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The author of Recipe for Persuasion—“not only one of the best but one of the bravest romance novelists working today” (Shelf Awareness)—adds an Indian American twist to Jane Austen's classic Sense and Sensibility in this delightful retelling that is a feast for the senses. Yash Raje, California’s first serious Indian gubernatorial candidate, has always known exactly what he The author of Recipe for Persuasion—“not only one of the best but one of the bravest romance novelists working today” (Shelf Awareness)—adds an Indian American twist to Jane Austen's classic Sense and Sensibility in this delightful retelling that is a feast for the senses. Yash Raje, California’s first serious Indian gubernatorial candidate, has always known exactly what he wants—and how to use his privileged background to get it. He attributes his success to a simple mantra: control your feelings and you can control the world. But when a hate-fueled incident at a rally critically injures his friend, Yash’s easy life suddenly feels like a lie, his control an illusion. When he tries to get back on the campaign trail, he blacks out with panic. Desperate to keep Yash’s condition from leaking to the media, his family turns to the one person they trust—his sister’s best friend, India Dashwood, California’s foremost stress management coach. Raised by a family of yoga teachers, India has helped San Francisco’s high strung overachievers for a decade without so much as altering her breath. But this man—with his boundless ambition, simmering intensity, and absolute faith in his political beliefs—is like no other. Yash has spent a lifetime repressing everything to succeed. Including their one magical night ten years ago—a too brief, too bright passion that if rekindled threatens the life he’s crafted for himself. Exposing the secrets might be the only way to save him but it’s also guaranteed to destroy the dream he’s willingly shouldered for his family and community . . . until now.


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The author of Recipe for Persuasion—“not only one of the best but one of the bravest romance novelists working today” (Shelf Awareness)—adds an Indian American twist to Jane Austen's classic Sense and Sensibility in this delightful retelling that is a feast for the senses. Yash Raje, California’s first serious Indian gubernatorial candidate, has always known exactly what he The author of Recipe for Persuasion—“not only one of the best but one of the bravest romance novelists working today” (Shelf Awareness)—adds an Indian American twist to Jane Austen's classic Sense and Sensibility in this delightful retelling that is a feast for the senses. Yash Raje, California’s first serious Indian gubernatorial candidate, has always known exactly what he wants—and how to use his privileged background to get it. He attributes his success to a simple mantra: control your feelings and you can control the world. But when a hate-fueled incident at a rally critically injures his friend, Yash’s easy life suddenly feels like a lie, his control an illusion. When he tries to get back on the campaign trail, he blacks out with panic. Desperate to keep Yash’s condition from leaking to the media, his family turns to the one person they trust—his sister’s best friend, India Dashwood, California’s foremost stress management coach. Raised by a family of yoga teachers, India has helped San Francisco’s high strung overachievers for a decade without so much as altering her breath. But this man—with his boundless ambition, simmering intensity, and absolute faith in his political beliefs—is like no other. Yash has spent a lifetime repressing everything to succeed. Including their one magical night ten years ago—a too brief, too bright passion that if rekindled threatens the life he’s crafted for himself. Exposing the secrets might be the only way to save him but it’s also guaranteed to destroy the dream he’s willingly shouldered for his family and community . . . until now.

30 review for Incense and Sensibility

  1. 4 out of 5

    peachygirl

    By far the best one in The Raje family series. I adored Yash and India! 😍 Full review to come.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Sonali Dev's characters just all feel so real to me--SO charming, and so, so big-hearted. Sonali Dev's characters just all feel so real to me--SO charming, and so, so big-hearted.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Syndi

    Oh Wow! Consider I am hooked by Miss Dev. This woman is the new Jane Austen. She blends the story of Sense and Sensibility with a modern twist. I love the story. There are a lot of moral stories especially about family and power, friendship and love. All is done with a modern prospective. I heard a lot about Miss Dev. It is such a pleasure I had a chance to read one of her books. Jane Austen is my all time favorite author. And Miss Dev is the new Jane Austen. The way she blends it with Indian cu Oh Wow! Consider I am hooked by Miss Dev. This woman is the new Jane Austen. She blends the story of Sense and Sensibility with a modern twist. I love the story. There are a lot of moral stories especially about family and power, friendship and love. All is done with a modern prospective. I heard a lot about Miss Dev. It is such a pleasure I had a chance to read one of her books. Jane Austen is my all time favorite author. And Miss Dev is the new Jane Austen. The way she blends it with Indian culture is also smart. Just read it! 5 stars

  4. 4 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    Sonali Dev weaves magic into her third Jane Austen-inspired novel, and I loved everything about it! Dev has a lovely wry spirit that connects us deeply to her characters, while adding an irresistible Indian-American flavor to her storyline. She’s my new fav writer and I loved meeting the Raje family, especially Yash, who is running for governor of California when a friend is shot during a political rally, and sought-after yoga therapist India Dashwood, who helps Yash deal with the resulting anxi Sonali Dev weaves magic into her third Jane Austen-inspired novel, and I loved everything about it! Dev has a lovely wry spirit that connects us deeply to her characters, while adding an irresistible Indian-American flavor to her storyline. She’s my new fav writer and I loved meeting the Raje family, especially Yash, who is running for governor of California when a friend is shot during a political rally, and sought-after yoga therapist India Dashwood, who helps Yash deal with the resulting anxiety. Dev adds depth to their budding relationship as elements of past hurts and current trauma are dealt with. A profound and enticing romance, highly recommended! 5 of 5 Stars Pub Date 06 Jul 2021 #IncenseandSensibility #NetGalley Thanks to the author, William Morrow and Custom House, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Renaissance Kate

