China Rich Girlfriend

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China Rich Girlfriend
China Rich Girlfriend (Kwan, 2015).jpg
AuthorKevin Kwan
LanguageEnglish
GenreNovel
Publication date
June 2015
Media typePrint
ISBN978-0-385-53908-1
Preceded byCrazy Rich Asians 
Followed byRich People Problems 

China Rich Girlfriend is a 2015 novel by Kevin Kwan. It is the sequel to 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 Nick's mother, Eleanor, exclaims over the wealth of the "China rich" who are billionaires, "These people aren't just everyday rich with a few hundred million. They are China rich!"[2][3][4] The novel was followed by a sequel, Rich People Problems in 2017.

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, Bao Shaoyen, a distraught mother 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 becomes paralyzed and the other dies. Bao Shaoyen needs this incident to be discreetly addressed, and Eddie manages to blackmail Eleanor Young into helping the woman, who she learns is extremely wealthy and has a son named Carlton who resembles Rachel.

Back in Manhattan, Nick Young has managed to repair his relationship with Rachel Chu, an economics professor at New York University (NYU), 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, whom she befriends. 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 troubled marital issues.

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 she is reversing her position. She reveals it wasn't just because Rachel now associates 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 afterwards 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 and stalls any meeting for over a week, but Nick suspects mischief.

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 wealthy party-time friend Colette Bing. The four of them eventually travel to Paris for a shopping spree. At a party, Colette's boyfriend for 3-years, Richie Yang, proposes but she does not accept. He gets angry at Carlton and they vent their anger by deciding to compete in a reckless car race. Rachel begins to feel upset she has only met her father once since reuniting. While in Paris, Colette and Rachel try to stop Carlton from car racing against Richie. In anger, he accidentally tells Rachel that Bao Shaoyen refuses to let her into her household. Bao Shaoyen is in fear of losing her husband's political advantages for having an illegitimate child, and wishes to prevent Rachel from receiving Carlton's inheritance. Before leaving, Colette calls him a spoiled brat for hurting Rachel and tells him to go through with the race with Richie. Upon learning about his previous accident, Rachel convinces Carlton not to race Richie. In turn, Carlton apologizes to Rachel for his behavior.

Rachel decides to leave China, but returns to visit her friend Peik Lin. However, at the spa, she becomes very ill and is placed under medical watch after experiencing mysterious organ failures. 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 may be involved. Believing Bao Shaoyen poisoned Rachel, he comes home to confront her about it and she denies involvement in the poisoning. Refusing to believe his mother, Carlton then confesses to his father about how she bribed everyone to cover up the truth of his accident as well as the other girl's death. However, when Rachel discovers the truth, he claims Shaoyen intentionally poisoned her in order to shun her. Carlton ends his confession stating that their family will face disgrace from the China Elite, but not by Rachel and him, when the police come to arrest Shaoyen 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, Gaoling confesses that Shaoyen has become cooperative with the police. He invites Rachel into his home, where she is introduced to the rest of his family who are 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 her. 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. Despite Colette's lack of knowledge to the situation, Carlton blames Colette and breaks up with her. Nick is hesitant, but Rachel agrees to meet with Colette and accepts her apology. Colette later asks that Rachel help her and Carlton reconcile. Rachel does not want to get involved, and Colette becomes hysterical. She accuses Rachel of vindictively keeping them apart. She begins yelling at and berating her. Rachel responds by accusing Colette for being selfish. She points out that she learned to be content in having a loving supportive family and working hard in the real world. Rachel claims that Colette never knew how to be content. The argument ends when Rachel tells Colette to grow up. The incident is taped and becomes widely viewed on the internet. Humiliated, Colette loses her sponsorship to a popular fashion designer label. This is made worse when she learns through the tabloids that her father, Jack, had been having an affair with Kitty behind her back.

Meanwhile, Astrid finds herself increasingly confiding in her former fiancé, Charlie Wu, after her husband becomes increasingly detached. 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 about her lineage and wealth. This angers her family and he is forced to meet with her father, who berates him in front of a man Michael is trying to impress. The magazines are recalled and retracted from distribution, and Michael begins to believe that his company's situation is the result of Astrid's father's meddling. Astrid 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. Later, it is revealed that Charlie Wu had divorced Isabel and he and Astrid 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. However, she is socially clumsy and finds herself continually shunned; so she hires the services of Corinna Ko-Tung, a woman from a well-born family who helps Kitty appear more sophisticated by trying to change her behavior and make better social connections. Kitty can act well and manages to amend some of the damages she created. They run into issues where no one has seen her husband, Bernard Tai, in ages and have speculated about 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. It is revealed he has dramatically changed from being in California for so long, and their daughter is forced to engage in his new and unfamiliar lifestyle. She kidnaps her daughter and they escape using the private plane of her lover Jack Bing. She returns to her lavish house in Singapore with her daughter and reconnects Carol Tai with her granddaughter.

