Title: China Rich Girlfriend
Author: Kevin Kwan
What it’s about: Rachel and Nick decide to marry, and on the eve of their wedding, they get the blessing from Nick’s mother, Eleanor. She had pieced together the events after a chance encounter in London that a high ranking and a rising star in the Chinese government is Rachel’s father. At the request of her father, a man she had just began to know, Rachel and Nick head off to Shanghai for their honeymoon and summer vacation. There they encounter resistance from Rachel’s step mother and her father is nowhere to be seen. Instead, they meet Carlton, Rachel’s half-brother, and his on and off again girlfriend, Colette, who happens to be a celebrity fashionista/ model. Thrown into the craziness and drama of the China-rich world, Rachel tries to stay true to herself, and is an unsuspecting victim of jealousy and fear.
In the meantime, Nick’s cousin, Astrid Leong struggles in her marriage to Michael, a sudden tech billionaire. As the truth behind Michael’s fortune begins to unravel, does their marriage stand a chance?
My Verdict: I absolutely LOVED the first book, and this one is just as good. While the first one was very funny, this one was filled with more drama and was just as entertaining. I couldn’t put it down, because I wanted to know what was going to happen. As always, I loved Rachel, Nick, and Astrid. They’re strong characters, even though this time around Nick played a secondary role in the book. We meet Carlton, the half brother, and his on-and-off girlfriend, Collette. I didn’t really connect with either of them, but I could understand their predicaments with the way their parents attempted to control their lives. One thing that I felt peeved about was that Carlton’s mother was so domineering in every aspect of Carlton’s and the father’s life. She basically threatened her husband, Rachel’s father, against letting Rachel into their home and is overly concerned with how others will perceive them. She constantly berates Carlton for showing off or telling others too much about how much money they have. While I understand the need for modesty, her constant worry over how others will perceive her and the family turned me off from her as a person. I’ve known people like that, and I feel like I have no time for their drama.
The most shocking parts, however, came in the last several chapters of the book, with big reveals after big reveals, where all the dominoes of the book fall. The author of the book masterfully dropped hints throughout the novel about some of those things, but never fully reveals the truth. Suddenly, the truth about what has been going on slams us in the face, showing the lengths that people of such wealth will go to hide things until they no longer can. In one point at the end of the book, Rachel had given Collette a chance at redemption at the end of the book, but Collette chose to throw a tantrum. As a result, Rachel stands up to Collette and calls her a spoilt child, especially considering all that Collette and her posse put Rachel through. For that, Rachel gets more of my respect as a person and woman.
Overall, the book was great, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for something interesting. I often think of these books at work, and wonder how much of this book is fiction, because I deal with a lot of Asian clients, and so far it all holds water.
Looking forward to reading the next on in the series.