Did you read all of the Crazy Rich Asians books and think I NEED MORE? Well, here ya go. In Sex and Vanity, Kevin Kwan brings back all the fun from the series you know and love with a new setting and new group of [often over the top] characters. I didn’t buy this one the minute it came out because I was so worried it wouldn’t have the magic of Kwan’s previous books, but I’m here to tell you it does.
We begin in 2013 on the gorgeous island of Capri. If we learned anything from Crazy Rich Asians, it’s that Kwan knows how to plan an incredible wedding, and that’s why Lucie finds herself on the Amalfi Coast. She’s there to celebrate the nuptials of her childhood friend and honorary big sister, Isabel, who runs with an incredibly rich, connected, and posh crowd. We’re talking actual royalty here. As a college student, Lucie is accompanied by her 40-something-year-old cousin, Charlotte who takes her role as chaperone seriously. Between insane wedding events, Lucie meets a cast of impeccably dressed characters, including Rosemary Zao and her son George. Rosemary is a bit much and George is terribly standoffish…and yet Lucie continues to find herself in his presence. They have a moment (or two) but the wedding weekend ends abruptly and we jump ahead 5 years. Lucie is now 25 and in a relationship with Cecil Pike, a social media-obsessed nouveau-riche type. Well, nouveau-riche by Lucie’s family’s standards. You see, Lucie is half Chinese and half ooooold school Mayflower WASP. We follow them as they bounce between NYC and The Hamptons, where George and Mrs. Zao surprisingly resurface.
Some people love name dropping; I love location dropping. I ate up all the call-outs to iconic restaurants and beaches. Similar to his other books, this offers social commentary (particularly as it pertains to racism and self-identity) while wrapping it in the sparkling extravagance of the über rich.
Note: This book is a modern day version of the novel and 1985 film (with an A+ cast) A Room with a View, which I am planning to watch immediately.
4.5 out of 5 stars.
Pair with: Aperol Spritz and lemon sorbet