Picks and Pans Review: For Matrimonial Purposes

UPDATED 07/28/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/28/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

By Kavita Daswani

Bombay bachelorette Anju, still unattached at 26, leaves behind her matchmaking-obsessed family and flirts with independence in "Umrica" in a cross-cultural confection that may curry favor with My Big Fat Greek Wedding fans. When you open the novel, you sense that the happy ending is a feta accompli.

Daswani, a former CNN fashion correspondent, meshes Indian and American traditions; not surprisingly, given the author's résumé, Anju's adventures read like a colorful Marie Claire feature. In Bombay, Anju rubs the marble feet of Hindu good-luck god Lord Ganesh; in Manhattan, where she flits as fashion publicist, she worships at the altar of Kate Spade. Darker are the character's observations about the plight of women in modern India. But by the time Anju gets to select a spouse at 36, her tale feels prearranged from the start. (Putnam, $23.95)

BOTTOM LINE: Familiar ring

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