Note: This ARC was provided by Riptide Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Far From Home is an unconventional F/F contemporary love story from author Lorelie Brown and is the first book in her Belladonna Ink series. When Rachel Fizel inadvertently offers to marry Pari Sadashiv upon hearing of the latter's immigration woes, little did she think that it would spark an agreement that would have both of them married to one another for at least two years. Both in their twenties, Rachel's offer gives Pari the idea that maybe this American is the solution to her residency problems. In order to convince the immigration department that they aren't together for anything other than love, Rachel and Pari will have to have solid proof as well as remain married for two years or more. In exchange, Rachel will be able to pool her money to pay off her huge student debt instead of worrying how to pay her rent, take care of utilities, and so on. It shouldn't be too difficult, right? But with the stress of her future mother-in-law coming and dealing with her confusing feelings for Pari, Rachel's anorexia could tip her over the edge.
This story was such a wonderful surprise of a read. It wasn't overly focused on the intricacies involved in a marriage of convenience and it was so much more than the already tackled foreigner and American marrying for a green card only to fall in love in the process. Rachel is a recovering anorexic who doesn't seem to have found her footing in the world. She's never received the kind of support--financial, emotional, or otherwise--from her parents and doesn't really have much of a family to speak of, only leaning on her closest of friends when necessary. Pari has loving parents and comes from a large but close-knit family composed of relatives galore steeped in tradition but I loved how the author chose to make Pari's parents accepting of her being a lesbian and receptive to her wanting to marry a woman. Rachel is a complex character but then it's fair to say so is Pari, although Rachel is just a tad more developed as a main character compared to Pari. They are both main characters that are easy to like and empathize with.
I've watched movies and read stories about arrangements similar to the one Pari and Rachel engage in, and yes, I've even heard real life tales as well, and it's far more commonplace than some may realize. I appreciated how the author chose to focus on Rachel's journey of discovery in terms of her sexuality and of managing her anorexia. We get to know her well in this book and if there was one thing that I would have wished for in this already fantastic read, it was the opportunity to have gotten to know Pari on the same level as Rachel. I did, however, adore Pari's mother, Niharika, who was such a supportive mother and didn't hesitate to make Rachel feel part of their family. There's a scene in the epilogue involving Rachel and Pari's parents that got me teary-eyed and helped in giving this story the kind of heartwarming ending it deserved. Belladonna Ink, the tattoo shop where Rachel's best friend's girlfriend works at, is featured briefly but I hope for more as the eponymous series progresses. Far From Home gets five stars. ♥
Date Read: 02 August 2016
Learn more about Lorelie Brown.