An Incurable Insanity by Simi K. Rao (+ Giveaway!)

Incurably melodramatic.

About An Incurable Insanity by Simi K. Rao: Her heart fluttered when she heard the sound of the key turn in the lock. She quickly adjusted her maroon silk sari with the yellow border, the one that had caught his eye, and waited eagerly for his footsteps.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven… Yes, exactly seven steps before he stopped, hesitated for a few moments, then removed his shoes one by one and arranged them neatly side by side on the shoe rack.

She smiled. He had been mindful of taking his shoes off every day now. “I am not used to it, but I will if you want me to. It’s probably a good thing to do anyway.”

As he settled down, he would pick up the TV remote and, without looking at her, would say in his smooth baritone, “So how did you spend your day, anything interesting?”

Shaan Ahuja found himself bowing to tradition and agreeing to an arranged marriage to the beautiful Ruhi Sharma. He went through the motions but had no intention of carrying through on his vows. His last foray into matters of the heart with an American girl had left him scarred and unwilling to try again. Thoroughly disillusioned and disgruntled he wasted no time in making his intentions clear to Ruhi on their wedding night. But, he was completely unprepared for what his new wife had in mind.

My two cents

Ahh, love. What a crazy thing and what things it makes us do. Across cultures, love is a constant. But what if two strangers are thrown together in marriage? Is love possible in an arranged marriage? Is it possible to learn to love someone within its bounds while honouring tradition?

An Incurable Insanity touches on these questions, showing the journey of a young couple brought together by the Indian tradition of arranged marriage. The beautiful and much-loved Ruhi agrees to marry her father's friend's son, US-educated Shaan, secretly excited at marrying such a handsome and accomplished man. Her hopes are dashed when Shaan reveals that he is in love with another.

Once in the US, they live a farce of a married life. But as they get to know each other they find themselves drawn to each other and only after a protracted love-hate courtship do they decide if they are truly meant to be together.

I liked: 

I was intrigued by the premise of this book as I really wanted to find out how an arranged marriage could play out. I looked forward to how this would explore cultural differences of the concept of love. Is having the independence, the choice to love someone a heavily Western concept? Is there merit in the longstanding tradition of arranged marriage in certain cultures? What happens when an arranged marriage enters into yet another culture, as is this case for this Indian couple that immigrates to America?

The beginning also held promise and I was initially amused by the emotional push and pull, the frustration of being thrown into circumstances unwanted by both. I found Ruhi sweet and rather endearing, and Shaan's obliviousness just plain odd.

A third into the book, I wanted to stop. But for the obvious reason that I always give books the benefit of the doubt, and I dislike reviewing books I did not finish, I kept going.


I mentioned that I enjoyed the beginning but about a third into the book that I felt things weren't really progressing. Why?

The two main characters say one thing but want the exact opposite. We get to see their thoughts in italics, and how conflicted and frustrated they both are. Ruhi secretly loves Shaan already but pretends to hate him. Shaan is getting attracted to Ruhi but pretends to not care. It's a yes in italics but a no in action. Then those italics run one after the other and I am secretly seething at having to keeping tabs of who said what.

The love-hate, push-pull, yes-no, hot-cold theme was wearing thin; it was no longer amusing, it was getting tiring, annoying, exasperating. The romance felt juvenile, like two teenagers bickering. How I wished these two would just be able to read each others' thoughts (like me, the reader) instead of stubbornly refusing to talk to each other openly ... just because ... well, I have no idea why.

I felt the dialogues were corny and overly melodramatic. Corny: calling each other these silly nicknames (if you're a 50 Shades of Grey fan, it will probably make you smile). Melodramatic: descriptions and emotions to the extreme, hot or cold, black or white.

The main characters never really clicked with me and felt contrived. For example, Ruhi started out naive and sweet. Then she started swearing and it seemed that she morphed into different character altogether ... where did that come from? The other woman, Des, was a caricature of "the other woman": flat, predictable and no backstory or insight into why her viciousness with Ruhi.

This story and its characters drove me slightly crazy, and not in a good way.

Verdict: If you love over-the-top and melodramatic romances, you may enjoy this one. If you're interested in a different cultural milieu for your romance, the melding of Indian and American cultures in this romance may hold your interest.

I personally found that while the premise of a storyline based on an arranged marriage held promise, the romance was frustrating and tedious to read about.

About Simi K. Rao

Simi K. Rao was born in India and has been living in the United States for several years. This book is her first foray into writing. The inspiration for the story came from what she has seen transpire among and within the immigrant community. Some of the experiences included are her own; some have been garnered from friends and casual conversations with acquaintances. She also writes poetry, is an avid photographer, loves to travel, and is a practicing physician. She currently lives in Denver with her family.

To learn more about the author and her work and read excerpts from An Incurable Insanity, please check her blog

Check out the rest of the tour!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy of An Incurable Insanity up for grabs!
(Choice of either hardcover or Kindle copy - US only,
or Kindle copy - International) 

Book Depository
Print Length: 376 pages
Publisher: Tate Publishing (October 8, 2013)


  1. travel thousands of miles, cook delectable meals and spend thousands of dollars. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Sounds like an expensive type of love! Thanks for joining this giveaway traveler!

  2. I've had my shared of these types of books (arranged marriage). I found them very... interesting at the beginning, but somehow I grew bored of them.

  3. This is the first I'e read about arranged marriage, any recommendations? I was disappointed with this one :(

  4. Leave their friends and family behind! Crazy!


  5. abandon safety and security in life and jobs

  6. Fascinated&shocked by arranged marriages.

  7. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.

  8. I understand that this book was actually a fanfiction based on an Indian TV show. That explains the over the top of it all. I found the book tad bit too much.


© guiltless readingMaira Gall