In “The Marriage Code” by Brooke Burroughs we meet Emma, a young twentysomething living in Seattle and working for a tech company. At the start of the story, she has just been blindsided by her boyfriend’s surprise proposal, in a crowded restaurant, completely embarrassing both of them when she says no. Things are awkward in their shared apartment after that, to say the least. We also meet Rishi, who is visiting Seattle from his home in India, where he works for the same company as Emma. Rishi is visiting but has been told that he will be given a project that will keep him in America for a while, which is perfect for his needs. Both are in for some surprises.
When they first meet, it’s not an auspicious beginning. In fact, it’s a nightmare. And when shortly thereafter, Rishi finds out that what should have been his promotion was given to Emma, he is furious. Emma learns that to get the promotion, she needs a great app developer like Rishi on her team, so she needs to eat some humble pie and apologize for her rude behavior when they met. As romance readers know, out of terrible first encounters sometimes romance grows. And while the romance does, indeed, grow slowly, there are plenty of sparks along the way. It also seems that it will be impossible for their relationship to truly be able to endure long term with Rishi’s family problems.
In real life, love doesn’t always conquer all, but in romance novels we do always get happily ever afters. Burroughs gives us a sweet ending that is — barely — plausible. And touching. Along the way, you might just feel the need to visit your local Indian restaurant for some of the many delicious and spicy dishes listed in the story.
Please note: This review is based on the advance reader’s copy provided by Montlake, the publisher, for review purposes.