Lies and Other Love Languages by Sonali Dev

Lies and Other Love Languages is a lovely fiction novel that follows three women: Mallika, a young and aspiring choreographer; her mom Vandy, a hugely successful advice columnist and personality; and Rani, Vandy’s long-lost best friend who moved back to India.

Mallika and Vandy are devastated with the loss of Mallika’s dad and Vandy’s husband, Vir, but deal with it in different ways.

Mallika feels even more different than usual from her family, and when presented spur-of-the-moment with a chance to participate in a genetic study, she jumps on it, not realizing the old and new wounds she’s opening up and the long and emotional history of family deception.

Loved this book! The emotions and love and other feelings are woven masterfully through the story, from Vandy and Rani’s friendship growing and shattering, the palpable love and closeness among all the characters, the heartbreaking reasons for the deceptions, and the unexpected feelings that arise.

The characters are so well-written—all human and flawed, but with so many redeeming qualities as well and so much love for each other. Same with the family dynamics—the tension and pressure of familial expectations tempered with some laughs and unconditional love too.

The triple timeline is a little tough at times—there’s the present from Vandy’s perspective in third person, events the week before the present from Mallika’s perspective in first person, and the past from Rani and Vandy’s childhood meeting through Mallika’s birth from Rani’s perspective in third person. At first, I was kind of annoyed but it ended up working really well and made the story better than it would have been with a straightforward chronology. Details and answers to questions come out at the perfect times; you learn just enough to keep you going and anticipate whatever is coming next.

Rating: 4.5
Steam: None (more fiction than romance)
Themes and Tropes: Family Secrets, Multiple Storylines, Deception
Pair With: Wine from Naidu Wines, owned by Raghni Naidi, a woman who is originally from India.