China Rich Girlfriend

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China Rich Girlfriend
Author Kevin Kwan
Language English
Genre Novel
Publication date
June 2015
Media type Print
ISBN 978-0-385-53908-1
Preceded by Crazy Rich Asians
Followed by Rich People Problems

China Rich Girlfriend is the 2015 sequel to Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians, a novel about the wealthy Singapore elite. Kwan was urged to write the sequel by his publishers after the initial success of Crazy Rich Asians.[1]

The title refers to a line in the novel in which a character exclaims over the wealth of the "China rich" who are billionaires.[clarification needed]

Plot[edit]

In 2013, two years after the events of Crazy Rich Asians, the story begins with Eddie meeting with a wealthy client of his European bank, a distraught mother, Bao Shaoyen, who is anxious to hear about her troubled son, who was in a car accident from racing an expensive car. He is undergoing serious surgery, while one of his two passengers become paralyzed, and the other dies on impact. Bao Shaoyen needs this incident to be discreetly covered, and Eddie manages to blackmail Eleanor Young into helping the woman, who she learns is extremely wealthy, and has a son named Carlton who is the spitting image of Rachel.

Back in New York, Nick Young has managed to repair his relationship with Rachel Chu and they have planned a wedding in California, near Rachel's relatives. Astrid Teo, Nick's cousin, is invited to this wedding, and later meets with Charlie Wu, who she has become close friends with. Michael has become extremely successful due to Charlie's secret investment, and his behavior has become arrogant and hostile. Charlie is stuck in an unhappy marriage with Isabel, but does not let Astrid know, and continues to help her with her marital issues, which are becoming increasingly serious.

Nick is still not on speaking terms with his mother or his grandmother, and he does not attend his grandmother's Chinese New Year event. While still investigating into Bao Shaoyen and her son, Eleanor learns of the upcoming wedding details from Astrid’s son. Intruding upon Rachel and Nick's wedding rehearsal, she informs Rachel that she has located her long-lost father, and she reconnects him with Rachel and her mother. Eleanor decides that she approves of Nick and Rachel's marriage, Nick is suspicious and asks her why after the previous behavior in turning the two against one another. She reveals it wasn't just because Rachel now has a connection with the wealthy elite of China, but also that Eleanor was trying to protect both him and Rachel from Su Yi's wrath. Years ago, she endured life as Su Yi's disapproved daughter-in-law due to Philip marrying her out of love. Rachel meets her father, Bao Gaoling, prior to the wedding, and is afterward invited to spend time with his entire family in Shanghai during her honeymoon. Bao Shaoyen is angered by this, and demands Bao Gaoling keep her away from her house. He places her in a fancy hotel to stall and feigns work related excuses for over a week, but Nick suspects that he's lying.

Carlton is also banned from associating with her, but decides to meet Rachel anyway, and quickly becomes close with her and Nick. He introduces her to his half-girlfriend, half friend-with-benefits Colette Bing, a wealthy heiress and social media influencer. The four of them eventually travel to Paris for a shopping spree. At a party, Colette's three year boyfriend, Richie Yang, that her father approves of proposes, but she does not accept. He becomes angry and accuses Carlton. Carlton decides to recklessly race against Richie in his dark mood.

Rachel begins to feel upset she has only met her father once in her long time of staying. While in Paris, Colette and Rachel tries to stop Carlton from racing Richie. In anger, he accidentally tells Rachel that Bao Shaoyen refuses to let her into her household, in fear of losing her husband's political advantages for having an illegitimate child, and in order to prevent Rachel from receiving Carlton's inheritance and future position within the company. Colette calls him out as a brat and tells him to go through with the race with Richie, leaving. Upon learning his previous accident, Rachel successfully convinces Carlton not to race Richie, admitting she likes getting to know her brother. In turn, Carlton realizes Rachel isn't the gold-digging daughter that Shaoyen claims to be and apologizes for his behavior.

