The Borough Press | 9 June 2022 | 288 pgs
I'd so much fun reading this book; despite it was more of a women's fiction (which revolves around the friendship and "entrepreneurship" between two women) set in a world of luxurious bags and their fake counterparts.
Ava Wong is married to a successful surgeon and is taking an indefinite career break from her profession as a lawyer to take care of her young son, Henri. What seems like a picture-perfect life is actually a facade as Ava is in fact having difficulties in taking care of Henri (who has some developmental issues) and her husband is working far too much to take notice of her struggles and the family as a whole.
Enter Winnie Fang, who is Ava’s old college roommate but left Stanford in a shroud of scandal. Ava has lost contact with Winnie, but they met one day and Ava is instantly fascinated by Winnie’s new self and her wealth. Winnie used to be quiet and awkward but now she's exudes confidence and charm and most of all, she's dripping in designer accessories so life must be more than great for her. Either out of boredom or desperation, Ava soon finds herself confiding in Winnie and what's more, the latter seems to know how to make little Henri happy. As they get closer and Winnie needs a favour surrounding her handbags business, Ava couldn't say no and before she knew it, she's wading deeper into Winnie’s shady business (of making and selling counterfeit luxurious handbags) and she has to make the ultimate decision to cut and run or risk it all.
Luxurious handbags are many women's favourite fashion accessories, so while it was fun reading from that angle, counterfeiting is not and all the more so when these factories are making them and hiring illegal, (and sometimes) underage employees in which these features take up a minor part of the story. And I've to say I learned a lot about the world of counterfeit handbags and their manufacturing after reading this. Also, Ava and Winnie are both intriguing and interesting characters. Their friendship and entrepreneurship are the highlights alongside Ava's coping with cranky little Henri and her life. Overall the prose was light, darkly comic and entertaining; my only complaint was there's not a single quotation marks for dialogues and while they're not hard to distinguish, it isn't my favourite writing style. I'll be curious to find out what's in store for the author's next book.
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