    My favorite of the Raje books so far and the best of Dev's Jane Austen retellings! I absolutely loved it. Full RTC! My favorite of the Raje books so far and the best of Dev's Jane Austen retellings! I absolutely loved it. Full RTC!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    Complex and sensitive story about a woman you’d like to be (or at least be friends with) and a man you’d love to love (or at least vote for). Heartfelt family dynamics and compelling conflict combine in this sensitive slow-burn romance. Plus, Sonali Dev’s writing is so good! Buy this one.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nora Kovacs

    This is the third book in the Raje series and it doesn't disappoint. Can't wait for more. This is the third book in the Raje series and it doesn't disappoint. Can't wait for more.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Abigail Bok

    Sonali Dev may be my favorite writer of contemporary romance, if only because she takes the genre seriously and doesn’t write to formula. Earlier this week I was listening to a literary agent tick off all the tropes that “must” be present in romance fiction, and I wanted to tie her to a volcano and force this book down her throat. That attitude is so disrespectful toward readers who happen to love the marriage plot! We also love a fresh idea, fresh story lines, original writing about attraction, Sonali Dev may be my favorite writer of contemporary romance, if only because she takes the genre seriously and doesn’t write to formula. Earlier this week I was listening to a literary agent tick off all the tropes that “must” be present in romance fiction, and I wanted to tie her to a volcano and force this book down her throat. That attitude is so disrespectful toward readers who happen to love the marriage plot! We also love a fresh idea, fresh story lines, original writing about attraction, desire, and compatibility—and Dev offers all of these. This is the third of her Jane Austen–based novels focused on a wealthy San Francisco family of East Indian Americans. The main characters recur but different ones are the center of attention in each novel, and the novels don’t really need to be read in any particular order. This one finally puts the Raje family’s golden boy, Yash, at center stage, and he makes for a great protagonist. We’ve known from the first book that Yash’s seeming perfection and self-confidence are an elaborate persona built up to mask both literal and figurative scars, so I’ve been eager to explore his complexities, and this story did not disappoint. He has always been preternaturally dutiful and noble, kind and devoted to others to the point of self-annihilation, and now we know why. He is running for governor of California and one day, at a rally, a hater tries to assassinate him. He is slightly injured but his bodyguard may not survive. Yash is racked by guilt and goes into a blind panic whenever faced with a public event. He doesn’t want to show the public any weakness so his family members advise him to seek therapy privately from a family friend, India Dashwood, a yoga teacher, Reiki practitioner, and stress management coach. Just one problem with that—India and Yash had met before, ten years earlier, and shared a very intense encounter before Yash’s sense of duty took his life in a different direction. Yash is aware of having treated India badly, and India carries a resentful sense of disillusionment. It’s a perfect Sonali Dev setup—two people of goodwill with issues that have carved a divide between them, who must turn themselves and all their assumptions inside out before they can get their lives out of neutral. She works it beautifully, taking us by slow steps through each presupposition and logical misunderstanding, as instinct and attraction bind two people together who think they want to, need to, remain apart. Her vocabulary of desire, which wowed me in the first book of the series, continues to be original, eloquent, and specific to the characters; but despite her care in depicting desire, their romance is about so much more. Character and ethics, so often overlooked in romantic fiction, really get their due in her work. I love reading about the Raje family because they are so powerfully attached to one another, even while they all have major quirks and faults and even while they misunderstand and exasperate one another. Family is so important to these people, a state I envy far more than I envy their lifestyle or even their loves. Most of them are madly rich in the material sense, but their real riches are their tight bonds, even when, as in this story, the bonds constrict as much as they support. The one thing that didn’t really work for me was the political side of the story. I’d like to say I don’t believe anyone could successfully run for governor of California with a top staff that consists entirely of family and close friends—but then again, not too long ago someone ran for president of the United States in exactly the same ramshackle way and won, so what do I know? I get that rich people are often suspicious of outsiders, but Yash Raje has been in public life long enough to have advisers and managers who are professionals. That part felt pretty half-assed to me. Otherwise, I loved this story and it satisfied me on every page.

