Bookish Witch

The Fourth Kiss by Dr. Abhinav Atul

Blurb (as on Amazon):

When an average guy, Hrishi, who has had bad luck in matters of love, gives in to his father’s wish and agrees to embrace the institution of arranged marriage, the future seems all but certain. As luck would have it, however, the path to an arranged marriage takes Hrishi to someone who has her own love story to deal with.
The general aversion of Indian parents to the concept of love marriage is universally known. Inter caste or inter-religion marriage is considered a bigger taboo than murder in many families. But even with family oppositions aside, there is no formula to say which two people who believe themselves to be in love would eventually have a ‘happily ever after’.
So, when love creeps in unannounced and unnoticed between two people who have already decided not to marry, what happens? What is our protagonist to do when the path he has set out on is entangled in friendship, longing, heartache, love, and the roller coaster called life? From a spontaneous and innocent first kiss to a decisive fourth kiss, Hrishi’s journey will rekindle your faith in love

Genre: Fiction/Romantic Drama

Format: Kindle eBook (for paperback connect with author)

Pages: 241


Kindle ebook: 75 INR/ $0.99

Paperback: $6.99

My Rating: 4/5

Hrishi and Preety meet each other in an arranged marriage setup. Though Hrishi likes her, on Preety’s revelation of already being in a relationship with someone else, he rejects the proposal. What follows is a series of meetings, which lead to a friendship that survives many years. Without even realizing it, Hrishi slowly falls for Preety. But will this lead to anything? And more importantly, how does Preety feel about Hrishi?

What I liked about the book:

  • Both the lead characters have a toxic past that they can’t seem to let go of. The way they heal from this, grow in their own way, and how this affects their relationship with everyone, and with each other, forms the most beautiful part of this romantic drama.
  • The family conflict shown in the story is something that happens in every Indian household and would be relatable for most. What is particularly notable is the portrayal of the complicated relationship between Indian children and their fathers.
  • You can’t help but root for Hrishi as he grows chapter by chapter. We see him becoming a better version of himself as he makes some difficult choices and realizes his flaws.

What I did not like about the book:

  • There is a lot of internal thinking, especially where Hrishi’s character is concerned. Though this provides insight and is quite well written, it does become a drag at some points.
  • The initial few chapters had both Hrishi and Preety’s PoVs but later it became focused only on Hrishi. I wish this pattern had continued. It would have helped us understand the story better from Preety’s side.
  • Preety’s character comes off as selfish, snobbish, and self-centered. At many points, you feel like she is using Hrishi. She comes crying to him only when she’s in trouble and even stays in contact with him to have him as a backup for Aatif (her ex-boyfriend)

Quotable quotes:

  • Rain is never cold as long as your heart is warm.
  • Physical closeness is not needed to keep love alive
  • Separation, struggle, and sacrifice aren’t really that essential for true, lasting love.
  • It is a normal tendency of the heart to look for ill omens hidden in good moments. The heart cannot just believe that happiness can last. It is too biased.
  • What is life but a story of unfulfilled desires?
  • Love often has that effect on people. One moment you feel content to have that one special person in your life, the next moment you notice that you have no one else left.
  • Love is not money that can be stored in banks when not spent; it gets converted into something.
  • Not everyone has the courage to hear and heed what the heart says, especially when it is against the normal rules of society.
  • Love isn’t lasting, marriage is.
  • The only balm for a broken heart is companionship and friendship. In most cases when people fall in love for the second time, it is with the ones they can share and talk about their first love.

Check out the book here:

Author’s social media links:

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