March was all about reading retellings of the classics – at least for me and my personal 2022 monthly reading challenge! After reading Ramón and Julieta, a reimagining of Romeo and Juliet, I was eager to continue the Shakespeare retellings with Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma. It’s the first in a new trilogy called If Shakespeare Was An Auntie. As you can guess, each book will take inspiration from a different Shakespeare play. This one is a retelling of his comedy, The Taming of the Shrew (which I’m not particularly familiar with, oops). I was happy to get a hardcover copy of Dating Dr. Dil from Book of the Month.
Dating Dr. Dil begins on Kareena Mann’s 30th birthday. Too bad her Indian American family – her dad, grandmother, and younger sister – forgot. Although Kareena has her dream job, her single status – especially in contrast with her younger sister being engaged – has her family looking down on her. Even worse, Kareena’s dad announces his plans to sell their New Jersey house and retire in Florida. Kareena is desperate to buy it, largely because her late mother built it and it has sentimental value. She can’t afford it, and asks her dad for the engagement money he’d set aside for her, but her dad refuses to give her the money until she’s actually engaged. Kareena has only four months to find The One and put a ring on it.
Luckily she hits it off with a nice guy at a bar named Prem Verma. Unluckily, their night ends badly and the next day she finds out he doesn’t even believe in love. She’s thoroughly angry at him. When her aunties get involved, they think Prem and Kareena would make a great match. These two aren’t so sure, but Prem does think they could both benefit from a fake engagement. She’d get her money and her house; he’d get his own engagement money and be able to start his health care center. Kareena only wants true love, but Prem tries to convince her of how they’d both benefit from this scheme. Kareena will only agree if her search for Mr. Right fails… and the way things are going, she might need to go with Plan B. But what if these two are more on the same page than either of them realizes?
If you’re familiar with The Taming of the Shrew, you’ll likely recognize plot points in this gender-flipped retelling. If you’re like me and haven’t read or seen this particular Shakespearean comedy, that will likely all go over your head, but you’ll still enjoy Dating Dr. Dil immensely. At least I did!
First and foremost, I love the characters of both Kareena and Prem. They actually have a lot in common, even if they do butt heads a lot. Kareena is smart, opinionated, and stubborn, yet also sentimental and a hopeless romantic. She has a sensitive side that she hides, and she’s caring, yet she has a temper, too. Prem is equally opinionated and caring, but he’s more practical and a bit confused about how feelings work. His misunderstanding of love is the biggest hurdle that he must overcome to win Kareena’s heart.
After a great start and then a horrible, public falling out, Prem and Kareena must move pas their mutual dislike (and distrust) of one another if a relationship – real or not – can work between them. I loved watching them interact, escalating from non-dates to real dates. They slowly regain a tentative friendship, and Prem proves again and again that he’s reliable and actually listens to her. The scene at the coffeeshop demonstrates both and is, honestly, just perfect. The museum scene is another favorite, as is the one following an unexpected Dungeons & Dragons excursion. Swoon to all three!
Eventually, deeper feelings develop, but will either Kareena or Prem admit to it? How can they have a future together if they have such fundamentally different desires?
Though Prem and Kareena are perfect, her family isn’t. Her family is rather toxic: They walk all over her, don’t respect her, and leave her out of major decisions. I was fed up with all of them throughout the book. However, I did appreciate how Kareena (and even Prem) stand up to them, and at least one of them reforms a bit by the end. Likewise, Kareena’s various dates and dating app interactions only made me glad I’m not looking for a boyfriend. What horrible guys she has to put up with! On the other hand, they both have excellent friends (I can’t wait for their respective books!) and the Aunties are such fun.
Speaking of, another thing I loved about Dating Dr. Dil was the inclusion of text conversations, dating app conversations, Indians Abroad News updates, and flashbacks to Prem and Kareena’s first conversation. All four of these add extra dimension and fun to the book. They make it feel all the more modern and accurate in today’s largely digital world.
Dating Dr. Dil unfolds very naturally and turns into an adorable love story. By the end, we see the different ways people can express love and how understanding each others’ love languages can make or break a relationship.
Dating Dr. Dil is a sweet novel that highlights Indian American culture, love languages, and true compatibility. Kareena and Prem are realistic and likable characters, and I enjoyed following them on their meandering journey to a happily ever after.
I can’t wait to read the next two books in this series. The author said the next one will be about Bunty and Bobbi (I’m getting enemies-to-lovers vibes?), and the last one will surely star Deepak and Veera. I’m also intrigued to learn which Shakespearean plays they recreate. I’m ready to read both books now (!), but I expect they’ll arrive in 2023 and 2024, respectively.
Get the Book
You can buy Dating Dr. Dil here – it’s available as a paperback, ebook, or audiobook.
Please note that the above links are Amazon affiliate links and I may earn a commission on any purchases you make.
|Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma|
|Series||If Shakespeare Was An Auntie (#1)|
|Retelling Of…||The Taming of the Shrew (Shakespeare)|
|Setting||New Jersey, USA|
|Number of Pages||359|
|Format I Read||Hardcover (BOTM)|
|Original Publication Date||March 22, 2022|
Dating Dr. Dil features a love-phobic TV doctor who must convince a love-obsessed homebody they are destined to be together.
Kareena Mann dreams of having a love story like her parents, but she prefers restoring her classic car to swiping right on dating apps. When her father announces he’s selling her mother’s home, Kareena makes a deal with him: he’ll gift her the house if she can get engaged in four months. Her search for her soulmate becomes impossible when her argument with Dr. Prem Verma, host of The Dr. Dil Show, goes viral. Now the only man in her life is the one she doesn’t want.
Dr. Prem Verma is dedicated to building a local community health center, but he needs to get donors with deep pockets. The Dr. Dil Show was doing just that, until his argument with Kareena went viral, and he’s left short changed. That’s when Kareena’s meddling aunties presented him with a solution: convince Kareena he’s her soulmate and they’ll fund his clinic.
Even though they have conflicting views on love-matches and arranged-matches, the more time Prem spends with Kareena, the more he begins to believe she’s the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. But for Prem and Kareena to find their happily ever after, they must admit that hate has turned into fate.
About the Author
Credit: Jon Macapodi
Nisha Sharma is the author of the critically acclaimed YA novel My So-Called Bollywood Life and the follow up, Radha and Jai’s Recipe for Romance. She also writes adult contemporary romances including The Singh Family Trilogy and If Shakespeare was an Aunty Trilogy (Launching March 2022). Her writing has been praised by NPR, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Teen Vogue, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly and more. She lives in Pennsylvania with her Alaskan husband, her cat Lizzie Bennett and her dog Nancey Drew. You can find her online at Nisha-sharma.com or on Twitter and Instagram @nishawrites.
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