Rachel decides to leave China, but return to visit her friend Peik Lin and have a fun weekend. However, at the spa, she becomes incredibly ill and is placed under medical watch after experiencing mysterious organ failures and a rapid decline in health. Peik Lin and Nick receive a bouquet of flowers with a note, saying that Rachel was poisoned as a warning. The poison is extremely rare, and Carlton realizes that his parent's pharmaceutical company had just started carrying it. Carlton accuses Bao Shaoyen, but she denies involvement in the poisoning. Refusing to believe his mother, Carlton then confesses to how she bribed everyone in helping her cover up the truth of his accident and including the other girl's death to his father. However, when Rachel discovered the truth, he claims Shaoyen selfishly and intentionally poisoned her in order to keep her away from the family home and their father. Carlton ends his confession that their family will face disgrace from the China Elite, but not by Rachel and him, rather when the police takes Shaoyen away to be arrested for his sister's poisoning. Now remorseful for how he's treated Rachel, Bao Gaoling visits her and Nick over in Hong Kong at Eddie's apartment. Apologizing to her for his actions, Gaoliang confesses that Shaoyen has been cooperating with the police since Carlton's confession. He invites Rachel into his home, where she is introduced to the rest of his family and many influential politicians, all touched by her story. Bao Shaoyen finally meets Rachel and discovers how similar she looks to her son. She realizes her fears were misplaced and apologizes to Rachel for her behavior. In doing so, they start to get along.

The police discover that Colette's assistant Roxanne was behind the poisoning, which was done in response to Colette's tearful concerns that her inheritance would be reduced through Carlton and her father would less likely approve of their match. Despite Colette's lack of knowledge to the situation, Carlton blames Colette and breaks up with her. Nick is hesitant and does not trust her, but Rachel agrees to meet with Colette, and accepts her apology. Colette later demands that Rachel help her and Carlton reconcile. Rachel does not want to pressure her brother into anything, and Colette becomes hysterical, accusing Rachel of keeping them apart as a vindictive punishment. She begins loudly yelling at her, also accusing her of being jealous and trying to imitate her. Rachel responds by calling out Colette selfish, spoiled behavior. The incident is taped and becomes widely viewed on the internet. Colette loses her sponsorship to a popular fashion designer label.

Meanwhile, Astrid finds herself increasingly confiding in her former fiancé, Charlie Wu, after her husband, becomes increasingly cruel and abusive to her and their son. Michael gets interviewed by a magazine about his family, naming him father of the year after bragging about his accomplishments and showcasing his luxury items. The magazine then does research into Astrid Leong and publishes information her lineage and wealth. This angers her family and he is forced to meet with her father, who confronts and embarrasses him over golf with a man Michael is trying to impress. The magazines are all bought and retracted from shelves, and Michael begins to believe that his company is the result of Astrid's father's meddling, Astrid goes about trying to prove him wrong and eventually realizes that the company was bought at a loss by Charlie so that Michael would feel more confident in the marriage. Michael confronts Astrid about her relationship with Charlie, revealing he has read her messages and threatening her with a weapon. Astrid takes control of the situation and escapes with her son. At an event it is revealed that Charlie Wu had divorced Isabel and Astrid and him have not left each other's sides all night.

Kitty Pong, the former soap actress who managed to marry her way into the Singapore elite tries to buy her way into the high-society of Hong Kong by appearing in gossip magazines and buying high-profile art. She commits many detrimental social faux-pas among them and finds herself continually shunned, so she hires the services of Corinna Ko-Tung, a woman from a well-born family who helps Kitty transform into a more sophisticated woman, trying to changing her behavior and make the right connections. Kitty can act well and manages to amend some of the damages she created by following Corinna's strict instructions. They run into issues where no one has seen her husband, Bernard Tai in ages and have speculated rumors regarding his disappearance along with their daughter. Kitty finally shows Corinna where her husband has been hiding, in a small house in Los Angeles while he is receiving reconstructive surgery for a large mistake in the original plastic surgery. It is revealed he has changed from being in California so long and their daughter is forced to engage in his new, strange lifestyle. She and Corinna kidnap her daughter back and she engages in a high-profile international custody battle with her ex-husband and reveals herself as the lover of Jack Bing, Colette Bing's father. Upon the series of scandals undoing much of her work in Hong Kong, she returns to her lavish house in Singapore with her daughter, and reconnects Carol Tai with her granddaughter.

