For the past few years I’ve had a really bad habit of starting series and never finishing them. Fortunately, I had all three books in this series by Kevin Kwan and would hand them off to my brother’s girlfriend as I finished them, so she bugged me to read them so she could read them, and that prompted me to actually finish the series for a change.
So, last time we left Nick and Rachel Young, they were happily married, Rachel’s budding relationships with her father and half-brother seemed to be going pretty well, and Astrid had finally left her super-sweet-husband-inexplicably-turned-monster for the love of her life, Charlie Wu.
Except it turns out Michael isn’t leaving without a fight, which is super weird since he was the one who wanted a divorce in the first place, but as previously mentioned, this is not the character we were introduced to in Crazy Rich Asians. This is an abusive, controlling monster who came out of nowhere and he just wants to make Astrid miserable for the sake of making her miserable. So he fights her for custody of their son and tries to sue her for more money than she has.
Meanwhile, Su Yi is dying. For those of you who have trouble keeping up (totally understandable given the huge cast of characters), Su Yi is the wealthy grandmother who owns Tyersall Park. The book starts with her having a massive heart attack and everyone racing to Tyersall Park in a last-ditch effort to get on her good side right before she dies.
Eleanor tries to talk Nick into coming because she has worked too hard to make sure he’s the favorite grandchild so he can inherit everything just for him to throw it all away now. But Nick hasn’t talked to his grandmother since the end of the first book when she threatened to disinherit him if he married Rachel (which he did, so everyone assumes he’s disinherited).
But Su Yi wasn’t a total monster. She’s the closest thing Nick ever had to a mother and Tyersall Park was his home when he was growing up, so he decides to see his grandmother one last time, except Eddie is in charge and he’s determined to keep the two favorites, Nick and Astrid, as far away from Su Yi as possible so that he’ll be the favorite and inherit everything. Fortunately, the staff of Tyersall Park are Team Nick and Astrid and they lead them into Tyersall Park via a secret underground tunnel and the two of them make it there in time to say good bye to their beloved grandmother before she finally kicks the bucket.
Charlie had proposed to Astrid not long before this and some paparazzi had secretly been taking photos of them, which then got splashed all over the tabloids. Micheal is using it to claim Astrid is having an affair (has always been having an affair), and her parents can’t believe she would do anything to end up in the tabloids when they have always avoided public attention so studiously. So everyone is sure that Astrid is on the outs, but it turns out, not only does Su Yi approve of the engagement, she helped Charlie plan it.
So everyone gets together for the reading of the will and it turns out that Su Yi really didn’t have “that much money,” meaning she “only” had a few million dollars, which she gives to a few servants who had faithfully served her for decades. She has a few other properties, including an estate in Thailand no one knew about, which she gives to her daughter, Catherine, who married a Thai prince. But Tyersall Park is her only real asset and she split that up, giving the lion’s share (30%) to her only son and Nick’s father, Phillip, a 12.5% share to each of her four daughters, 10% to Nick and 10% to Nick’s cousin and Eddie’s brother, Alistair, but nothing to Eddie. And the will was written prior to Nick’s marriage to Rachel, which means she never went through with her threat to disinherit him.
Phillip couldn’t care less what happens to the property, so he flies back to Sydney practically as soon as they’re finished reading the will. The rest of them decide to sell it and they’re busy looking at potential buyers, but Nick wants to maintain the property – he doesn’t want to live there, he just doesn’t want it to get torn down. So he teams up with Astrid and convinces his father to sign over his shares to him, giving Nick and Astrid the controlling interest in the property. They decide to have the house declared an historical landmark and they turn it into a hotel and museum. The rest of the grounds are used to make affordable housing for artists and middle-income workers.
Meanwhile, Kitty Pong is now Kitty Bing and she is obsessed with one-upping her step-daughter, which is pretty difficult since Colette has gotten over her break-up with Carlton by marrying an English Earl and raising money to save the orangutans. She’s enlisted Oliver’s help and Oliver really needs the money because, although he’s not poor, his and his parents’ finances have taken a big hit in recent years and they’ve gone into debt while trying to keep up appearances. So Oliver really needs things to go well with Kitty (which is especially difficult when she demands the impossible) so he can get the windfall he needs to climb out of debt.
In they end, they all get what they want and the characters who need to reform are either reformed or somehow disposed of and they all live happily ever after. Oh, and Rachel is pregnant, but Eleanor was so awful and manipulative about pressuring her into having grandchildren that she’s back on Rachel’s bad side and she and Nick joke about not letting Eleanor anywhere near the kid until it’s 18 or 21.
What did you read this week? Any other sequels you’re glad you picked up?