I enjoyed this story about a marriage bureau in India, although what the bureau does doesn't seem very different from what I understand happens there anyway, with it being quite normal for families to advertise in the newspaper columns for matches for their sons or daughters. It is the characters in the story who make it, as in all good stories.
My only reservation about the book is the way the writer sometimes intrudes by coming in with an explanation of how something happens in Indian culture. I love reading Indian novels and usually they are a bit more discreet, with the reader having to absorb the culture rather than having it handed to them together with an instruction manual. An example of what I mean -
'"What is this, madam? I've never had this drink before,' asked Aruna. [I also think the 'asked' is out of place here]
'This is rooh afza. I suppose you can call it rose syrup. It is an old cooling rinkused by Muslims. Most young people don't know about it now - they all drink Coke or Pepsi," said Mrs Ali.'
The writing is also sometimes a little stilted, with rather annoying repetitions of names, as in the final paragraph of the novel: 'Mrs Ali looked at him in disbelief for a second. Then tears slowly rolled down Mrs Ali's cheeks . . .' I think 'her' would definitely have flowed better here, but perhaps it is the quirk of an Indian writer.
But the main romantic story of Aruna and Ram, which is threaded through the novel with the story of Mr and Mrs Ali's worries about their son's involvement with a protest group, is interesting and well done, although I felt that Ram's wealthy father was rather too quickly convinced by Mr Ali of the rightness of Ram's choice of Aruna, a poor girl, as his wife.
This isn't a novel I would keep to read again, but it is one I would recommend to others as a single read that is pleasant and interesting and is light enough to take their minds off the minor concerns of their day.