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October 25, 2017

Review: Bag Exchange by Trishna Damodar

by MK French

A shy and introverted young woman, Tia found it easier to have a meaningful conversation online than in person with strangers. Sameer was arrogant and found it difficult to trust others with emotions; if anything, emotions were a sign of weakness. The two met by chance in an airport lounge on the way to Delhi, and a luggage mixup ensured that they would meet again.

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Bag Exchange
Augaust 2016; Olympia Publishers
978-1848977259; print (186 pages)
romance, world literature
As an American, there were some phrases and figures of speech that I was a little unfamiliar with. The emotional baggage that both Tia and Sameer felt were very familiar, however. Tia lacked self confidence and relied on her mother and close friends for emotional support. Sameer was full of himself in front of others but doubted his ability to truly connect with others. Both were scarred by past traumas, and found themselves wanting to change in order to be in a relationship.

While I'm not much of a fan of the "change your personality to maintain a relationship trope," here it was less of them changing who they were but becoming who they had once been before retreating behind emotional walls. It was great to see such supportive relationships around them, where no one was truly the "bad guy" when there were multiple assumptions and miscommunications.

The resolution of Sameer's problems were a little too pat, and didn't feel real. A lifetime of resentment and hurt can't be erased completely in a single conversation, and some of the conflicts he had with Tia were resolved relatively quickly. That made it seem like as long as the man is rich, his flaws can be overlooked. Still, I hadn't read many books set in India before, and the look into the culture was lovely. There really are more similarities than differences when matters of the heart are concerned.

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Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever. 

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