangkok, Vegas, New York, Hong Kong, Kyoto and Rome, with a few other detours along the way. Their alcohol-induced escapades range from gate-crashing a wedding in New York to breaking up a marriage-to-be in Vegas, from being mugged in China to stealing the show in Italy, from taking on a law firm in London to getting over an insider dealer in Japan — their travels certainly do tend to lead to some extreme situations.
Sophie falls for Maddie’s brother, a golden boy, a player, who does not return her feelings. However, her old friend Toby, who she initially does not have any interest in, comes in at the eleventh hour and sweeps her off her feet.
Maddie has relationships with many men who are not at all right for her, and then falls head over heels for a married man. This relationship does not develop and she finally finds love with a man she meets on one of her first travels towards the start of the book.
Although this mainly is a comical tale of friendship and romance, both from the types of characters and the events that occur, the issues the two heroines face lead to their development and form the path they take in their lives. And along the way to finding themselves, they also manage to find love.
I believe this is a book that will make people laugh, make people cry and, above all, will make people want to live their lives to the fullest — after all, the best way to live life is to create your own adventures.
Tales of an Indian Almost Bride, or Tales, is essentially a story about relationships. Nandani Ramchand is an Indian girl in her twenties in the search for her one true love. Unfortunately, her family, in particular her mother, do not seem to want to wait for love to find Nandani. They believe that the only path worth going down that will in fact lead her up the aisle is via the arrange marriage route.
Nandani wishes to avoid hurting her family, but not enough to wed one of the unsuitable boys that are presented to her, which forces her to escape the rather unsavoury proposals that come her way by being more than a little creative – with some comical consequences.
Through the search for love, Nandani comes across many situations and tales that are funny, endearing and even heartbreaking from her father’s first love, to a gold digger’s disappointment to a victim of domestic violence in her dear friend Serena.
Sure, there are a few run away brides – but this cliché is explained as sometimes, that moment of clarity only appears when a bride is about the take the plunge, the make or break decision. Sure, there is a wildly sexy, arrogant man, but here the heroine does not fool herself into thinking she detests him and instead openly lusts after him as any red blooded woman would do. And sure, it includes a fair few weddings, but with the main concept being about getting married, how could it not?
Tales of an Indian Almost Bride is not a collection of short stories. However, it is the journey rather the main story that is the focus of this book – a tale of how Nandani’s life experiences cause her to grow and change and adjust her expectations, although she never gives up hope of true love.