Characters[edit]

  • Rachel Young (née Chu): NYU professor who is engaged to and marries Nick Young. An American economist of Chinese descent who was raised by a single mother and had a humble upbringing. She is revealed to be the daughter of a prominent wealthy man after recently discovering that her biological dad is a Chinese billionaire.
  • 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 Gaoling/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 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 of more than one hundred 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. She is a control freak and is Carlton's on-again, off-again girlfriend.
  • 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, whom Colette is humiliated by.
  • 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 crueller due to his newfound 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. He engages Giselle(his daughter with Kitty) in his strange activities and doesn't want Kitty involved in their lives, believing it's better she stays in Hong Kong. Bernard finds himself in a high-profile international custody battle for full custody of Giselle from Kitty.
  • Kitty Tai (née Pong): Bernard's wife who is a former soap-star turned social climber. She has a daughter named Giselle whom she's worried about due to Bernard's strange raising and lack of having her involved in their family's life. With Corinna's help, she "kidnaps" their daughter and escapes to a lavish home in Singapore. Revealing herself as the lover of Jack Bing, Kitty sues Bernard for full custody of Giselle.
  • Corinna Ko-Tung: A woman coming from a well-bred family who helps Kitty in her social-climbing agenda. Upon learning Bernard's intentions to cut Kitty out of Giselle's life, Corinna helps her "kidnap" her daughter and escape to a lavish home in Singapore.
  • Carol Tai: A devout Christian who's also the wife of a corrupt billionaire, Dato' Tai Toh Lui. She is one of Eleanor's best friends. She has a granddaughter, Giselle, whom she reconnects with after Kitty returns to Singapore.

Reception[edit]

The novel received positive reviews[5][6] and was noted in the Washington Post as "the year's best beach reading," as well as excerpted in Vanity Fair.[7][8][9][10][11] 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." [12]

Film adaptation[edit]

Time reported on August 15, 2018 that Kwan has been tasked with developing the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians from his follow-up novel China Rich Girlfriend.[13] The planning is still in pre-production as of August 2018, with several of the key actors currently committed to other projects until 2020.[14] Awkwafina was interviewed in January of 2019 and indicated that there were still no scripts for the sequel and that production filming had not started.[15] According to Town and Country magazine, the filming and premiere of the film is not scheduled to take place until 2020.[16] According to a Slash film journal article, the two sequels, including Rich People Problems, will be shot back-to-back in 2020 once the filming commences.[17] On April 29, 2019, CNBC reported that Harry Shum Jr. is to be cast in the role of playing Astrid's previous boyfriend in the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians, stating, "Shum will play Charlie Wu, the former flame of Astrid Young Teo (played by Gemma Chan), cousin of lead character Nick Young, in China Rich Girlfriend, which is currently pre-production.".[18]

See also[edit]

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. ^ "'China Rich Girlfriend' by Kevin Kwan: EW review". Entertainment Weekly. June 11, 2015. Here, the focus shifts from Singapore to China, an even more opulent playground: "These people aren't just everyday rich with a few hundred million," snobby matriarch Eleanor Young breathlessly explains to her son Nick, the hero of both novels. "They are China rich!"
  3. ^ "China Rich Girlfriend, Kevin Kwan". Literary Treats. 15 June 2015. There's rich, then there's crazy rich. And then there's China rich. As Eleanor Young explains to her son Nick, "Aiyah, these people aren’t just everyday rich with a few hundred million. They are China rich! ..."
  4. ^ "'Crazy Rich Asians' Author Kevin Kwan: "Why Does Hollywood Think We'd Want to See This Movie With White People?"". The Hollywood Reporter. June 26, 2015.
  5. ^ Busis, Hillary. "China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan: EW review". Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  6. ^ Maslin, Janet. "Review: Kevin Kwan's 'China Rich Girlfriend' Skewers Vulgar Wealth in Asia". Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Best Sellers". Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  8. ^ "San Francisco Chronicle best-sellers, July 5". Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  9. ^ "The Maclean's Bestsellers list: week of July 14". Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  10. ^ Rosenberg, Alyssa. "In this year's best beach reading, Jane Austen meets Singapore". Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  11. ^ Kwan, Kevin. "Read an Excerpt from the Summer's Funniest Beach Read". Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  12. ^ Kingston, Anne. "Jane Austen meets Hong Kong's nouveau riche". Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  13. ^ Ho, Karen (August 15, 2018). "Crazy Rich Asians Is Going to Change Hollywood. It's About Time". TIME. pp. 40–46. Retrieved 25 August 2018. (physically published in August 27, 2018 issue; digitally published on August 15)
  14. ^ "Crazy Rich Asians 2: Everything We Know About The Sequel's Story" BY ANA DUMARAOG. AUG 28, 2018. Screen Rant ORIGINALS. [1]
  15. ^ Interview with Awkwafina. January 29, 2019. [2]
  16. ^ "A Crazy Rich Asians Sequel Is in the Works and We Can't Wait Here's everything we know so far," by CAROLINE HALLEMANN, MAR 6, 2019, Town and Country magazine. [3]
  17. ^ "Crazy Rich Asians Sequels to Shoot Back-to-Back", December 7th, 2018, by Hoai-Tran Bui, Slash films journal. [4]
  18. ^ Karen Gilchrist. "Growing up different helped me do my job better, says ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ star Harry Shum Jr.," CNBC, Apr 29 2019. [5]