What happens when three best friends come up with a crazy wild plan? You commit to the bit and of course you make a presentation for it to share over dinner.
This has to be one of my favorite reads in a while! The characters in this book are incredibly relatable, particularly for readers like me, who grew up as the child of immigrant parents. Which, not going to lie, the portrayal of Peng Ayi and Lulu’s mom, with their guilt-tripping and high/un-real expectations, is both triggering and authentic on what it’s like to grow up with Asian mom. On the other hand, Lulu’s dad is your typical Asian dad where they are a man of very few words who will always show their love through actions.
I couldn’t help but to fall in love with Rina and Vic storyline, especially with Vic and his tattoos and wanting to keep his grandma happy and Rina being such a girl-boss.
One of my favorite quotes from this book is when Michelangelo tells Lulu that “Purpose is something you choose. You can’t rely on others to give it to you.” As someone with an Asian mom, you grow up constantly hearing that you have to be a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer because anything less is a disgrace. You must sacrifice your own happiness and peace of mind to carry on the family legacy or you’ll cause the family to loose face. I think that’s why this book means so much to me - we get to watch Lulu, Jane, and Rina grow and learn that it’s okay to do something for yourself without the guilt of making others happy (something my therapist is constantly telling me).
AND YESS QUEEN FOR ACE REPRESENTATION - you don’t understand how much this means to me as someone who is Chinese-American and identifies as ace.
Can’t wait for everyone to read this on March 5th! A big shoutout to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC of this book.
Women of Good Fortune is a super-fun heist/romance for fans of Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean’s Eight.
Sophie Wan’s debut novel is set against a high-society Shanghai wedding, a heartfelt, funny, dazzling novel about a reluctant bride and her two best friends, each with their own motives and fed up with the way society treats women, who forge a plan to steal all the gift money on the big day.
What starts off as a cold-emotionless get-rich-quick plan quickly becomes more complicated as the friends come to care about the people who will be impacted by their actions. Each with so much to gain by the windfall, they find that they might just have as much to lose by going through with the scheme.
Thank you to @harlequintradepublishing and @NetGalley for an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.
This is perfect for fans of Crazy, Rich Asians, Ocean 11 and Counterfeit. Loved the premise of the book where three best friends plan an elaborate heist in order/hopes that it'll bring them happiness. I loved the storytelling and the characters. The multiple POVs had distinct and unique voices. Loved this novel!
I received a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes; opinions expressed are honest and mine alone.
WOMEN OF GOOD FORTUNE is Sophie Wan’s debut novel and it’s a good addition to book club fiction. Amazon/GR doesn’t include that genre for this book but I see it as a no brainer. Sure, it’s Friendship and Women’s Fiction as well but there’s gonna be lots of chatter about the antics of these three friends. I can see Shonda optioning this book for lots of fun episodes…
As an American reader, I enjoyed the visit to contemporary, Chinese family life. The three friends cover the entire spectrum of society from very blue collar to uber wealthy. Sophie Wan delivers Chinese traditions that have been practiced for thousands of years along with up to the minute fashion, makeup, accessories, cars and more. These, along with the roles of women, in family, society and work, are portrayed thru the three best friends. Two of these friends are considered “leftovers” by Chinese standards - women over 27 who are yet to be married. Not so long ago, it was all of them and this idea haunts them.
Characters are Wan’s strongest element, closely followed by dialogue. Every cast member has a unique issue and most experience growth over the course of the story. Relationships cross over but aren’t so complicated you’re going to need a score card. I am particularly fond of good people being bad and vice versa. There’s only one character that’s mostly reprehensible but, well, every good story needs a monster! Wan’s characters each have a voice that’s clearly expressed via snappy dialogue that drives this story at a comfortable pace.
Each chapter has a time noted, such as: 10 months to the wedding, 5 months…3 days. They also are set up to be voiced by a particular character and their name appears as well. It’s a simple format and works in a storyline such as this one. It’s well organized and keeps the cast of characters from becoming confusing.
Language and sexual content are both mild making this a safe choice for 16+, if they would be interested in the storyline. As I mentioned early on, a good choice for book clubs with opportunities to discuss family relationships, expectations, society inequalities, friendships, marriage traditions, following your dreams and can you be leftover and WOMEN OF GOOD FORTUNE📚
Read & Reviewed from a NetGalley eARC, with thanks
I love a heist story, so I was intrigued by the premise of Women of Good Fortune, in which three friends plot a heist to steal the gift money from one of Shanghai's biggest society weddings to help change their fates.
