This is one of those titles, of which I have seen the movie first and then read the book. I picked up the book because this was a new world to me, I have never read any book based on south east elites and thought it would be fun to read about them and their lifestyle.
The book, as usually is the case, is deeper with many more incidents and examples to bring to the fore, the crazy richness of the main characters.
It starts in the year 1986 when Eleanor Young and Felicity Leong are snubbed by the manager of the Calthorpe Hotel, the best in London. A long distance phone call to Henry Leong, Felicity’s husband, results in the following:
No, no mistake at all. I sold the Calthorpe a short while ago, lock, stock, and barrel. May I present the new mistress, Mrs. Felicity Leong.
This is how rich they are!
The story fast forwards to 2010 to New York, where Nicholas Young is a professor and dating Rachel Chu, a fellow economy professor at Stanford. Going strong for two years Nicholas decides to invite Rachel for his best friend’s wedding followed by a vacation in the South East. The only hitch is Rachel has no idea that Nicholas Young is the grandson of Shang Su-Yi, the richest lady in Singapore, so rich and powerful that her address, Tyresall Park, doesn’t even show up on Google maps!
This is one of the story line and the central to this book, there is another one focused on Astrid Leong. Daughter of Henry and Felicity Leong who stands to inherit vast fortunes both from both sides and married to a man from humble background, Micheal Teo, who is setting up an IT business. Astrid is a kind and loving person, who knows how rich she is and doesn’t mind spending. She can buy multi-million dollar dresses and jewelry without even blinking an eye. However, the difference in their lifestyles starts brewing troubles in their marriage of which Astrid is quite unaware at first.
Chaos and confusion ensues for Rachel when she lands in Singapore. As she is introduced to Nicholas’s vast family and dozens of cousins, she realizes the enormous wealth they have. Naive and innocent as she is to the power play of the family members and friends who want to separate them, she unwittingly becomes the victim of their schemes. The question becomes, is this all too much for her or will she fight for Nicholas?
What are you doing? Nick said in bafflement as he entered the bedroom.
What does it look like? I’m getting out of here!
What? Why? Nick frowned.
I’ve had enough of this shit! I refuse to be the sitting duck for all these crazy women in your life!
There are various interesting characters in the book. Eleanor Young and her book club friends who are always gossiping and scheming. Francesca Shaw and her group of friends who are snooty and always trying to embarrass Rachel. Peik Lin, Rachel’s best friend, also extremely rich just not Nicholas Young rich.
The most hilarious are the family of Chengs, consisting of Mr. & Mrs. Cheng and their children, the ridiculously uptight Edison Cheng, Alistair Cheng who is dating a soap actress and the indifferent Cecilia Cheng.
The author has done a wonderful job in detailing out each personality and their lifestyle. For me, there was definitely a novelty in reading this book. As one of my friend’s mentioned, it is like a Bollywood movie, fun but over-dramatic.