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Bollywood Babes    by Narinder Dhami order for
Bollywood Babes
by Narinder Dhami
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2005 (2004)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

The Dhillon sisters (Amber, Geena, and Jazz) have it all figured out - that the middle child is the most badly behaved, the oldest is the most sensible and responsible, and the youngest is the drama queen and a hypondriac! But they do line up together to plan strategic moves - not necessarily good ones but a common purpose just the same. For instance, the active threesome are still trying to act as matchmakers for Auntie and their teacher, Mr. Arora. Since Dad invited Auntie to live with them after Mom died, they haven't got away with much as 'Auntie has hearing like Superman!'

The headline of the latest edition of the Masala Express reads, 'FORMER BOLLYWOOD STAR MOLLY MAHAL--NOW A SAD RECLUSE LIVING IN READING.' Bingo! Amber comes up with a great idea. Auntie has joined the PTA and is in charge of the next Coppergate School fund-raising project - a Bollywood party. The Dhillon sisters travel to Reading, supposedly to visit relatives, but really to search for Molly Mahal. They locate the ex-actress about to sneak away from her residence, due to an eviction notice for non-payment of rent. Amber, Geena, and Jazz take it all in stride and invite Molly to live with the Dhillons until she can get back on her feet (huh! little do they know what they're in for -- living with Molly is a 'roller coaster ride', so that they wonder - will Molly ever leave?). Their ulterior motive is to make Molly the feature attraction at the Bollywood fund-raiser.

Molly moves into Auntie's room, Auntie moves in with Geena, and Molly takes over Auntie's clothes, jewelry, and perfumes, and expects to be waited on! Auntie says to the Dhillon dad, 'you're going to have to do something about that woman. And soon, before there's a murder in this very house.' In the meantime, the Dhillon household attracts lots of visitors as word spreads of the star's presence. Dad and Mr. Arora are enchanted with Molly, whom they adored in films such as 'Amir Ladka, Garib Ladka' ('Rich Boy, Poor Boy') back in 1982. Local busybody/matchmaker Mrs. Dhaliwal drops a hint - or rather a bomb - when she suggests to the girls that Dad and Molly might be headed for marriage. 'it was the worst and most appalling thought ... Now, that Mrs. Dhaliwal had put it there, it had taken root and was growing at an alarming speed.'

Narinder Dhami's continues the Dhillon sisters' adventures in Bollywood Babes with as much fervor and fun as in her prior Bindi Babes. Geena, Amber, and Jazz have personality, pizzazz, and panache. Dhami creates a canny blend of Indian culture and carefree capers, with a twist on the serious side of life. A resident of Cambridge, England, Dhami once taught primary grades, and then followed a dream into full-time writing. Her fans are glad she did.

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