Salaam, Paris is the story of Tanaya Shah, a gorgeous Indian Muslim girl who has dreamed of a life in Paris ever since seeing Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina. When her grandfather decides to arrange her marriage to a man who lives in Paris, Tanaya seizes her chance to see the city of her dreams and insists on going to Paris to meet him. Once there, she disobeys her grandfather and decides to stay in Paris but not to marry Tariq.
Soon enough, she’s on her way to being an international supermodel, which horrifies her traditional family to no end. When her beloved grandfather disowns her, she is heartbroken, but she doesn’t know how to fix it, and so she continues to model, though she never gives up the core of her values. Tanaya’s task is then to figure out her place in the world, and a balance between the traditional way in which she was raised and the new life she’s created for herself.
This book is fun and light, but not much more. There’s a potential for depth and further exploration here in several areas that is never really reached. I enjoyed Tanaya’s character, though. Kavita Daswani’s writing is not remarkable, but nor is it cringe-worthy, making this a readable but rather forgettable piece of chick-lit. I would have liked to see more of the exotic locales where the story is set, more fleshing-out of the secondary characters, more exploration of Tanaya’s background and faith, more analysis of the fashion industry, just…more. Kavita Daswani came up with a story that could have been great, but just turned out to be rather shallow and mildly entertaining. Even so, I enjoyed reading this book well enough, and it was a fun, easy vacation read. Just don’t expect anything more of it.