Title: China Rich Girlfriend
Author: Kevin Kwan
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Chick Lit
Format Read: Paperback, 400 pages
Publication Date: 1st July 2015 by Allen & Unwin
Synopsis: “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.”
I don’t think it’s a secret that I ADORED (x infinity) Crazy Rich Asians when I first read it. There are not enough words to capture the way I gushed about that book — I thoroughly apologise to everyone that had the book shoved into their hands. I demanded that you had to read it, but you can’t say it wasn’t worth your time. Everyone that I’ve recommended the book to has loved it just as much as I have, and I’m so glad because books like these are a good form of escape when you want to read something outside of the YA genre.
In China Rich Girlfriend, Rachel and Nick’s crazy family is back for another rollercoaster series of events. This book picks up a few years following the end of the first book, where Nick has fallen out with his family as he picks the love of his life over his inheritance. He was basically sick of their meddling ways and wanted nothing more to do with the uptight way of living that they expected of him.
While Crazy Rich Asians focused on Nick’s family, China Rich Girlfriend shifts the story as we follow Rachel on her journey in discovering who her birth father is, and the family she never knew. And what do you know, they are just as crazy as the rest of them.
Kevin Kwan’s books are a nice way to ‘indulge’ in a lifestyle fit for the rich and famous. You know who’ll never be able to afford any of the couture pieces that gets name dropped amongst its pages, but sometimes a girl can dream. Take a sneak peek of the collection of beautiful things at the Crazy Rich Collection. Trust me, there might be some envy-drooling.
While Rachel and Nick remain the main characters, we also get to view this world through the eyes of other characters — and the perspective I loved most remains to be Astrid Leong’s.
Astrid is this enigma of poise and beauty that cannot be replicated anywhere else. Her life with her husband Michael was one of the more interesting (and realistic/relateable) parts of Crazy Rich Asians, as they dealt with real life problems that any married couple has. Their perspectives were the ones I looked forward to reading the most, and I wished there was a bigger focus on their relationship. Well, I got what I wanted in this book. Astrid and Michael continue to face marital challenges, and it’s once again money related. You know there’s a major problem when your marriage is highlighted by problems when you have no money and when you become rich.
Rachel and Nick remain the same down-to-earth couple that continue to be unfazed by the money and people that surround them. Nick more so than Rachel of course, as he grew up surrounded by the glitz and glamour of high society in Singapore. This book is a big eye-opener to what it really means to be rich and famous, and the difference between old money and new money in Asia.
I would say that Crazy Rich Asians still remain better than China Rich Girlfriend, but only by a little. It’s unfortunate that we don’t get to see Nick’s family more in this book, but that’s granted since they’ve had a bad falling out in the years between the first and second novel.
Highly, HIGHLY recommend this book and every book that Kevin will be writing in the future. I cannot express how fond I am for these characters of his — please never stop writing about Rachel, Nick and their crazy rich relatives!
Thank you to Allen & Unwin for a copy in exchange for an honest review.