Cover Image: Counterfeit


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Member Reviews

Thank you for the ARC.This is a great light hearted chick lit book. A real eye opener into the designer market and a perfect beach read!
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Ava has the perfect life - on the surface. A successful lawyer, she is married to a surgeon, and they have a young son. However, although she has money and a nanny, her career isn't going well, and her husband is away a lot. There also seems to be something mysterious wrong with their child. She is the prime victim for her old school-friend Winnie, unfortunately.

Winnie subtly involves herself in Ava's life, pretending to be a helpful friend and support. Soon Ava starts taking part in the counterfeit handbag business and finds herself having to tell an intricate web of lies. She gets in very deep. Can she get herself out of the mess?

This book contained interesting insights into Chinese culture, the high-end and the counterfeit handbag businesses, and issues, such as slave labour in China. It was easy-to-read and gripping, but the main characters were not terribly likeable. Ava's problems, for example, were the epitomy of 'First World' problems. However, I would like to read more books by Kirsten Chen.

I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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Counterfeit by Kristin Chen was an interesting story about two women, one a Chinese-American, Ava, married to a surgeon and the other a Chinese woman, Winnie, who obtains a green card via marriage. While it was an easy read and quite relaxed in the story, I really didn’t find it particularly gripping. There were some interesting issues such as racism, the use of cheap labour in China to manufacture cheaper goods for other countries and how parental expectations influence their children. 

This review is based on a complimentary copy from HarperCollins Publishers Australia via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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This one was not for me I’m afraid. I didn’t have super high expectations, I just thought it would be a bit of fun - two old friends in on a bit of a luxury handbag counterfeit scam - but for some reason I found the whole thing kind of annoying. I didn’t like either of them, which is ok, I don’t have to love a character to enjoy a book, but I have to be invested and find them interesting or something. But I just didn’t. I listened on audio and found myself tuning out all the time, even while driving completely alone in my car. At some points I’d have to go back in case I’d missed one of the promised twists and turns… I hadn’t.
I’ve seen rave reviews elsewhere and it’s Reese Witherspoon’s Bookclub pick this month - so obviously others have enjoyed it, so please don’t let me put you off. I did like learning a bit about the high end handbag world and the huge market for the fakes - but it made me truly just wonder how people can spend so much money on a bag. 

I ended up listening on audio because I could only read the pdf galley on my phone.
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Thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins Australia for the eARC.

Ava Wong is a Chinese American lawyer with a surgeon husband, a great son and the perfect life. She's the envy of everyone. But Ava's life is breaking, she's unhappy with herself and her circumstances and doesn't want to live the perfect life she's set out for herself anymore. Then she chances upon Winnie Fang, an old college roommate who has transformed into a confident woman dripping In luxury. Ava can't believe Winnie is the same shy girl she once knew and finds out about how Winnie has become so successful and has a chance to work with her. Soon Ava is caught up in a whirlwind of drama, crime and money that she was not expecting.

Counterfeit is a very easy to read and follow, darkly charming book that had me gripped till the end. The narration of the of the first half of the story itself, with Ava telling a detective the entire story, is very clever and I loved how everything played out. The humour is dark and the characters are very smart and deceitfully successful in their endeavours. The story was well developed and I liked that it made you question literally everything in the second part. The premise of 'luxury' and 'counterfeit' handbags was very intriguing too. 

Both Ava and Winnie were interesting characters. it's quite clear that Ava was feeling jealous, insecure and self-centred throughout the book and Winnie was equally as flawed and irritating but very interesting nonetheless. They had heaps of layers which is always wonderful to see in a character. The story tackles some very serious topics and issues and I think Kirstin Chen managed to do that quite well.

Overall, a very clever and fun read!
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Counterfeit is a flashy book about two women of Chinese background creating an empire selling fake designer products. 

I think the premise was interesting and the story itself could have been fascinating if the writing was sharper and more witty. We mainly saw the story from Ava, an American born Chinese who was struggling with her identity of a "failing mother", her failing marriage and more importantly, what she would do with her life. On paper, she ticked all the boxes of being the perfect Asian kid, but was she satisfied? Has she, like a lot of us Asian kids, spent her life chasing after the parents' expectation rather than our own?

As I read the book, I found myself wanting to know more about the other woman, Winnie - her story seemed to have a lot more layers and nuance. But we didn't really get there.

I appreciate that the writing was honest about Chinese culture all over the world. E.g. how American born Chinese kids viewed people from mainland China (super rich / spoiled / powerful family connection). The description about family encounters in Hongkong and comments about life in Singapore were something I heard a lot but had never really read it in fictional writing. The author also wanted to comment about materialism but it didn't really come across. 

All in all, a quick and fun but quite forgettable read for me.
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