Rich People Problems

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Rich People Problems
Rich People Problems (Kwan, 2017).png
Author Kevin Kwan
Language English
Genre Novel
Publication date
May 23, 2017
Media type Print
ISBN 978-0-385-54232-6
Preceded by China Rich Girlfriend

Rich People Problems is a 2017 novel by Kevin Kwan. It is the third and final novel in Kwan's "Crazy Rich..." Trilogy that looks at the rich and powerful families of Singapore. It was preceded by the bestsellers Crazy Rich Asians in 2013 and China Rich Girlfriend in 2015.

Kwan has stated that this book was actually the first he had mapped out when he was first planning his trilogy.[1]

Plot[edit]

In 2015, two years after the events that take place in China Rich Girlfriend, Nick Young and Rachel Young (née Chu) are happily married and living their life in New York. Nick is informed by his mother Eleanor that his grandmother, Su Yi, has had a heart attack and must come home to reconcile with her before she passes away. While Nick wants to make up with his grandmother out of guilt for having shut her out of his life for marrying Rachel (as Su Yi was opposed to the marriage), his mother wants him to make amends so that he will be re-introduced into the will and inherit Tyersall Park, Su Yi's home. The extended Shang-Young clan has descended upon Tyersall Park to say their last goodbyes with the hopes of getting into Su Yi's good graces and inherit part of her fortune.

Nick is initially prevented from seeing Su Yi due to scheming from his cousin Edison Cheng, who believes he has a shot at inheriting his grandmother's estate over Nick. Edison lies and convinces the entire family and house staff that Su Yi does not wish to see Nick while she is on her deathbed. With the help of the head of security, the head maid (who overheard Eddie's plotting) and Astrid, Nick is able to sneak into Tyersall Park and speak with his grandmother while she is bedridden with a cardiac intensive care unit set up right in her bedroom and around the clock medical staff looking after her. She is happy to see him and they make amends.

Meanwhile, Astrid, Nick's cousin, finds herself engaged again to Charlie Wu. Her relationship with Charlie however faces obstacles from Charlie's scorned ex-wife Isabel Wu and her soon to be ex-husband Michael Teo. She receives a grainy video depicting her and Charlie having sex in his bedroom from Michael, with a threat of releasing the video unless he is given 5 billion dollars in their divorce settlement. The video is eventually released by Isabel just before she attempts suicide. Astrid is initially shunned by her family and is forced to retreat in seclusion, not even telling Charlie where she went. Charlie goes to great lengths to track her down and eventually finds her on an island where they have sex on the beach. He reveals to her that he has gotten Michael to sign off on their divorce without any challenge by threatening to have him prosecuted for illegal surveillance of Astrid and blackmail. He also reveals that Isabel survived her suicide attempt and is now in stable condition. Astrid tells him she wishes to stay and bring her son Cassian here to live with the people on the island. Charlie is willing to let her have the life she wants but wants to know if there is any room in that life for him.

Su Yi eventually passes away following her meeting with Nick, and in her will, she leaves a share of Tyersall Park to each of her 4 daughters (Alexandra, Felicity, Victoria and Catherine) and 1 son (Phillip, Nick's father) along with a share to Nick and his cousin (and Eddie's brother) Alistair Cheng. Upon the reading of the will and realizing that Su Yi never considered him an heir to Tyersall Park even after Nick married Rachel, Eddie is humiliated to be left with nothing. The family initially agrees to sell the property to Jack Bing for his new wife Kitty, the former Hong Kong soap actress (and Alistair's former fiancee), for 10 billion dollars as nobody wants to have to take care of such a white elephant of an estate, after discovering that the will left the estate but not the funds they were expecting to maintain their lifestyle on it. Nick cannot bring himself to let Tyersall Park go, and so attempts to buy out his aunts' shares (with his father signing over his portion directly to Nick) however he is unable to raise the money to do this. Nick is eventually sent on a trip to visit an elderly Thai prince from a note left to him by his grandmother, thinking that this is the key to helping secure the funding needed to buy Tyersall Park. However he learns that this Prince was his grandmother's first love (and probably Aunt Catherine's biological father). Nick also learned that during World War II, Su Yi aided in the resistance effort against the Japanese occupation in Singapore by providing Tyersall Park as a safe haven for many Chinese and British agents working against the Japanese. Nick then tries to block the sale of Tyersall Park by claiming that it is a historic site. Rachel and Nick bring together Nick's friends Colin and Araminta Khoo, Rachel's friend Goh Peik Lin, and Alistair to buy Tyersall Park and turn it into the Tyersall Museum and Hotel. Kitty completes the deal by becoming a secret investor in their group in order to spite Jack, who had decided to buy Tyersall Park for Colette (his daughter) instead of Kitty.

One year later, Peik Lin is getting married to Alistair, with Nick and Rachel serving as best man and maid of honor respectively. After years of trying to conceive, Araminta and Colin now have a 2 month old son. Eddie finally changes his ways after visiting a therapist. Astrid continues to live on the island with Charlie and has started designing her own clothes. She does not wish to get married yet instead preferring to live "a life of sin" with Charlie and also enjoys the fact that this drives her parents insane. Rachel reveals to Nick that she is 6 weeks pregnant. They both jokingly agree to not tell Nick's mother about the news and instead wait until their child is 21 before they tell her.

