by Anjali Banerjee

October 2005
ISBN: 1-4165-0943-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Downtown Press
Trade Paperback

In America, Lina Ray is a young career woman, independent and satisfied with her life. In India she is damaged goods. She lives a nontraditional life for a true Indian woman. And she is thin. Regardless of that particular flaw, Lina’s Great Aunt immediately begins arranging a marriage for her niece. Out of desperation and without thinking it through, Lina invents a fiancé. She should have known Auntie Kiki would not be appeased until she met the mystery man for herself. The first opportunity to escape Lina goes outside to get a break from her interfering family and to come up with a way out of the predicament she created. She runs into a man named Raja Prasad. After talking to him for a bit, Lina decides he is a chauvinist and wants nothing more to do with him – besides borrowing his name for her imaginary fiancé.

When Lina is about to come clean with her family her Ma tells her that the good news will heal her father’s ulcer. Lina is worried about her Baba’s health. What else can she do? Lina continues with her fabrication. To make matters worse Great Aunt Kiki is told by her astrologer to go to America, meet Lina’s betrothed in person, and give her approval. Lina has two months before the scheduled visit to produce the man she would marry, the man she’s christened ‘Raja.’ Lina is a professional matchmaker. It shouldn’t be too difficult.

The hole Lina has dug kept getting deeper. Raja Prasad has sought Lina out in San Francisco. He wanted her help in finding the perfect woman to marry his brother. Raja happened to be an actual prince practically engaged to an actual princess. In other words, out of Lina's league. That shouldn’t be problem. The two of them have more differences than they have in common. Lina rejects all things Indian while Raja embraces his homeland. Though they share the same culture the two are worlds apart. But when have hearts cared about little details like those?

Debut author Anjali Banerjee has crafted a fun tale titled Imaginary Men. It is a chick-lit novel with a category romance feel to it but without the formulaic plot. When I read the blurb I thought it would be like a dozen other stories I’ve read. I was wrong. Imaginary Men turned out to be a delightful feast for this avid reader. Chick-lit is not my favorite genre, but Banerjee manages to bring a special something to the table. Her name is going on my ‘auto-buy’ list.

Reviewed in November 2005 by Rho.

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