Lulu, Rina, and Jane have been friends for years, calling themselves "The Leftovers" in joking reference to being single later in life. Lulu, a former waitress engaged to marry into a rich family to supporting her family financially, dreams of escaping the needs of her parents and her overbearing mother-in-law to find far off adventure in Thailand. Jane, an unfulfilled housewife coping with her lackluster marriage with luxury shopping, hopes plastic surgery will give her the social respect she craves and the leverage to leave her husband. Rina is a tireless career woman who puts in constant work in hopes that her company will give her the promotion she needs to fund fertility treatments. All three women hatch a plot to steal the gift money from Lulu's own wedding, having calculated that the ultra-wealthy wedding guests will gift several million yuan, enough to easily fund their dreams. We follow these women as they execute their plot only to have nothing go to plan on the big day. Can their friendship survive all that upheaval?
This book was more introspective than I expected for a heist story. Nearly two thirds of the book are dedicated the planning stages, counting down the weeks until Lulu's wedding and tracking the three women's shifting attitudes toward their plans the closer they get to their deadline. I was surprised by the brevity of the heist itself. With such a slow start, the narrative doesn't allow time to revel in the twists and quick last-minute pivots the women make as they try to pull of their plot under increasingly daunting odds. The focus on the protagonists' emotions and desires makes for a strange tone, too, feeling more Eat, Pray, Love than Ocean's Eight. Between the tone and the pacing, the final twist and quick resolution feel a little too rushed to be satisfying, although it was an engaging and fun enough read.
WOMEN OF GOOD FORTUNE by Sophie Wan is a fun, entertaining escapist read. Set in Shanghai, Wan's debut novel features three good friends who are dissatisfied with their life circumstances. Lulu feels beholden to her economically struggling parents and trapped in an engagement to a wealthy young man. Jane, herself in a marriage of convenience, wants to change her appearance to be more conventionally attractive and Rina is a hard-working career woman who cannot seem to get the respect and promotions she deserves. A truly improbable quest to steal the red envelopes (cash gifts) from Lulu's future wedding suddenly becomes their focus. A large part of the humorous novel is about their efforts to circumvent the security system and arrange for a get away driver, etc. However, there are also many serious underlying themes, particularly the uncomfortable mother-daughter clashes. Over several months prior to the wedding, each of the women also experiences growth in her relationship with a significant other (fiancé Harv, husband Zihao, and quasi-boyfriend bad-boy Vic). Readers may need to suspend belief regarding some of the heist twists (and way over the top wedding expenses) but will come to root for the three friends' abilities to value each other and to ultimately make wise choices. WOMEN OF GOOD FORTUNE received a starred review from Booklist. Discussion questions are included for interested book groups.
A very enjoyable story of best friends working together to carry out a heist hoping for more money, get rich quick. This had an engaging plot set in Shanghai centered around unhappy women who want to get rich quick. Read this if you liked: a set up for a big heist like in Ocean's Eight, asian cultural norms and expectations, family dynamics, and discussions around marriage expectations culturally. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
This was an enjoyable read. It gave Crazy Rich Asian vibes which I loved. I would definitely recommence this to readers if you are looking for an entertaining read by a great debut author this is it.
Fun plot, but took a little while to get into. At first, it had “Crazy, Rich, Asian vibes”, but once the characters were more developed, it got moving. Would recommend to anyone looking for a fun plot, I enjoyed it. 3.5 stars for sure.
DNF @ 20%. I was so excited to read a lady heist novel, but I just could not get myself to like this one. The three main characters range from deeply unlikeable and unsympathetic (Jane, who is married but unhappy because her husband isn't rich, and she wants to divorce him, get plastic surgery, and trade up) to mediocre at best (Lulu, who is engaged to the eligiblest of eligible bachelors but doesn't want to get married). The two of them, along with their single-on-purpose friend Rina, devise a plan to steal the red envelope money from Lulu's wedding. But I just could not bring myself to root for these characters. So, since I have dubbed 2024 the year of unrepentant DNFing, I'm DNFing this one.
Thank you to NetGalley and Graydon House for providing me with an eARC of Women of Good Fortune in exchange for my honest review.
This book was so much fun!!! I absolutely loved all the characters and their journey together and individually!!! This was such a fun story and I really loved the cultural representation! This was such a great story about not being afraid of what you and actually going for it. Also about putting yourself first sometimes. Expectations from family and friends can be so stressful and can make you lose sight of your own purpose when you’re trying to please everyone else. I really liked this story and the overall message! This was just a generally uplifting story! Absolutely recommend!!!
I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are my own
This may have been my first ever heist book and I must say I enjoyed it. Any time I can read a book and get a peak at the customs of another culture I'm happy, mix that in with a plot that keeps me reading we have a winner! Thanks to Sophie Wan I'll be looking up non-intensive heist books
This book had me genuinely in suspense! Rina, Lulu and Jane are a trio of friends that are undergoing some extraordinary circumstances, but somehow the emotions that they feel navigating their descent into further adulthood are easy to relate to. This book was also funny in a way that I didn't expect, and I definitely would read what comes next from Sophie Wan!
