China Rich Girlfriend: Review
Up on the blog today is Book #2 of Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians series! China Rich Girlfriend is as opulent as the title suggests, with a lot of excessive spending, haute couture, juicy gossip, and intricate social maneuvering.
Kevin Kwan, bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians, is back with a wickedly funny new novel of social climbing, secret e-mails, art-world scandal, lovesick billionaires, and the outrageous story of what happens when Rachel Chu, engaged to marry Asia’s most eligible bachelor, discovers her birthfather.
On the eve of her wedding to Nicholas Young, heir to one of the greatest fortunes in Asia, Rachel should be over the moon. She has a flawless Asscher-cut diamond from JAR, a wedding dress she loves more than anything found in the salons of Paris, and a fiancé willing to sacrifice his entire inheritance in order to marry her. But Rachel still mourns the fact that her birthfather, a man she never knew, won’t be able to walk her down the aisle. Until: a shocking revelation draws Rachel into a world of Shanghai splendor beyond anything she has ever imagined. Here we meet Carlton, a Ferrari-crashing bad boy known for Prince Harry-like antics; Colette, a celebrity girlfriend chased by fevered paparazzi; and the man Rachel has spent her entire life waiting to meet: her father. Meanwhile, Singapore’s It Girl, Astrid Leong, is shocked to discover that there is a downside to having a newly minted tech billionaire husband. A romp through Asia’s most exclusive clubs, auction houses, and estates, China Rich Girlfriend brings us into the elite circles of Mainland China, introducing a captivating cast of characters, and offering an inside glimpse at what it’s like to be gloriously, crazily, China-rich.
Kwan's second book picks up where the first left off, so I won't go into the plot because spoilers are no fun. That's why it's so difficult to review middle books, because they're so plot-driven and ultimately pave the way to the conclusion of the series. But where sequels are sometimes lackluster, China Rich Girlfriend provided all of the same... well, luster (!) as the first book. It dives deeper into the personal relationships established in the first book, but also introduces an array of interesting characters, some of whom prove to be more than meets the eye.
It also tackles some more sensitive issues surrounding marriage and domestic violence, and the gendered status quo, which I really loved. Obviously, not the domestic violence part, but the way in which Kwan talks about it. In the first book, Crazy Rich Asians, things seem picture perfect, minus the family drama. But in China Rich Girlfriend, Kwan digs a little deeper. It's gradual, it's subtle, and you can't help but feel really uncomfortable when you read these scenes. It's these red flags that nudge you towards thinking something might be seriously wrong. And that scenario is so similar to "real life," I think. Catching warning signs is so important to identifying when someone might need help.
We also get more into the politics of Asian wealth, which grounds these billionaires a bit for us. Knowing that there are very real ramifications to excessive and irresponsible spending humanizes these crazy rich Asians, if that makes sense. In China Rich Girlfriend, social standings are constantly shifting and images manipulated and reinterpreted in different ways by different people.
I rate China Rich Girlfriend 4/5 stars!