  9. 4 out of 5

    eyes.2c

    Lies and truth! What a tangled, complicated web Dev has woven here. And didn’t I just LOVE this addition to the Rajes series. It’s brilliant, a ruby contribution to this series, shining warmth and love across deflection, hate and lies. (I didn’t use a diamond analogy ‘cause that’s way to glittery and harsh.) This is the story of love sidelined by circumstances and choice. Although those reasons are not all bad, for Yash Raje they’ve become a stranglehold. Yash is running for the California Governo Lies and truth! What a tangled, complicated web Dev has woven here. And didn’t I just LOVE this addition to the Rajes series. It’s brilliant, a ruby contribution to this series, shining warmth and love across deflection, hate and lies. (I didn’t use a diamond analogy ‘cause that’s way to glittery and harsh.) This is the story of love sidelined by circumstances and choice. Although those reasons are not all bad, for Yash Raje they’ve become a stranglehold. Yash is running for the California Governorship and is shot at by a racially motivated individual at a rally. He’s fine but his friend and bodyguard is in hospital in a coma. This causes Yash to have panic attacks, and in turn to question many aspects of his life. His family (no pressure there!) ask a family friend and stress management coach India Dashwood to help. The thing no one knows but these two, is that they have a history. That’s complicated! There’s a host of strong secondary characters who contribute so much to the story A wonderful read, bringing to the fore many issues—family relationships, personal relationships, health and well being, racial tensions, community and political pressures. A William Morrow and Custom House ARC via NetGalley

  10. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    I don’t know how this series gets better with every single book when they’re all so awesome, but it does. Yash and India...a second chance that took me on a journey I didn’t want to end (and I stayed up past midnight finishing). Just AMAZING!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

    After one brief, disappointing romantic encounter, two dutiful, put together people go on with their set paths until unforeseen circumstances make them take stock and also bring them back together for a possible second chance. The Raje family stories are a heartwarming encounter with Austen in a modern Indian American family. Incense and Sensibility is the third of the standalone romances in a series of modern retellings of Austen’s novels. They are connected by family, but work just fine out of After one brief, disappointing romantic encounter, two dutiful, put together people go on with their set paths until unforeseen circumstances make them take stock and also bring them back together for a possible second chance. The Raje family stories are a heartwarming encounter with Austen in a modern Indian American family. Incense and Sensibility is the third of the standalone romances in a series of modern retellings of Austen’s novels. They are connected by family, but work just fine out of order. This latest is flavored by Sense and Sensibility which the reader does not need to have read to appreciate this fresh new tale. Yash Raje is the shining star in the Raje family as he has risen in politics to be a strong runner for California’s race for governor. But, then his latest rally is disrupted by an attempt on his life and he finds himself struggling with fear to go before a crowd, survivor’s guilt, and a shake-up to his life priorities. At the same time, India Dashwood, who lives a lifestyle that follows her adopted mom’s yoga teachings, with her goal to keep their newly-renovated yoga center going and find a way to care for her mom and the mounting health bills. Her sister China has always lived a very different lifestyle embraces her emotions and taking life’s chances especially with love. I was very taken with these two people who seem to love what they do even though they are nearly rigid in responsibility to family duty and careers. It was interesting seeing them both go through things that shook them up and forced them to contemplate other paths in their lives and figure out what they really want. The surrounding group of family and, in Yash’s case, a girlfriend of convenience who turns out to have her own agenda, are as well-developed as the main pair. There is a lot of real life complications in this one due to Yash’s involvement in politics, their race, their culture, India’s yogi lifestyle, family expectation, and more. But, I was glad that front and foremost, the new chance at a relationship is strongest. The biggest conflict was setting aside what they thought they should do and other people’s influences to reach for what they really wanted. I really wanted him to deep six the pretend girlfriend much sooner and couldn’t figure out why everyone was buying what she was selling for so long. It was a well-plotted second chance in that they weren’t right for each other the first time and had to get to where they are for them to make sense and stand a chance. Austen’s Sense and Sensibility is at the heart of the story and is there, but I would say it influenced this story more than drove it. The author’s own voice and story are strongest. All in all, it was a heartwarming, sometimes wry, and character-driven second chance. Those who want romance with modern problems and thinking set against a colorful Indian American backdrop, do pick up this book/series. I rec’d an eARC of the book through Net Galley to read in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Priscilla Oliveras

    From the first page, Sonali Dev had me hooked! Incense and Sensibility is an emotion-packed, angsty, swoony romance that gave me ALL THE FEELS. Yash is a hero you can't help but fall in love with--a good man who willingly carries the weight of responsibility for others on his shoulders (broad, strong shoulders!). Alas, he's a wounded hero and only India (a heroine truly deserving of her HEA) can heal him. But Yash's long-standing fake relationship with a dear friend, his bid for governor of Calif From the first page, Sonali Dev had me hooked! Incense and Sensibility is an emotion-packed, angsty, swoony romance that gave me ALL THE FEELS. Yash is a hero you can't help but fall in love with--a good man who willingly carries the weight of responsibility for others on his shoulders (broad, strong shoulders!). Alas, he's a wounded hero and only India (a heroine truly deserving of her HEA) can heal him. But Yash's long-standing fake relationship with a dear friend, his bid for governor of California, and family responsibilities keep him and India apart. Yet, these two are destined to be together. In masterful fashion, Sonali Dev treats us to a beautiful love story you'll put on your Keeper Shelf to read again and again.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Antonella

    overall I found this too long and lacking in romance I guess I had a lot of expectations for Yash ever since reading about him in book one.. India comes across as a martyr, and it is something that got on my nerves.. as far as a reimagining of Austen goes, I like the fresh take on it and the idea behind it..

