Jane Austen’s Emma goes Bollywood in this retelling from the highly acclaimed author of Accidentally Engaged.
Kamila Hussain’s life might not be perfect, but, whew, it’s close. She lives a life of comfort, filled with her elaborate Bollywood movie parties, a dog with more Instagram followers than most reality stars, a job she loves, and an endless array of friends who clearly need her help finding love. In fact, Kamila is so busy with her friends’ love lives, she’s hardly given any thought to her own . . .
Fortunately, Kamila has Rohan Nasser. A longtime friend of the family, he’s hugely successful, with the deliciously lean, firm body of a rock climber. Only lately, Kamila’s “harmless flirting” with Rohan is making her insides do a little bhangra dance.
But between planning the local shelter’s puppy prom, throwing a huge work event, and proving to everyone that she’s got it all figured out, Kamila isn’t letting herself get distracted—until her secret nemesis returns to town with an eye for Rohan. Suddenly, it seems like the more Kamila tries to plan, the more things are starting to unravel—and her perfectly ordered life is about to be turned upside down.
Kamila Knows Best is a modern-day South Asian Canadian retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma. I have never actually read Emma; however, I find that I prefer to read retellings before the classics they are based on. It is typically difficult to best a book that is a classic, so I enjoy retellings more without knowing the original text.
I should start this review with saying that I was unable to finish Kamila Knows Best. I have a ton of books to read this month, and I just could not get into this one. I tried to read it several times but finally gave up. As a result, I will not do my usual ratings breakdown. I will, of course, still tell you what I liked and did not like so you can decide for yourself if Kamila Knows Best is a book that you would enjoy.
I found the protagonist – Kamila – to be annoying and even a bit immature. Her character is a lot… and a lot of things I avoid in friends and people I spend times with. Kamila is constantly talking herself up and trying to matchmake. The character development was lacking for most of the characters. While I knew their basics – what they wear, their jobs, etc. – I did not know anything of substance about the characters. I stopped reading at 25 percent in to the book. By that time, little had happened plot-wise, and I still had not been given a reason to care about the characters or what happens to them. In addition, I found the writing to be plain and lackluster.
Farah Heron did do some things well in crafting Kamila Knows Best. I enjoyed reading about Desi culture. I was definitely drooling reading about the food being eaten. Dogs also feature a bit into the story, which I appreciate as a dog lover. As far as heavier subjects, Heron calls out sexism and ageism in the workplace and discusses the link between physical and mental health. I appreciated her handling of both of these subjects.
While Kamila Knows Best did not work out for me, I have no doubt others will find it enjoyable.
Did not finish
Kamila Knows Best
March 8, 2021
Note: I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher, Forever. Regardless, I always provide a fair and honest review.