Title: The Set Up
Author(s): Falguni Kothari
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Would I Recommend? No
“Just three dates…”
Aditi Gupta is a pediatric resident. She has been busy with med school and work, not having time for dating. Well her grandfather disagrees. His compromise is to have his granddaughter go on three dates, that’s it. Aditi begrudgingly agrees but wants to make it clear that this is not an arranged marriage setup. Her grandfather agrees, and so the dates begin.
While Aditi wants to one day find the love of her life, she does not have high hopes for these dates. On her first date she meets the handsome Krishna Lal and as expected is does not go well.
Does she have high hopes for the other three dates? Nope, but these dates are nothing like she expected.
This is a rom-com novella presented by Audible, which means if you are listening to it on 1.5 speed, it will take you a little over an hour to listen to. I sometimes forget when I am listening to a novella versus a novel that the development of the characters, plot, and emotion can feel lacking. In reality it is the authors attempt to balance out everything in a short amount of time. The question then becomes how well did they balance them out.
Falguni did a decent job at this task. I enjoyed the overall plot line more than I enjoyed the characters. I was really turned off by Krishna’s character early on in the story. He made some comments throughout their date that made me wonder if looks outweighed a shitty personality. Aditi seems independent, strong-willed, and compassionate. She has a lot of responsibility and pressure, but she wants to fall in love one day. Honestly, I just had a hard time connecting with these characters. I think part of it is because their experiences are rooted in a culture I am unfamiliar with. The other part is I just don’t think they were super likable characters.
Its a cute story, but I think I like the side story better (avoiding those spoilers). How the plot wraps up was delightfully sweet and slightly unexpected, but it made me smile nonetheless.
Like all audiobooks, the narrators can make or break a story. If they do not depict a character well or make it uninteresting and monotone, then why bother continuing? This did not happen for The Setup. I think the narrators did well with the material they were given.
Do I think this is a good book?
Meh. It was fine for a rom-com novella.
Was the romance good?
I would classify it as a level 1 romance. There are cute scenes but nothing that makes me go “Awe…” Plus, with Krishna having some not-great monologue I just couldn’t see how these two worked together.
Would I recommend this to anyone and everyone?
Uh… No. I thought the cover was cute, which drew me in, but it wasn’t really for me. As I mentioned, I think there are some cultural aspects that I just don’t understand. I can appreciate them, but I don’t connect with them. That being said, maybe if you have similar family experiences, you may get a kick out of this.
Overall, it wasn’t bad. As I was writing this review, I realized that I needed to change my rating on this book. Initially, I gave it 3 stars because I didn’t think it was bad, but it wasn’t my favorite. After looking at all my thoughts… I didn’t think it was great. Not because the writing was bad or the plot was uninteresting, but I couldn’t connect or empathize with the characters. That and there seemed to be some toxic traits I was not a fan of. Regardless if you are interested in the cute plot ending, it’s worth a listen; otherwise, you can pass on this one.