Sonya Lalli | A Holly Jolly Diwali

holly jolly diwali sonya lalli

The Book: 

A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli
Published October 5th 2021 by Berkley Books
Date read: November 15, 2021

The Characters: 


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buy it on | Amazon

The Plot (from Goodreads):

Twenty-nine-year-old Niki Randhawa has always made practical decisions. Despite her love for music and art, she became an analyst for the stability. She’s always stuck close to home, in case her family needed her. And she’s always dated guys that seem good on paper, rather than the ones who give her butterflies. When she’s laid off, Niki realizes that practical hasn’t exactly paid off for her. So for the first time ever, she throws caution to the wind and books a last-minute flight for her friend Diya’s wedding.

Niki arrives in India just in time to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights, where she meets London musician Sameer Mukherji. Maybe it’s the splendor of Mumbai or the magic of the holiday season, but Niki is immediately drawn to Sam. At the wedding, the champagne flows and their flirtatious banter makes it clear that the attraction is mutual.

When Niki and Sam join Diya, her husband and their friends on a group honeymoon, their connection grows deeper. Free-spirited Sam helps Niki get in touch with her passionate and creative side, and with her Indian roots. When she gets a new job offer back home, Niki must decide what she wants out of the next chapter of her life–to cling to the straight and narrow like always, or to take a leap of faith and live the kind of bold life the old Niki never would have dreamed of.

The Review: 

Thank you to the publisher for a complimentary eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Although I’ve read many Christmas books so far this season, this was my first non-Christmas holiday book. I really enjoyed this mental trip to India and brief dive into Indian culture, specifically Diwali.

I loved that Niki kept asking people why they celebrate Diwali. I knew that Diwali was the festival of lights, but, like Niki, I didn’t know much about why it is celebrated before reading this book. It was so interesting to learn about how many different translations there are of the same holiday.

Niki’s family didn’t teach their children a lot about India or where they came from when they were growing up, so the reader gets to learn about Punjabi culture alongside Niki. This book touches on important themes of classism and casteism, as Niki struggles with complicated feelings towards some aunties looking down on her. Luckily, the friends she meets in India help get her through.

I enjoyed the love story, which I’d classify as opposites attract with a small touch of love triangle. Niki’s rigid plan for her future is balanced out by easy-going Sam, and I loved how he tried to convince her to follow her dreams.

The wedding scenes were my favorite part of this book. Indian weddings seem like so much fun! I know they traditionally have huge weddings in that part of the world, but can you imagine having 1500 people at your wedding??

QOTD: What other non-Christmas holiday books would you recommend this season? The Matzah Ball is coming up soon on my TBR!

Check out some other holiday reads here.

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holly jolly diwali sonya lalli

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