New Yorker Rachel Chu has been dating Nicholas Young for two years when he invites her to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. It’ll be the starting point of a grand summer adventure of travel and amazing food, and the chance to meet all his friends and family. What Nick hasn’t told Rachel is that his family is rich. Crazy, stinking rich. The sort of money that’s difficult to fathom. His grandmother lives in a house so grand it might as well be a palace, and that’s where Nick grew up. Plus there’s the maids and private planes and jewels and antiques…
Thrown into this world, Rachel has to contend with a family that deems her not remotely good enough for their golden boy, digging into her past for dirt to stop their romance, as well as scheming ladies who think they are more deserving of Nick (and his future inheritance).
Although mostly Rachel and Nick’s story, we also get to know many other characters, including Nick’s glamorous cousin Astrid, who’s having a rocky patch in her marriage; Nick’s mother Eleanor and her circle of friends, whose meddling has big consequences for Rachel; and Nick’s horrendous cousin Eddie, so obsessed with getting in the society pages that he acts like a tyrant to his family and dresses them in head to toe designer clothes.
I almost didn’t review this one. In fact I almost didn’t finish it. About a third of the way in I had grown so tired of how horrible and ostentatious and obsessed with money everyone was that I wasn’t sure I could take anymore. Sure it’s a bit of a parody, it’s meant in fun (I think?) but it was painful reading about people who can drop hundreds of thousands on designer outfits in one afternoon and look at those less well off as somehow lesser than them. I just didn’t want to spend any more of my time with them.
Thankfully there’s a decent human being in Rachel (and Nick) that I could follow and root for and hope that she would somehow better all these snobs and maybe also leave them penniless as well. That doesn’t happen (spoilers!), but then there are sequels, so fingers crossed! As it went on I got more involved in their story and was eager to finish to see what happened.
I will be reading the sequels after all. It definitely grew on me as it went on and I’d now like to see how things turn out for everyone. But if Nick’s mother could end up working at McDonald’s or something that’d be great.