Cultural Differences by Arya CollinsCultural Differences by Arya Collins is a sweet romance between two women of very different cultures.

Love strikes Lauren likes a thunderbolt when Nalini walks into Great Expectations bookstore. The woman looks just like her favorite tv actress crush, and when she helps her find a book she discovers they have very similar interests. They spend time together and while it’s easy for the women to fall in love, staying together may be difficult.

Lauren worries that graduate student Nalini won’t stay with a college dropout from down east Maine, but then it gets worse. Nalini has to fly back to Mumbai to meet the man her parents have arranged for her to marry. She can’t say no to them because they’re financing her degree.


The titular cultural difference is Nalini’s reluctance to go against her traditional Indian parents, who have arranged a marriage for her. There are several reasons for her to go along with it, especially their having paid for her entire college career. Being very near the finish line of school and the beginning of a career, she feels real pressure to go along, even if it means leaving a woman she has fallen quickly and deeply in love with. This easily believable scenario creates a solid plot for a sweet romance.

Pros And My Favourite Parts

Both Lauren and Nalini are intelligent and caring characters who are easy to understand and feel sympathetic toward. It’s a story that I found fun entertaining mainly for the simplicity of their romance. They see each other, they’re very attracted physically and then discover they care for each other emotionally. Nothing in life ever goes smoothly so of course they have issues to work through, but the angst is relatively low.

For a surprisingly long time they both assume the other is straight and both are steadfast in their reluctance to fall for that kryptonite. I’m not sure how other readers will take it, but I found their initial ongoing misconceptions of the other’s sexuality to be more humorous than dramatic.

Heads Up

A past infidelity, a clueless ex, and unsympathetic parents.

The Conclusion

Lauren and Nalini are immediately very drawn to each other and would love to explore their feelings further, but each mistakenly thinks the other is straight. When they discover their error they fall quickly and deeply in love. Lauren is ready to risk her heart on a college graduate student who might not be able to accept her being a college dropout, but Nalini may be unavailable because of an arranged marriage her parents insist on.

Despite the angsty tone of the synopsis, this is essentially a very sweet romance. The characters are very sympathetic and very much in love and easy to root for. The cultural difference of arranged marriage made the story interesting and gave it a plausible dramatic element. I enjoyed the story very much and was both amused at their initial misconceptions and heartened to read a story about two women who do not give up on love.

Excerpt from Cultural Differences by Arya Collins

She walked to the back of the store, into the glorified closet that served as Jen’s office. She typed in the book, clicked the search button, and sighed. Zero copies.

Like most customers, Lauren figured Nalini would probably just go home and order it online. She walked back, shaking her head.

“I’m sorry, we don’t have any in stock. If you like, I can move up our next order. We could have it for you by the middle of next week.” She held her breath.

“That would be great.” Nalini waved a book that she’d been holding. “I have this one for now, anyway. Let me give you my information.”

“I can take it when I check you out…I mean, at the checkout.” Lauren’s cheeks flamed again. To cover up her blunder, Lauren dived in further. “Did anyone ever tell you that you look-”

“- like Priyanka Chopra?” Once again, Nalini laughed, sending a delicious shiver down Lauren’s spine. “Yes, I’ve heard that a few times. To be honest, a lot of Indian women in America probably do, though.” Her eyes danced with laughter as she gave Lauren another dazzling smile.

Lauren could spend all day staring into those eyes. “Are you just visiting our fine town in the middle of nowhere?”

Nalini giggled. “Not exactly. I just moved here. I’m starting graduate school at the university.”

Lauren’s stomach did a weird flip. “That’s great. Welcome to Zachary, home of absolutely nothing. Except the university. I guess.”

“Thank you.” Nalini’s cheeks dimpled again.  “It is a bit remote, isn’t it?  Especially compared to Boston, where my aunt and uncle live. But I love what I’ve seen so far. I think a small town like this will be a nice change. Actually, Wellesley felt like living in a bubble at times, but we could always escape to Boston.”

It was then that Lauren noticed Nalini’s T shirt. She’d been too busy checking out Nalini’s breasts for the logo to register.

Get It Online

When you use the links in this review and buy within 24 hours of clicking then we get a small commission that helps us run the site and it costs you nothing extra








Series: Love in Downeast Maine

Cultural Differences

Bits and Bobs

ISBN number: 979-8768087975

Publisher: SapphiRom Press

Arya Collins Online

If you enjoyed Cultural Differences by Arya Collins then you should also look at

Tourist Trap by Kim Katil










Note: I received a free review copy of Cultural Differences by Arya Collins. No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site