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Devil for a Husband

“Inaya Mangal…She was the princess of her father and uncle, why not…She was beautiful, intelligent and clever…But life is not always a fairy tale, if her uncle was a lenient man than his wife…Vrushika no less than any bitch. She never behaved like a human with poor Inaya…Reason, she was always praised by others. She would give Inaya stale and the last day’s left over food to eat…she would thrash and raise her hands on Inaya…But she won’t utter a word. Note even a frown…She was that fragile and lenient.” (Devil for a husband, Chapter Two)

“Inaya lighted a candle and joined her hands while closing her eyes. ‘I’m really very thankful to you god that you gave me the strength to overcome my fear and fight back for myself…Now that I have known the truth I will do my best to harass her, and I will not stay no more as the same Inaya she used to pressurize. Just give me the courage to take a stand god.’” (Devil for a husband, Chapter Seven)

Twenty one year old Inaya is being forced to marry a man twenty eight years her senior, though she wants to stay in school and finish her degree. After the death of her family, Inaya was forced to live with her aunt and uncle. Her cousin despises her and her aunt has arranged for her marriage in exchange for a large amount of money. Finding her strength, Inaya fights back and threatens her aunt, no longer willing to be beaten and abused. She promises herself that she will never again be under the control of someone who hates her.

After wealthy playboy Riyan is called back to London from Dubai, he has been going out of his way to upset his father. He is forced to accompany his family to a celebration for his grandfather in Edinburgh. At the palace, he bumps into Inaya, who mistakes him for a common laborer. She is running the event with her uncle after being specifically chosen by Riyan’s grandfather. Riyan is shockingly enamored by the woman who does not acknowledge his wealth, good looks, or power. When the two are thrown together in a hasty marriage, will they realize that love can blossom even in the worst conditions?

This novel certainly takes its time; the female protagonist and male love interest do not before the tenth chapter. Devil for a husband wants to establish the backgrounds and home lives of its two main characters before throwing them together, but it certainly takes its time in doing so. The horrible circumstances in which Inaya and Riyan live could have been established within a chapter or two, though the extra chapters certainly emphasize just how horribly they are treated by their respective families. I would argue for the paring down of the novel so that the reader can jump right into the action of Devil for a husband. Otherwise, I fear that many readers will give up on the story before it really begins.

I was confused by Inaya’s relationship with her family. Her uncle is her father’s younger brother and he loves his niece greatly. However, he does not stop his wife from beating, starving, and abusing Inaya. Inaya is terrified to tell her uncle that his wife beats her, fearing more retribution, but her treatment should be fairly obvious. Inaya does all the chores, wears ill-fitting hand-me downs, and is weak from the beatings she receives. I understand why the young girl would be hesitant to tell her uncle, but that doesn’t explain how Vrushika is able to arrange a marriage behind her husband’s back. Wouldn’t he notice that one day his niece, who he has been caring for since her childhood, has suddenly disappeared?

I was happy to see Inaya stand up for herself. Too often romance novels save their female protagonists through the help of the male love interest instead of through the main character’s intelligence, courage and wit. Watching Inaya defeat and subdue her aunt will have readers on their feet cheering for the unfortunate girl.  She is not a shrinking violet, a refreshing change in the romance genre.

I was not sure whether I should be empathizing with Riyan or hating him. His father pulled him from school after a misunderstanding with a girl, even though Riyan was a good student that was dedicated to his studies. After this incident, Riyan has been treating his family terribly and acting out, seemingly to get his parents attentions (like a toddler). Compared to Inaya’s childhood trauma, Riyan doesn’t have that much to complain about, though that will not stop him from treating her poorly.

I was not attracted to the relationship between Inaya and Riyan. They lack chemistry or any real connections, making me uninterested in their future. I would have preferred to see Inaya explore a career as an event planner before settling down with a nice guy, but that is rarely how the romance cookie crumbles. Though you might not actively hate their relationship, Riyan and Inaya are not that interesting or engaging to follow.

This novel struggles to find its footing within the romance genre. It focuses too much on backstory and expositions, making the reader slog through a ton of chapters before the main characters meet, let alone begin their relationship. Devil for a husband needs a great deal of investment before the reader will see any type of reward.