Characters[edit]

  • Rachel Young (née Chu): An American economist of Chinese descent who is a professor at NYU. Though she was raised by a single mother and had a humble upbringing, she is revealed to be the titular China rich girlfriend after discovering her biological dad is a Chinese billionaire. She later marries Nick.
  • Kerry Chu: Rachel's mother who once had a romantic relationship with Bao Gaoliang.
  • Eleanor Young: Nick's mother who finally approves of Rachel after finding out that her father is a Chinese billionaire.
  • Eddie Cheng: Nick's cousin who works in private banking, thanks to this he discovers Eleanor's secret account.
  • Goh Peik Lin: Rachel's rich Singaporean best friend whose family owns a property development and construction company, Near West Organization.
  • Nick Young: Rachel's husband and a member of the Singapore elite.
  • Bao Gaoliang/Kao Wei: Carlton and Rachel's biological father who is a top Chinese politician and also a billionaire who owns a pharmaceutical company. Under his boyhood name, Kao Wei, he used to help Kerry whenever her awful wealthy husband got very angry in their apartment building and they eventually fell for each other. Kerry never told him they had a child together.
  • Bao Shaoyen: Carlton's mother who has a hard time accepting Rachel, but later becomes a 2nd mother to her. She has a gift room that consists many of Hermès bags.
  • Carlton Bao: The 23-year-old English educated son of Bao Shaoyen and Bao Gaoliang who lives a very wild lifestyle. He is Rachel's paternal half-brother who looks exactly like her.
  • Colette Bing: A famous fashion blogger and the spoiled daughter of either the third or fifth (depending on who is doing the ranking) richest men in China. Carlton's on-again, off-again girlfriend, who is a control freak.
  • Mrs. Bing: Colette's germaphobic mother.
  • Richie Yang: Son of a multi-billionaire father who's also one of the top richest men in China. He's one of Colette's suitors and also the one Colette's father wants her to marry.
  • Jack Bing: Colette's multi-billionaire father who insists her on marrying Richie, due to their equal multi-billionaire status. He is later revealed to have an affair with Kitty.
  • Roxanne Ma: Colette's personal assistant who's very loyal to her. She was Colette's 18th birthday present from her father. She is later revealed to have poisoned Rachel.
  • Michael Teo: Astrid's newly minted billionaire husband whose start-up company brings a huge success, due to unknowingly bought by Charlie. His success makes him mean and terrible.
  • Charlie Wu: Astrid's billionaire former fiancé who still loves her, despite being married to someone else.
  • Astrid Teo (née Leong): Nick's fashionable cousin who is referred to as "the goddess" and is known for her impeccable fashion sense. She secretly still loves Charlie and the feeling deepens even more when Michael gets crueler due to his new found success.
  • Bernard Tai: Kitty's estranged billionaire husband who's been hiding in California due to a depression after a mix-up on his plastic surgery.
  • Kitty Tai (née Pong): Bernard's wife who is a former soap-star turned social climber.
  • Corinna Ko-Tung: A woman coming from a well-bred family who helps Kitty in her social-climbing agenda.

Reception[edit]

The novel received positive reviews[2][3] and was noted in the Washington Post as "the year's best beach reading," as well as excerpted in Vanity Fair.[4][5][6][7][8] Anne Kingston of Maclean's wrote of the novel, "Kevin Kwan’s sequel to the bestselling Crazy Rich Asians is perhaps even more delicious than the first." [9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Baker, Jeanne. "'When they want something, they want the best': Kevin Kwan on his latest book, China Rich Girlfriend". Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  2. ^ Busis, Hillary. "China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan: EW review". Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  3. ^ Maslin, Janet. "Review: Kevin Kwan's 'China Rich Girlfriend' Skewers Vulgar Wealth in Asia". Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  4. ^ "Best Sellers". Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  5. ^ "San Francisco Chronicle best-sellers, July 5". Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  6. ^ "The Maclean's Bestsellers list: week of July 14". Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  7. ^ Rosenberg, Alyssa. "In this year's best beach reading, Jane Austen meets Singapore". Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  8. ^ Kwan, Kevin. "Read an Excerpt from the Summer's Funniest Beach Read". Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  9. ^ Kingston, Anne. "Jane Austen meets Hong Kong's nouveau riche". Retrieved 10 April 2016.