"Incense and Sensibility is a tender, well-crafted novel, as much about finding purpose as it is about falling in love. Dev writes with such rare empathy and humor that I often found myself holding my breath on one page only to be giggling by the next. This is the kind of book you finish with a whole-body, happy sigh and a warm ache in your chest where the characters will live on. Yash and India’s story will stick with me for a long time.”— Emily Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read
Yash Raje, California’s first Indian-American gubernatorial candidate, has always known exactly what he wants—and how to use his privileged background to get it. He attributes his success to a simple mantra: control your feelings and you can control the world. But when a hate crime at a rally critically injures his friend, Yash’s easy life suddenly feels like a lie, his control an illusion. When he tries to get back on the campaign trail, he blacks out with panic.
Desperate to keep Yash’s condition from leaking to the media, his family turns to the one person they trust—his sister’s best friend, India Dashwood, California’s foremost stress management coach. Raised by a family of yoga teachers, India has helped San Francisco’s high strung overachievers for a decade without so much as altering her breath. But this man—with his boundless ambition, simmering intensity, and absolute faith in his political beliefs—is like no other.
Yash has spent a lifetime repressing everything to succeed, including their one magical night ten years ago—a too brief, too bright passion that if rekindled threatens to destroy the dream he’s willingly shouldered for his family and community . . . until now.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Witty, fresh, and compulsively readable, this love/hate/love story puts a delightfully multicultural, LGBTQ+-friendly spin on the Jane Austen classic Sense and Sensibility. Sonali Dev’s seventh novel and her third adaptation of Austen’s most popular titles—she previously tackled Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice—mirrors the source material’s obsession with class and ambition by delving into the passionate love lives and closely held secrets of a group of Indian-American families. A high-stakes political campaign and a series of misunderstandings add Austen-like drama to the fun, while the sparks that fly between star-crossed lovers India Dashwood and Yash Raje add some heat. If you’re looking for something sweet and a little bit spicy, Incense and Sensibility is perfect!
Dev's emotionally charged third Rajes romance (after Recipe for Persuasion) centers on Yash Raje, a California gubernatorial candidate whose meteoric rise is disrupted by an assassination attempt. Public sympathy pushes Yash to the top of the polls following the failed shooting, but trauma and anxiety attacks jeopardize his campaign. Enter India Dashwood, a yoga therapist and stress management coach and the woman Yash let get away 10 years ago. With the election only months away, India's coaching is Yash's best hope at getting back on the campaign trail and she's also the only person who makes him feel anything at all. The story of trauma and recovery in the face of racist gun violence is timely, but that may also make it difficult for some readers to get through, despite the narrative's deeply romantic heart. Dev's cast runs the gamut from kindhearted to ruthless, though not all characters are equally believable: Dev excels at portraying the fond interconnectedness of the large Raje family, but is less successful in conjuring the Dashwoods' dynamic, and the disparate tones between scenes featuring each family can be disorienting. Still, series fans will be happy to revisit the Rajes and be pleased by the sweet love story. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM Partners