My school year starts next week, so I've been in kind of a rush to end summer properly. Last minute organzing projects (a post for next week) and getting all my summer books read, stuff like that.
Have you read Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asian series? Oh, but you must! Mr. Kwan is a Houston guy; he graduated from Clear Lake and went on to study at University of Houston. His knowledge of the super rich and their shopping is dizzying and super fun to read about.
This cute top was a gift from my mom, who purchased it from Ever On Point Diane at Shopaholic Sanctuary
And today I want to review his latest novel, Sex and Vanity. This book is AMAZING. And SO GOOD. And all the other SUPERLATIVES IN ALL CAPS. The book centers on young Miss Lucy Churchill who has been invited to a no expense spared (and this means something different than what you've seen on Yes to the Dress!) wedding on the Isle of Capri. Lucy meets the bride's cousin, George, who is intense and attractive and disturbing all at once. This might have been the vibe all the theater guys from my high school days were going for...
An incident ensues (moonlight, Itay, champagne - incidents are just a natural consequence). Lucy and her cousin/chaperone, Charlotte bolt for home. And then it's a few years later. Lucy is working in New York City, and who does she run into at a Puppy Yoga class? The intense George who is now more attractive than disturbing. But Lucy is now engaged to Super New Money Cecil. Oh, what will become of our darling girl?
This whole novel is an homage to my very favorite movie, Room With a View. Do you remember this movie? My husband jokes that you always remember your first Merchant Ivory film. It came out in 1985. I remember going to this artsy film house with my friend, Stacy, and our moms, and afterwards we affected British accents like the fabulous Helena Bonham Carter. HBC played Lucy Honeychurch who met her George on a trip to Italy with her buzzkill Cousin Charlotte. When I realized that I was reading a modern version of Room With a View, I might have squealed. Loudly.
Even if Merchant Ivory films did not play a particularly heavy influence in your development, you will enjoy this book. My friend, Melissa, and I both had our phones nearby so we could look up every amazing, notable destination in Capri as we read.
The next Kevin up for review is Kevin Wilson, and I just finished reading his latest novel, Nothing to See Here. This book. It's head shaking and delightful, which is an unusual combination.
So, here we have Lillian, who lives in her mother's attic (her mom's treadmill took over her bedroom). She is underemployed and resentful and bored. Until her best friend, Madison, from boarding school reaches out to her asking for a favor. If I were casting a movie, Gwyneth Paltrow would play Madison, someone born to greatness, who achieves greatness easily, and will continue to be great, and I think, Lili Taylor to play Lillian. The Beautiful and the Scrappy.
The favor is an unusual one. Will Lillian immediately move into Madison's mansion and play nanny for her two stepchildren? They are twins from her husband's first marriage. They're sweet children, they are, but they have the unusual and disquieting habit of bursting into flames whenever they are upset (hence, the water bottle in the photo; my husband was bemused when I asked him to the picture, but he just went with it because he had just finished a long run and was kind of tired - he will read my blog later, and it will all make sense).
Do you ever think that if you were in a novel, there just wouldn't be a story because you would call the police, tell an adult, or just say NO right from the get go? I would be a boring book. Lucky for us, Lillian agrees to this bizarre scheme. And the rest is this really fabulous story about relationships, privilege, rough starts, and just cobbling it together until it works good enough.
These two Kevins are worth your reading time!