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Wolf

    4.5 stars. As you might guess from the title — but not from the synopsis — Incense and Sensibility is a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. It’s also a moving, well-written, and engaging contemporary novel about love, pain, and healing. I&S continues the loosely connected story of the Rajes, a wealthy Indian-American family living in the Bay Area. Previous books have focused on Yash’s sister Trisha (Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors) and his cousin Ashna (Recipe For Pers 4.5 stars. As you might guess from the title — but not from the synopsis — Incense and Sensibility is a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. It’s also a moving, well-written, and engaging contemporary novel about love, pain, and healing. I&S continues the loosely connected story of the Rajes, a wealthy Indian-American family living in the Bay Area. Previous books have focused on Yash’s sister Trisha (Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors) and his cousin Ashna (Recipe For Persuasion). In both of those books, Yash is a background character — the successful, driven brother who can achieve anything he wants. He’s the golden child, the one everyone believes will do great things. He’s also haunted by trauma, although he doesn’t even realize this until events kick off in I&S. As the book opens, Yash is running a competitive race for governor of California, and his chances look good. He’s a man devoted to public service, who truly believes that he’s called to make life better for those who are suffering. While popular with many voters, Yash also encounters the racism you’d unfortunately not be surprised by due to his skin color and ethnicity. An attempted shooting at a rally leaves Yash lightly wounded, but puts his trusted friend and bodyguard Abdul into a coma that he isn’t expected to wake from. Suddenly, Yash’s world is turned upside down. He feels tremendous guilt about Abdul’s sacrifice, and is overwhelmed by an anxiety attack when he attempts to go onstage at his next rally. With only months to go until the election, and with a growing lead in the polls, his family is desperate to “fix” him. And so they turn to a friend of Ashna and Trisha’s, India Dashwood, a yoga instructor and Reiki healer. India lives with her mother Tara and her highly emotional sister China in the apartment above their yoga studio. They’re not well off, but they’re getting by, until Tara falls ill and India realizes they may not be able to cover her necessary medical treatments. On top of that, China is head-over-heels in love with a Korean pop star, but the woman she loves is deeply closeted and insists on secrecy. China sees a rosy future, but India is afraid that China will be hurt badly. When Yash reenters India’s life, it’s ten years after they spent a magical, romantic night together in which they fell in love, but then parted and never reunited. India has never quite recovered from the pain of Yash’s disappearance from her life, but she also can’t turn him away when he’s obviously in such pain and in need of help. As she works with him on healing from trauma, old wounds reemerge and are finally confronted, and Yash and India’s feeling for one another resurface as well. But with the election his to lose, Yash has to make some big decisions about telling the truth and taking a stand, and India must decide whether she’s willing to risk the peace she’s found for the man she’s never gotten over. Incense and Sensibility may look light and possibly even funny from the cover, but it’s really not. While there are some lighter moments, the book deals with very real trauma and pain, and the author isn’t afraid to show how the characters are affected by their pasts in damaging ways. At the same time, the characters really are lovely and sympathetic, and I loved getting to know the new characters introduced in this addition to the Rajes series, especially India, who is just wonderful. As an Austen retelling, I found I&S to be very successful. Contemporary retellings of Austen novels are hard to pull off. With the classics’ focus on marriage, their themes can be hard to translate to a modern setting, and many of the retellings I’ve read feel like they’re trying too hard to shoehorn Austen’s storylines into a setting where they just don’t work. Not so in I&S. Sonali Dev doesn’t hit us over the head with the Jane Austen references and plot points. While they’re there, they work organically, so the story would make sense and be appealing even without knowledge of the original. And while some characters’ storylines are a bit more obvious — for example, China as the Marianne stand-in is destined to have her heart broken — I was still taken by surprise by some of the twists and turns of the story, and that’s a good thing. Also, for what it’s worth, it took me a really long time to figure out who the Colonel Brandon character would be, even though it should have been obvious (I won’t say why, because spoilers!). Incense and Sensibility is a terrific read, both as a standalone contemporary love story and as an Austen retelling. I can’t wait to find out which Austen novel the author will tackle next! I’m so enjoying the characters and their lives, and look forward to the next book so I can stay in their world. Review copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley. Full review at Bookshelf Fantasies.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kari Ann Sweeney

    (PUB DATE 7.6)  Thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow books for early copy of one of my most anticipated reads of 2021, 𝐈𝐍𝐂𝐄𝐍𝐒𝐄 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐒𝐈𝐁𝐈𝐋𝐈𝐓𝐘. I placed it on my hypothetical pedestal and it easily earned the spot. It was just lovely! This second chance love story is deeply layered.  It's a story about family, responsibility, and power of choice.  I could feel the characters struggle between choosing what's expected of them or choosing what is true in their heart.  What I appreciate about Dev's (PUB DATE 7.6)  Thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow books for early copy of one of my most anticipated reads of 2021, 𝐈𝐍𝐂𝐄𝐍𝐒𝐄 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐒𝐈𝐁𝐈𝐋𝐈𝐓𝐘. I placed it on my hypothetical pedestal and it easily earned the spot. It was just lovely! This second chance love story is deeply layered.  It's a story about family, responsibility, and power of choice.  I could feel the characters struggle between choosing what's expected of them or choosing what is true in their heart.  What I appreciate about Dev's writing is her ability to blend light & dark into a wholly satisfying story. There is a romantic element paired with weightier issues like mental health, past sexual assault, racism, and hate crimes.  I've read and adored the first two titles in this "series" - 𝘗𝘳𝘪𝘥𝘦, 𝘗𝘳𝘦𝘫𝘶𝘥𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘖𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘍𝘭𝘢𝘷𝘰𝘳𝘴 and 𝘙𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘱𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘗𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘶𝘢𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯. This title can be read as a stand-alone, but reading the first two certainly adds depth.   

