THE UNFORTUNATES: A NOVEL BY SOPHIE McMANUS
RATING: 2 STARS
The Unfortunates is a story of an old-money family in opulent decline. The POV is told from three characters. It begins with Cece, the family matriarch, living in a “research institute” reviewing the past of her charmed life her and impending mortality. It switches to man-child son, George, who takes advantage of his Mother’s absence to fulfill his artistic theater dreams. Finally, we hear from Iris, George’s practical, down to earth wife, who the mother despises.
Overall, the characters were bland and two-dimensional. Iris was the only likeable character with depth, who feels uncomfortable with her husband’s wealth, yet protects George from his poor financial judgment. I think the author was aiming for The Unfortunates to be a tragedy, but it doesn’t work because I couldn’t relate to the characters. The Unfortunates lacked in substance along with shallow, bland characters. I wouldn’t recommend it.
An advanced reader’s copy was provided to me by Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
CHINA RICH GIRLFRIEND BY KEVIN KWAN
RATING: 3 STARS
China Rich Girlfriend is the sequel to Kevin Kwan’s first book, Crazy Rich Asians.
In his over the top chic-lit sequel, China Rich Girlfriend picks up where the first book left off. Set in Singapore, the reader enters the outrageous lifestyles of billionaire’s. In between gossip sessions, eating at members-only private restaurants and non-stop shopping trips, the drama between American born Rachel Chun and her fiancé, Nick Young, Singapore’s most eligible bachelor continues. While Nick’s family grumbles about their disapproval of Nick’s choice of his bride, Rachel’s is anguished over her unsuccessful attempts to locate her birth father. There’s enough catty behavior and mishaps to keep the reader happy while riding on the melodramatic ride. Several subplots include Rachel befriending Colette Bing, a wealthy fashion icon, and Kitty Pong, a former TV actress who is trying to buy her way into Singapore society.
China Rich Girlfriend is a soap opera on steroids. The two-dimensional characters jump from one scenario to the next, adding to the confusion of following the details of the characters, relationships and Chinese family lineage. Mandarin sayings and slang are sprinkled throughout, with a helpful glossary of terms at the end of each chapter. This light read became tedious to read after non-stop mentions of fashion designers and their products, which didn’t move the story forward.
I recommend this chick-lit book for a light beach/vacation read, when you don’t your full concentration isn’t necessary.
An advance reader’s copy was provided to me by Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.