Three friends gather together each week to share their frustrations about their lives. Rina is smart and driven but because she is a women, she will not get promoted in her company. Jane is constantly put down by her mother for her looks and end up in an arranged marriage to someone she doesn't really know or love. Lulu is going from beauty shop worker to marrying one of the most eligible bachelors in all of China and she is miserable with the monetary demands put upon her by her poor family and the outrageous demands of her soon-to-be mother-in-law. As the months count down to Lulu's wedding, the three friends hatch a plot which will set them all free from the current restrictions placed upon their lives. But something goes awry with their plot and instead of being free from the families and relationships, they find themselves more entangled than ever. With the three questioning what it is they really want out of life turning a "simple" solution into a much more emotionally involved one.
With characters both sympathetic and dastardly, "Women of Good Fortune" will keep readers turning the pages to find out if the risk these women are taking is really worth it in the end and if it's what they all really wanted after all.
A heist novel that was very fun to read! Fans of Crazy Rich Asians will enjoy the setting and characters, and fans of mysteries will enjoy the heist!
This book was a delight to read. Set in current-day Shanghai, the various perspectives, and the societal standards placed on women in China from all aspects of life, made for a unique story. The heist's
plot was fun, and it was a unique way to explore the potential negatives of wedding culture in China. What kept this story from being 5 stars was how the events post-wedding felt rushed. I would have liked to see more growth and coming together versus a quick two chapters. I also strongly disagreed with how Lulu didn't take responsibility for how her actions affected Harv and the actions he had to take because of Lulu and her friends. Overall a super fun read for any AAPI Readathon or summer vacation!
I'm learning that I really love heist novels and Women of Good Fortune was such a fun adventure! I really loved the three main characters and how they were so unique yet their stories were so familiar. I really appreciated the author's POV as well. It can be hard to remember that what's important and valued in my country may not necessarily be the case elsewhere. Rina fighting her uphill battle at her job and being reminded that it isn't the same in China as it is in the States was the perfect reminder. I did find it hard to sincerely root for all three of the main characters (surely their problems could be solved without stealing and defrauding an annoying albeit innocent family) but I suspended disbelief and enjoyed the fun adventure.
A heist caper novel set around a high end wedding in Shanghai that is, to be honest, a little baffling at times. Lulu's getting married to Harv! Her annoying mother in law to be is running things- so so many things. She's from a farming community and has always sent most of her salary as a hostess home. Her pals Rina and Jane also have money concerns so the idea that there will be lots and lots of cash in red envelopes in a safe at the wedding sets them off on a quest to steal the safe. This is where they lost me. They hire a counterfeiter to make a double of the safe and Rina's niece to drive the getaway car. I had a hard time visualizing the safe itself much less how Michelangelo was going to duplicate it. I wish there had been more back story for each of the women. For example, Jane went to Oxford but there's little else besides the fact that she dislikes her husband and her looks and loves clothes. There's also a second chance enemies to friends romance for Rina that's more engaging than the other relationships. To be fair, I'm not a fan of heist novels and this does have fun Shanghai atmospherics. But I wanted more.
Oh, heck yes! This book came into my life at the perfect time and I absolutely loved it!
Lulu, Jane and Rina are three best friends all dealing with aspects of their lives that they wish were better. Lulu is set to be married into an exceptionally wealthy family. As great as that sounds, she's actually kind of dreading it; she certainly isn't in love. After confessing her fears during a girls night the three friends discover a way to make all of their lives better and Lulu's wedding is the winning ticket. Together they form a heist to steal from high society Shanghai. With an overly involved soon-to-be mother-in-law, top of the line security and hundreds of guests watching their every move will they really be able to pull this off and if so, is it all really worth it?
This was giving Crazy Rich Asians mixed with Ocean's Eleven and I was absolutely LIVING for it. I highly recommend for anyone looking for something juicy, exciting and fun!
Pub. Date: March 5, 2024
Thank you NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing for this ARC!
This book has my heart!!! ❤️
It just feels so genuine, so authentic, like a true #ownvoices novel written for itself. Not to hit a diversity quota, not to cater to an international audience, not to make it more sellable to the mass market like so many others.
I had so much fun reading this and cackled at so many scenes. Some of the dialogue is comedy gold and there's even Chinese swearing 😂. Not to mention the references to inherently Chinese things such as WeChat, Meitu, the booming counterfeit industry, extravagance, marriage, hierarchy, everything! The accuracy of it all! I'm Singaporean Chinese and even though the book is set in China, I felt truly represented.
The heist itself felt a little confusing, messy and draggy to me but the characters really shine. I love all 3 women but Jane is my absolute favourite and I rooted so hard for her. Vic sounds super dreamy and I was extremely invested in his romantic entanglement with Rina. Everyone had such satisfying arcs and I really enjoyed their journeys of self-love, growth and discovery.
Women of Good Fortune is a gem that's just so unapologetically itself. I had a blast with it and can't wait to read more from the author!