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ayushi

    This book may have restored my cold dead heart. I absolutely loved following Yash and India’s story in Incense and Sensibility. It felt so nice to return to the world of The Rajes after loving Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors and Recipe for Persuasion (which still remains my number one adult contemporary of all time). And I’m officially declaring now that Sonali Dev is literally the BEST at writing second chance romances. I don’t even know if Incense and Sensibility counts as a second chance This book may have restored my cold dead heart. I absolutely loved following Yash and India’s story in Incense and Sensibility. It felt so nice to return to the world of The Rajes after loving Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors and Recipe for Persuasion (which still remains my number one adult contemporary of all time). And I’m officially declaring now that Sonali Dev is literally the BEST at writing second chance romances. I don’t even know if Incense and Sensibility counts as a second chance romance considering Yash and India only shared a kiss and nothing more--there was no official relationship between them--but the amount of tension Sonali Dev can create between the two after TEN years and only one kiss was incredible. Every single lingering look and touch between the two made my heart feel like it was going to burst. This also has the “seeing each other’s scars” trope, which is such an underrated trope, and oh my god it was so good. Seeing Yash grow from being super closed off and trying to seem put together all the time to growing comfortable with being vulnerable was really heartwarming as well. I feel like this book was so refreshing when considering how young Indian-American boys are raised--to always be stoic and strong all the time. Seeing Yash admit that he’s not comfortable being intimate, and seeing him learning how to live with his anxiety and PTSD when mental health is barely discussed in the South Asian community was so great. I also really just love the Rajes siblings so much. As much as each of them have their own faults, they are so united against any obstacle that comes in any of their ways and they have such adoring love and support for one another no matter the circumstance, and it’s just really beautiful to see. It was one of the reasons I loved jumping back into the world of The Rajes--seeing all the cameos from the different siblings and how their dynamics have developed and how their relationships have grown since Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors was so sweet. As a sibling myself, I have so much respect for them for standing up for one another, especially when they stand united against HRH. It’s reflective of how many young Indian-Americans promise to make positive change regarding some of the toxic issues within the older generations of the South Asian community. Lastly, I have to talk about all the plot twists in this book. Incense and Sensibility starts and ends with a huge bang (and I kinda mean that literally) and I totally was not expecting the plot twists that popped up in this book. You can always count on Sonali to drop a bombshell of a plot twist in this series and it definitely did not disappoint here. I easily gave this 5 stars and I will ALWAYS recommend this series. If you are an Austen fan, a South Asian-American reader, or anyone looking for a beautiful romance balanced with contemporary issues, I highly recommend The Rajes!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kasia

    **ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review** I was prepared to love this story and the beginning was right up my alley - Yash Raje, California's gubernatorial candidate, developes terrible anxiety attacks after being shot at during one of the rallies. With only 3 months of campaigning left before the election he cannot afford to show his vulnerability and is forced to seek help. He reaches out to India Dashwood - stress management coach and yoga instructor - and the romance ensu **ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review** I was prepared to love this story and the beginning was right up my alley - Yash Raje, California's gubernatorial candidate, developes terrible anxiety attacks after being shot at during one of the rallies. With only 3 months of campaigning left before the election he cannot afford to show his vulnerability and is forced to seek help. He reaches out to India Dashwood - stress management coach and yoga instructor - and the romance ensues. It's a story with a really good bones but it just kept rubbing me in all the wrong ways. First of all - it's painfully long for a book where nothing really happens. Yash and Indias conversations are described with such an agonizing detail that it was almost ridiculous. He says "Hi" and then you will get a long description how tortured his looks were, how his eyes were pleading and how her heart had jumped at the sound of his voice. Then she will respond with a "Hello" and another description follow with him feeling instantly calm in her presence and her drinking up his face. It's an exaggeration but only a small one. What makes it even worse is that this descriptions are repetitive, characters emotions are very limited so you are forced to read about same feeling over and over again. Second of all - it's an all-consuming insta love. Everything gets pushed aside, both characters lives are not existing outside of the realm of their romance and because of that it was really hard for me to like or connect with anyone in this book. Yash is such a perfect man that even though he eats only doughnuts he is still able to have a perfect six-pack. To learn how ideal India is you will read about her sister praising her for being flawless. Connect with that if you can. Last of all - there is a sapphic romance between India's sister (that was adopted from Kenya) and Korean superstar Song (her name was mentioned once or twice and I don't remember it - everyone was calling her "Song"). It's such a predictable story that it feels like it was squished in just to show how tolerant the author is. I won't recommend it but I won't warn you either. It was not for me but I see that it can be enjoyable.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (Remarkablylisa)