Characters[edit]

  • Rachel Young (née Chu): A Chinese-American woman who is an economics professor at New York University.
  • Nicholas "Nick" Young: Rachel's husband who is a history professor, also at New York University. He currently lives with Rachel in New York City, but is originally from Singapore and hails from a rich and powerful family.
  • Eleanor Young (née Sung): Nick's controlling mother who schemes for her son to inherit her mother-in-law's great estate, Tyersall Park.
  • Astrid Leong: Nick's fashionable cousin whose reputation is put on the line due to her affair with her later fiancé, Charlie Wu.
  • Peik Lin Cheng (née Goh Peik Lin): Rachel's rich Singaporean best friend from college, who is later married to Nick's cousin Alistair.
  • Araminta Khoo (née Lee): The wealthy heiress wife of Nick's best friend, the billionaire Colin Khoo, who just had a miscarriage.
  • Edison "Eddie" Cheng: Nick's cousin who's very eager to inherit Tyersall Park. Eddie is ambitious and wants to prove to everyone who matters that he can live a lavish lifestyle, yet his personal philosophy clashes with his parents who live a simple and modest life from their wealth. He is later humiliated upon the reading of Su-Yi's will which left him out of the Tyersall Park shares that not only went to his mother, his aunts and uncle, but also Nick and Alistair.
  • Fiona Cheng (née Tung) : Eddie's wife who comes from Hong Kong old money family. She is one of the witnesses to Shang Su Yi's will.
  • Alistair Cheng: Eddie's younger brother who is involved in Hong Kong movie business. He is later married to Rachel's best friend, Peik Lin. Su-Yi left him a share in Tyersall Park
  • Oliver T'sien: Nick's cousin who also works as Kitty's art consultant and buyer. His family has apparently lost most of their money in Barings Bank collapse, and he keeps it a secret to his wealthier Shang-Young relatives.
  • Cassandra Shang: Nick's gossipy second cousin who seems to know everything about everyone, earning her the nickname, "Radio One Asia".
  • Jacqueline Ling: Shang Su Yi's youthful goddaughter, daughter of a wealthy, old-moneyed philanthropist and currently the partner of a Norwegian billionaire. She apparently inherits huge amount of shares from the Ling family's company that was given to Shang Su Yi during a mahjong game, but now worth half a billion dollars.
  • Kitty Bing (formerly Kitty Pong, née Pong Li Li): The new jet-setting wife of China's second richest man, billionaire Jack Bing. She always feels second to her stepdaughter, Colette, both in her husband's attention and her high society life. Thanks to investing her entire divorce settlement from her previous husband in Amazon, she manages to become the secret investor in keeping Tyersall Park from being sold to Jack (and Colette).
  • Carol Tai: A devout Christian who is also the wife of a corrupt billionaire, the late Dato' Tai Toh Lui. She is on good terms with her ex daughter-in-law, Kitty, despite the fact that Kitty later divorced him.
  • Shang Su Yi: Nick's powerful, and now dying grandmother who lives in her great estate, Tyersall Park. Nick and Su Yi were very close throughout Nick's childhood, but when Su Yi discovers in Crazy Rich Asians that Nick's girlfriend Rachel is not wealthy, she disowns him and this drives a wedge between the two. She later reconciles with Nick after learning that Rachel isn't a gold digger that she thought and that her father is a Chinese billionaire.
  • Alfred Shang: Shang Su Yi's powerful younger brother who lives in his great estate in Surrey.
  • Victoria Young: One of Nick's aunts, she is Shang Su Yi's unmarried daughter.
  • Catherine Young: Nick's aunt who is married into Thai royalty. She is secretly the love child of Shang Su Yi and a Thai prince.
  • Tan Sri Harry Leong and Puan Sri Felicity Leong (née Young): Astrid's extremely wealthy, powerful, and controlling parents.
  • Michael Teo: Astrid's scorned soon-to-be ex-husband tech billionaire, who plots revenge on Astrid by ruining her reputation. In the second book, Michael's start-up tech company boomed to success but this was secretly due to Charlie investing in the company as a means of helping his former love Astrid save her marriage. He was falsely believed to be having an affair with another woman in Shanghai in Crazy Rich Asians.
  • Charlie Wu: Astrid's tech billionaire ex-boyfriend, later fiancé, who finally gets back together with her, despite their obstacles.
  • Isabel Wu: Charlie's scorned ex-wife who suddenly shows up in Singapore to ruin Astrid's reputation.
  • Colette Bing, Countess of Palliser: Kitty's stepdaughter who seems to have changed so much from her old ways since her video scandal from the previous book, which leads her to exile in England. She is now married to an environmental lawyer, who is actually the son of England's fifth-largest landowner, Duke of Glencora and a wealthy French nobility, Lord Lucien Plantagenet Montagu-Scott, Earl of Palliser.
  • Jack Bing: Kitty's new billionaire husband, the second (or third, fourth, seventh, depending on the tabloid doing the ranking) richest man in China. He gives an enormous divorce settlement to his ex-wife and trust fund to his daughter, Colette, despite having claimed that he cut her off due to her video scandal, both which bothers Kitty so much.
  • Carlton Bao: Rachel's sports car-collecting, Fuerdai half-brother, who used to date Colette.
  • Scheherazade Shang: Alistair and Nick's beautiful Eurasian cousin who studies at the Sorbonne and is also Carlton's new love interest. She has been pursued by high-profiled guys like Prince Harry, with no luck.
  • Wandi Meggaharto Widjawa: One of Kitty's new jet-setting socialite friends. She is the daughter of a wealthy, aristocratic Chinese-Indonesian oligarch.

Reception[edit]

The novel received positive reviews and was noted to be "a memorable, laugh-out-loud Asian glitz fest that’s a pure pleasure to read" by USA Today.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Biedenharn, Isabella. "'Kevin Kwan teases 'Rich People Problems'". Entertainment Weekly. 
  2. ^ Cha, Steph. "Kevin Kwan's 'Rich People Problems' is a flashy, funny bauble". USA Today.