Review copy was received from NetGalley, Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Emma Project by Sonali Dev
Narrator: Soneela Nankani
Series: Rajes #4
Published by Avon on May 17, 2022
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 13 hours, 38 minutes
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
No one can call Vansh Raje’s life anything but charmed. Handsome—Vogue has declared him California’s hottest single—and rich enough to spend all his time on missions to make the world a better place. Add to that a doting family and a contagiously sunny disposition and Vansh has made it halfway through his twenties without ever facing anything to throw him off his admittedly spectacular game.
A couple years from turning forty, Knightlina (Naina) Kohli has just gotten out of a ten-year-long fake relationship with Vansh’s brother and wants only one thing from her life…fine, two things. One, to have nothing to do with the unfairly blessed Raje family ever again. Two, to bring economic independence to millions of women in South Asia through her microfinance foundation and prove her father wrong about, well, everything.
Just when Naina’s dream is about to come to fruition, Vansh Raje shows up with his misguided Emma Project... And suddenly she’s fighting him for funding and wondering if a friends-with-benefits arrangement that’s as toe-curlingly hot as it is fun is worth risking her life’s work for.
All the stories in the Rajes series, are smart and emotional. I can’t speak to the Jane Austen aspects as it has been too long since I read those books. There is a twining of personal growth and evolving relationships, along with the daily aspects of life and careers.
There is only one unattached Raje brother remaining, Vansh. He has been a world traveler for causes, working for the Peace Corps and other organizations. We learn why he is such a passionate defender of those who are innocent or marginalized. He’s the youngest and his family is supportive and protective of him.
Naina is feeling anxious and a bit displaced. She is no longer the fiance of the future governor of California, which stabilized her world and relationships for a decade. She finds her lifelong friendship with the Raje family clouded and her financing in jeopardy. Her own family is just another fight for her.
As lifelong friends, Vansh and Naina have strikingly similar agendas with helping others in need. But the friends turn into sort of enemies when Vansh’s project threatens the funding Naina has worked for years to obtain. Surprisingly, their skills sets are very compatible in building non-profit projects though. And they are compatible in other ways as well.
We see some of the family but especially Esha who has lived with her grandma and the rest of the Raje family since her parents died when she was 8. She has had visions and a strong empathy ability to feel all the emotions of those around her. She would often blackout if anyone touched her, even her loving family, from the emotional intensity. She meets someone and we get to see her learn how to “read” people and interact without feeling their emotions. Her growth, opening up and learning to be with people, is a compatible layer along with Naina’s constant struggle to block all her feelings so she can’t be hurt anymore.
I enjoyed the personal growth of all these characters and peeks at the people from other books. The relationship development was not just those of a romantic nature. There was growth in understanding with family and friends as well.
One of the reasons I enjoy audiobooks is, I don’t have to ponder over how to pronounce things. Whether the narrator pronunciations and accents are accurate I don’t have to decide. So it’s a gift if I don’t know how they should be. I was pleased to have the same narrator as the rest of the series her excellent performance of the various male and female voices. I was able to listen at my usual 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip:
New print copy of The Emma Project by Sonali Dev. (US only).
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