    This one was so angsty towards the end and I freaking hated our hero's best friend. She was pure evil!!!! Crazy stuff. I also didn't like how our hero fake dated someone for so long and how both of our characters didn't admit their feelings for each other till more than halfway through the book! Plus our hero needed to tell her things but he had severe trust issues and explained everything a little too late for my liking. This one was so angsty towards the end and I freaking hated our hero's best friend. She was pure evil!!!! Crazy stuff. I also didn't like how our hero fake dated someone for so long and how both of our characters didn't admit their feelings for each other till more than halfway through the book! Plus our hero needed to tell her things but he had severe trust issues and explained everything a little too late for my liking.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    It’s going to take me a few days to process this story. It was much more intense than I expected. Don’t get it twisted - this is definitely romance. But it is serious and deals with a lot of real issues. I loved the progression of the characters. I felt like this book was much closer to the original material from which it was inspired. Definitely worth reading! 4.5 stars

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jite

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It is hard to capture my adoration of this book in words except to say that it is currently my favourite book of any genre I’ve read this year out of the 113 I’ve read so far. It is not exactly shocking that I loved this book. I’m a huge fan of this authors The Rajes series- the first book in this series of standalones, “Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavours,” was my number 1 favourite read of 2019, and Book 2, “Recipe for Persuasion,” was a top 10 read of 2020 for me. This author for me, really k It is hard to capture my adoration of this book in words except to say that it is currently my favourite book of any genre I’ve read this year out of the 113 I’ve read so far. It is not exactly shocking that I loved this book. I’m a huge fan of this authors The Rajes series- the first book in this series of standalones, “Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavours,” was my number 1 favourite read of 2019, and Book 2, “Recipe for Persuasion,” was a top 10 read of 2020 for me. This author for me, really knows how to tell a compelling, angsty absolutely gorgeous story that breaks your heart to pieces but puts you back together and delivers the most amazing characters. In this 3rd book in the series, we get to know perfect older brother and politician side character from previous books, Yash Raje, better. Yash, is the perfect politician- suave, passionate about the issues, responsible and caring but also honest maybe to a fault, and his perfectly curated world is about to be shaken when after a tragic incident he needs the help of the only woman who has ever been able to destabilize him, yoga instructor and stress coach, India Dashwood. India has already been let down by Yash in the past but can’t help caring about what happens to the aspiring California governor. I’ve explained the book really drily. Take my word for it that from chapter 1 you will be sucked into a well of angst and emotion and you will fall in love with these characters. Thematically, this is a political love story about an Indian-American man seeking to be the first POC governor of California- it’s about running for office for the right reasons and the real meanings of public service. This novel explains lies and truth within the context of politics and public life in a way that really calls to mind narratives around truth and service that came into acceptance leading up to the 2020 US elections. But inasmuch as this is a political book since the themes of truth and selflessness can’t help but bring to mind what truth because in US politics between 2016 and 2020 when the concept of truth and “alternate truth” entered public discourse, this is not a political book in the sense of being partisan. It is not a book about any particular candidate or any particular party. It is also a story about family and friendship and resilience- a beautiful beautiful love story about understanding and a responsible sort of love that serves others more than self. Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” has never been my favourite of her books- I have too little patience with the characters. But after reading this book, after recognizing the Marianne and Elinor characters, I have infinitely more understanding and compassion for these sisters. Even the Willoughby character is less irredeemable villain and more “e be like dat sometimes” f-boy (or f-girl in this case). If you’re familiar with the original story, you will recognize the major players and think of them differently as long as you remember this is an adaptation not a retelling. If you’ve never read Austen and have no intention of doing so, it won’t signify because this book is MORE THAN ENOUGH on its own. I have to flag content warnings of rape (male victim) and trauma related to that, anxiety, gun violence, familial pressure and loneliness. Perhaps a bit more time could have been spent dealing with theses traumas but for me, I loved how vulnerable this author allowed Yash to be and how much in sync he and India were. The secondary characters were absolutely delightful- most of them we already knew from previous books in the series. Tara Dashwood, India’s mother and her gory stories, was a particular treat in this book providing some needed comic relief with her predictably gross yet compellingly delightful stories. If I have one minor niggle, it would be that perhaps India is perhaps too nice, but so was Elinor… perhaps she didn’t have as much growth as Yash or change as him… but even then, I didn’t feel like this book did her a disservice. She too had to also had to find herself and find how to live with her responsibilities in this book. And I adored her as much as I did Yash. Perhaps, I also craved more of a resolution for Yash and Naina, but then what more resolution could there have been? When all seemed lost like there was no solution, this author managed to create the most gorgeous conclusion to this amazingly beautiful, angsty book. I am soooo blown away by this book. I could speak or write about it forever. I can absolutely not recommend this enough. It stands alone really well but there’s a reward of feeling like part of the Raje family if you read the other books in order first. This author has done it again in this series! I received an advanced copy of this book from William Morrow Books.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Beck

