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 fiance 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.
Given that I was and am a huge fan of Kwans first book in the series, I found China Rich Girlfriend to be a satisfactory continuation. Find my review of the first instalment in the series here – * Crazy Rich Asians Review*
The story is set a few years after the events of the first book, with Rachel and Nicks wedding on the horizon, Astrid trying to work things out with her husband Michael and the infamous Kitty Pong working her way up the social ladder once more. I liked that the most interesting threads from the first book were picked up a few years down the line and we got to see how the characters lives had changed for the better and in some cases for the worse.
What I loved:
- Delicious drama – Kwan knows how to imbue so much drama and fun into his work, that is one thing nobody can deny. I found CRG to have just as much flamboyance, lavish description and wild scenarios as CRA and in some instances even more outrageous antics. The introduction of the new characters such as Carlton Bao (Rachels half brother) & his on and off flame Collette Bing kept it fresh and as these two have their fair share of what I call: Crazy Rich Antics, they fit right in!
- Rachels family – The introduction and subsequent development of Rachel meeting her birth father was great and it was a touching moment when they finally met and they bonded. Naturally he’s a billionaire, who would have guessed??? Along with her father there is a disapproving step mother situation and a party boy half brother to deal with, Rachel definitely has her hands full.
- Astrids storyline – When the story picks up, we see a drastically different relationship between Astrid and Michael. After a mystery investment in his tech company, Michaels reputation sky rockets and he becomes super wealthy and finally feels accomplished. This can only be a good thing…right? Well not really, due to his success, Michaels entire personality changes and he becomes showy, mean and controlling. Astrid struggles to reconcile the man she once loved to this stranger who only seems to care about his work and their public image. It was sad at times reading the ways in which Astrid made excuses for his behaviour, puts her own happiness second and tries in vain to save an obviously doomed marriage. Astrid was one of my favourite characters so I enjoyed revisiting her perspective.
- Astrid + Charlie – These two are so adorable! I loved that despite the fact that their relationship didn’t work out in the past, Astrid and Charlie were able to maintain a real friendship and he was really there for her when she needed him the most, especially in this book. Their emails to each other are so sweet and there is one in particular which I had to re-read multiple times because it was the cutest thing ever. The development of them finding their way back to each other was a pleasure to read. I also liked that there was no cheating involved – perhaps emotionally on Charlies part but nothing uncomfortable.
Overall, I liked reconnecting with Kwans host of characters and his unique writing style, chocked full of dramatic confrontations, designer references galore and enough private jets to satisfy anybody. Kwan offers a solid sequel and I’ll be reading the final instalment in the series – Rich People Problems, fairly soon so look out for that.
★★★★ – 4 Star Rating
Until next time,