When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.
On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.
I was so excited to start this one because I wanted to see the movie that I knew would be coming out at the time. I went into it knowing I do not read many general fiction novels but I had high hopes for this one.
The story starts off with a lot of characters and it can feel overwhelming at first because you have no idea who anyone really is. The families that are living in Singapore are vast and the richest people around. We have to hear about property, stock options, who wears what type of designer, what cars they have and who is in the power struggle for more more more. All of the chapters that are told from the perspective of one of the families are rude, crude, brash and just vile. The family only cares about money and pretends that they do not. There was one point where I was going to stop listening to this book because one of the cousins does something against one of his children that I did not agree with in the slightest and it was over an article of clothing.
On the flip side we have the chapters that are told from the pov of one of the three main characters. These were the chapters that I loved the most. I loved watching Rachel try to fit into this random world that she war thrown in. I liked her mind and her spirit. I also liked seeing things come from her boyfriend, Nick. I did feel that at times he was rather clueless about the things his family was up to but I enjoyed his focus on Rachel. I also really loved reading about Astrid and her whole storyline. Although I did not agree with some of the choices she made.
Overall, this would have been a great story if more of the focus was on the main characters. I understand the family needed to be there for some drama and some added scenes but I felt the family was too much. More than half of the book surrounds people and things you just do not care about. I stuck in there for Rachel and Astrid but I’m not sure I will force myself through another two books that are over 500 pages apiece to see if they get their happily ever afters
I really liked the narrator of the story. She sounded just like the family and characters should have sounded and I would love to listen to a book read by her in the future. Her reading the book to me was probably the only thing that kept me with the story. If I was holding the paperback and reading it myself I would have for sure put it down.