    I read this months ago and can't believe I forgot to leave a review! This is my favorite of the Raje/Austen reimaginings, and not just because I LOVE YASH! It's remarkable to me that, although this is a book that delves into politics and violence, it is still remarkably a romantic book that doesn't feel overly weighed down by the complex "real world" issues in the story. The heart of the story and romantic conflict really boils down to questions about integrity and the complications that arise i I read this months ago and can't believe I forgot to leave a review! This is my favorite of the Raje/Austen reimaginings, and not just because I LOVE YASH! It's remarkable to me that, although this is a book that delves into politics and violence, it is still remarkably a romantic book that doesn't feel overly weighed down by the complex "real world" issues in the story. The heart of the story and romantic conflict really boils down to questions about integrity and the complications that arise in life when we compromise our integrity in order to get what we think we want. Yash's journey is so relatable despite him being larger-than-life precisely because, at heart, he has come to the crossroads we all do when we realize that what we really want isn't what we thought, and then have to take on a little pain in order to course-correct. I don't want to give spoilers so you'll have to read this one to learn more. P.S. In case it isn't clear enough....I LOVE YASH. :-)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Vaish -bookishbelle1008

    I would like to thank the publishers for giving me an ARC of this book to review. The review will go into the comments as I absolutely adored this book! Incense and Sensibility is the third book in The Rajes series by the talented and incredible Sonali Dev. I adored the first two Jane Austen retelling books in this series and devoured the story of the handsome and charming Yash Raje. Till now, Yash had appeared in the previous books, however readers were only given glimpses into this life and per I would like to thank the publishers for giving me an ARC of this book to review. The review will go into the comments as I absolutely adored this book! Incense and Sensibility is the third book in The Rajes series by the talented and incredible Sonali Dev. I adored the first two Jane Austen retelling books in this series and devoured the story of the handsome and charming Yash Raje. Till now, Yash had appeared in the previous books, however readers were only given glimpses into this life and personality. A key theme that Sonali highlights in the book is that of mental and spiritual wellbeing as she explores the ramifications of trauma, survivors guilt and unresolved grief. Yash has dedicated his life to his people, family and duty, neglecting his personal growth and believing that his true happiness lies in winning and control. India is adopted into a single parent, multicultural family; her siblings come from Thailand and Kenya. Being adopted myself, I feel the love and respect that is shared between the members of the Dashwood family is fated and special. She has always been surrounded by love and care but her sour encounter with Yash a decade ago has left her feeling unwanted and undeserving of true love. India devotes her energy into running her family yoga studio for the betterment of people, ignoring her wishes. Despite their starkly different upbringing and backgrounds, I always perceived Yash and India as travelling together on parallel train tracks. The beauty of Sonali’s writing lies in the way she connects the readers to her characters as you grow to cherish and provide them a place in your heart. The romance is the icing on the cake; spectacular, sweet and soulful! Yet again, we are reminded of the realistic nature of love, the trials and tribulations this sweet torment brings with it. It was wonderful to be able to “meet” all my favourite characters from the previous two books that feature in this one, as well as be introduced to some new, lively personalities that brighten up the story. Although this is a book based on a political campaign, we never feel overwhelmed with too much political jargon, rather enough to keep you on the Rajes campaign. Finally, Yash Raje, who absolutely stole the show and my heart in this story, how can he be so perfect? The male protagonist’s in Sonali’s stories are some of my absolute favourites and with his faith, perseverance and inherit simplicity, Yash had me smiling the whole way through. For me, this 5 star read is one I cannot wait to see hit the shelves on July 6th 2021 and for the world to shower this book with love. The Rajes are a family that will stay with you forever and the wonderful lady behind them, Sonali, is one whose books will leave you with a heartwarming feeling.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cassie

    Incense and Sensibility is a spin-off of Sense and Sensibility, one of my favorite Austen novels. Add in yoga and politics, and you have an unlikely match that’s sure to win you over! This second chance love story has so many layers of insecurity and disappointment that must be peeled away in order to reach their HEA. The struggle they both go through in their own personal self-discovery and healing are so wonderfully done! Sonali Dev brings so much levity and hope to her stories, which is a neede Incense and Sensibility is a spin-off of Sense and Sensibility, one of my favorite Austen novels. Add in yoga and politics, and you have an unlikely match that’s sure to win you over! This second chance love story has so many layers of insecurity and disappointment that must be peeled away in order to reach their HEA. The struggle they both go through in their own personal self-discovery and healing are so wonderfully done! Sonali Dev brings so much levity and hope to her stories, which is a needed balance when you’re dealing with issues like racism, hate crimes, sexual assault, and mental health. This wonderful book can be read as a stand alone, but I recommend starting from the beginning of the series for the whole backstory! Thanks to William Morrow for the gifted copy!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    India Dashwood has eaten, slept, and breathed yoga and a holistic lifestyle her entire life. She runs her family's yoga and incense business with her mom. But after tapping out their finances for a much needed remodel, India isn't sure what to do when some unexpected medical bills for her mom start picking up. Add to that the reappearance in her life of an old flame from 10 years ago that burnt out as quickly as it was lit and India is struggling to juggle it all. Yash Raje is that old flame. He' India Dashwood has eaten, slept, and breathed yoga and a holistic lifestyle her entire life. She runs her family's yoga and incense business with her mom. But after tapping out their finances for a much needed remodel, India isn't sure what to do when some unexpected medical bills for her mom start picking up. Add to that the reappearance in her life of an old flame from 10 years ago that burnt out as quickly as it was lit and India is struggling to juggle it all. Yash Raje is that old flame. He's running for governor of California, but when someone shoots at him at a rally and suddenly his bodyguard, who took the bullet, is fighting for his life, Yash seems to have lost his courage to speak in front of crowds. So, of course, his sisters point him to one of their friends, India Dashwood, to help him get through it. For me, this was just too much. The melodrama in this one was just over the top. I'm not sure how old China was supposed to be (at least in her 30s), but she acted like she was a young teen. Yash and India, I at least understood the problem, but how could Yash know his "girlfriend" this long and not know what a heinous bitch she is? Overall, this one didn't do it for me. I liked the previous book, bit still haven't read the first one. I'll read more, I just didn't dig this one.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shweta

    ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Incense and Sensibility became my first completed book of 2021 in a rather serendipitous way. I had started an epic Sci-Fic novel (which I am yet to finish btw) when I read the synopsis of this book on Edelweiss+. As suspected it was all about Yash Raje and a retelling of my favorite Austen. Needless to say I made the switch faster than you could say Jane! Yash Raje has been a crucial character and driver of plots in the previous bo ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Incense and Sensibility became my first completed book of 2021 in a rather serendipitous way. I had started an epic Sci-Fic novel (which I am yet to finish btw) when I read the synopsis of this book on Edelweiss+. As suspected it was all about Yash Raje and a retelling of my favorite Austen. Needless to say I made the switch faster than you could say Jane! Yash Raje has been a crucial character and driver of plots in the previous books of the Raje set, to see him come into his own in this book is a joy to the readers of this series. The complex dynamics of a fledgling, long suppressed romance, that comes under media scrutiny owing to the political career of the protagonist turns this in to a sensitive yet mature portrayal of love. Love that needn't always be declared from rooftops and brandished with social media declarations but one that is held close to the heart, nurtured and revered. Just like the original, Incense and Sensibility looks at love without the rose tinted glasses and so much sensibility.

  26. 4 out of 5

    She Said Yes to Books

    This was my first time reading this author and probably the last. I couldn’t get into this book. Incense and Sensitivity was a modern retelling of Sense and Sensibility. I felt almost no connection with the characters. I was super bored. I just couldn’t finish it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sydney

    I received an ARC through net galley. First off, this book is a sequel which I did not know, it made things a bit confusing at first but I eventually understood what was going on. One thing that was a consistantly confusing was how she called her mom either mom or Tara, at times I couldn't remember that they were the same person. Yash and India are amazing. The fact that neither one of them was ever able to find something like what they have with each other made everything so special. I love that I received an ARC through net galley. First off, this book is a sequel which I did not know, it made things a bit confusing at first but I eventually understood what was going on. One thing that was a consistantly confusing was how she called her mom either mom or Tara, at times I couldn't remember that they were the same person. Yash and India are amazing. The fact that neither one of them was ever able to find something like what they have with each other made everything so special. I love that they were both brutally honest with each other the whole time, it made it feel very real.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kate Olson

    (free review copy) This series just keeps getting better and better! I’ve loved every single Sonali Dev book that I’ve read but this might just be my favorite. She takes classic tropes and stories and makes them modern and unique in such a delightful way. At this point in time I didn’t know I could ever have such love and affection for a politician but she made it happen ❤️ and the yoga storyline? YES PLEASE. This is the third book in the series and could be read as a stand-alone, but reading in (free review copy) This series just keeps getting better and better! I’ve loved every single Sonali Dev book that I’ve read but this might just be my favorite. She takes classic tropes and stories and makes them modern and unique in such a delightful way. At this point in time I didn’t know I could ever have such love and affection for a politician but she made it happen ❤️ and the yoga storyline? YES PLEASE. This is the third book in the series and could be read as a stand-alone, but reading in order will add so much depth and richness to the experience.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a chance to read and review this book. This was my favorite in the series. I really love everything about India. Her character is so selfless and warm and thoughtful. I loved how healing and calming her touch was to everyone around her. Yashe was not my favorite character but he definitely grew on me especially learning his backstory. I loved that he just wanted to serve the people and had such a heart for them through running for governor. It was very Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a chance to read and review this book. This was my favorite in the series. I really love everything about India. Her character is so selfless and warm and thoughtful. I loved how healing and calming her touch was to everyone around her. Yashe was not my favorite character but he definitely grew on me especially learning his backstory. I loved that he just wanted to serve the people and had such a heart for them through running for governor. It was very well written with endearing characters.

  30. 5 out of 5

    K Whatsherface

    Before reading: Does Yash have a secret child?! I love this series and I hope Dev does all the austen books. These aren't by the numbers retellings but it's interesting enough that love it anyway. I can't wait for this book After reading: nope. No secret child. Hey the description talks about a magical night 10 years ago. That's usually code for secret baby. I love this series. I wonder which book is next. And which Rajes. Before reading: Does Yash have a secret child?! I love this series and I hope Dev does all the austen books. These aren't by the numbers retellings but it's interesting enough that love it anyway. I can't wait for this book After reading: nope. No secret child. Hey the description talks about a magical night 10 years ago. That's usually code for secret baby. I love this series. I wonder which book is next. And which Rajes.

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