This is the third in Kevin Kwan’s series about hyperrich Asian families. The opening has a bit of awkward exposition dialogue, but I’ll overlook it as a way to catch up readers who missed China Rich Girlfriend and Crazy Rich Asians.
Su Yi, the matriarch from the first two novels, is on her deathbed, so all of the questions around Nick’s inheritance and who will receive the family estate at Tyersall Park are about to come clear. Naturally, that’s a perfect time for manipulation, backstabbing, secrets and spending among the clan. And great-grandmother Su Yi has a few secrets of her own.
There’s more of the family drama, conspicuous consumption and snarky multilingual footnotes that I loved in the first two books. Nosy in-laws drop a surprise gyno exam to find out why a young wife hasn’t produced a grandchild yet (Rachel, uh, declines the offer). Heiress Colette Bing has married a title, and traded Instagramming her fashions for experiments in looking like she didn’t try at all. She’s also taken up philanthropy, and goes just as OTT with her charity and minimalism as we’d expect. Charlie stages an elaborate Bollywood proposal for Astrid, while someone else pays the paparazzi extra to snap it and publish the story. And, in keeping with the theme of secrets getting out, there’s also a sex tape and a suicide attempt.
There’s just one moment that strained my credulity. One scene hinges on the aunties not identifying Kitty Pong (Tsai Bing) immediately. A lot of the second novel is around Kitty’s attempts to turn her fame and fortune into a high society entrance, and she’s constantly caught out doing something gauche. All of the others characters felt consistant through the novels, and it just felt off that the gossiping aunties would completely fail to recognize who’s making a massive bid on their property.
This is a great successor to the first two novels, and kind of makes me want to begin again with Crazy Rich Asians.