Review By Gabrielle

Ocean’s 8 meets Crazy Rich Asians in Sophie Wong’s Women of Good Fortune.

Favourite Quote:

“Sometimes Lulu considers whether life would be better if she’d been born as a cockroach. Survival would be her only aim in life. She could adapt to anything, even being headless for a week.”

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Lulu has always been taught that money is the ticket to a good life. So, when Shanghai’s most eligible bachelor surprises her with a proposal, the only acceptable answer is yes, even if the voice inside her head is saying no. His family’s fortune would solve all her parents’ financial woes, but Lulu isn’t in love or ready for marriage.

The only people she can confide in are her two best friends: career-minded Rina, who is tired of being passed over for promotion as her biological clock ticks away; and Jane, a sharp-tongued, luxury-chasing housewife desperate to divorce her husband and trade up. Each of them desires something different: freedom, time, beauty. None of them can get it without money.

Lulu’s wedding is their golden opportunity. The social event of the season, it means more than enough cash gifts to transform the women’s lives. To steal the money on the big day, all they’ll need is a trustworthy crew and a brilliant plan. But as the plot grows increasingly complicated and relationships are caught in the cross fire, the women are forced to face that having it all might come at a steep price…

Women of Good Fortune examines the role of women. In their families, in their friendships, in their careers, and in society in general. Shy, quiet, dutiful Lulu finds herself engaged to Harv after only a handful of dates. While Harv is perfectly nice and all, she doesn’t love him, and has no intention of getting married anytime soon. She feels she must say yes to the marriage because Harv is wealthy and Lulu has been struggling to support her family back home in their village. With the wedding, her family will be well taken care of but the newfound freedom she’s gained in city life, away from her controlling family will be gone, replaced by her duties as a wife and pleasing her hyper critical mother-in-law.

Rina is a career minded tour de force. No one works harder than her and yet, she is passed over for promotion time and time again because it is assumed she will get married and have babies any day now. Ironically, Rina desperately wants babies, she just wants her career to be established first, which leaves her no time to date. She isn’t getting any younger and her doctor tells her she’ll need to freeze her eggs if she ever wants to have kids, a procedure she needs to go to the US to accomplish and is prohibitively expensive.

Jane has felt ugly her whole life. In a society that prizes beauty almost above all else, that is hard to take. She compensates by obsessing over luxury goods and plotting her divorce. 

Together they formulate a plan to rob Lulu’s wedding and gain the financial means to overcome their current circumstances. Unfortunately for me, this book fell a little flat in the middle. We start off strong, getting to know each of the characters and their lives. I had hoped the heist bits would feel a little more exciting, a little more Ocean’s 8, but the pace plods along slowly. I found myself bored several times. I will say the end picks up again and it’s worth sticking around to witness. There are some great twists that I didn’t see coming and I loved how everything came together.

A fascinating look into Shanghai’s high society, Women of Good Fortune features solid character development and a satisfying ending.

Thank you, Graydon House for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.