Blanche’s Book Club: ‘Sex and Vanity.’

In the spring, I tuned in to a Barnes & Noble Zoom interview featuring Kevin Kwan. I didn’t know what he looked like (aside from seeing his picture on the back of the “Crazy Rich Asians” books) or what he sounded like… and I just thought he was such a delight!

He talked mainly about “Sex and Vanity,” which was released at the end of June. He said it was the first of another trilogy and it was set in Capri. He talked extensively about Capri, saying that he vacationed there as a child with his family, but has gone back many times as an adult.

Honestly, it all sounded so glamorous and it made me really pumped to read this book! I put my name on the waiting list on the Libby app, and I finally got it last week. Here’s the scoop on it:

On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can’t stand him. She can’t stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can’t stand that he knows more about Casa Malaparte than she does, and she really can’t stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa and they are caught by her snobbish, disapproving cousin Charlotte. “Your mother is Chinese so it’s no surprise you’d be attracted to someone like him,” Charlotte teases. The daughter of an American-born Chinese mother and a blue-blooded New York father, Lucie has always sublimated the Asian side of herself in favor of the white side, and she adamantly denies having feelings for George. But several years later, when George unexpectedly appears in East Hampton, where Lucie is weekending with her new fiancé, Lucie finds herself drawn to George again.

Soon, Lucie is spinning a web of deceit that involves her family, her fiancé, the co-op board of her Fifth Avenue apartment building, and ultimately herself as she tries mightily to deny George entry into her world–and her heart. Moving between summer playgrounds of privilege, peppered with decadent food and extravagant fashion, Sex and Vanity is a truly modern love story, a daring homage to A Room with a View, and a brilliantly funny comedy of manners set between two cultures.

I have never read “A Room with a View” and now I feel like I should! I will say that I read all of the “Crazy Rich Asians” books and I really enjoyed them. However, I had trouble keeping up with the characters and this is by no means a dig; it’s just something I always struggle with when characters are any bit complicated.

I was a little worried I would struggle with this book, too. After reading it, I do think it’s Kwan’s style to have this detailed plot that involves families and friend groups getting themselves into a tangled mess… while in a luxurious location.

But, I kept up as best I could and I enjoyed it! When I read his other series, I liked each book more than the last, and I’m curious if this series will be the same way.

I would definitely recommend this book if you’re a fan of Kevin Kwan and/or if you’re into complex dramas + luxury vacations 🙂 Who isn’t??

I’m currently reading two books right now, so it’s hard-telling what we’ll review next but I’m thinking it will be “When No One is Watching” by Alyssa Cole.

I hope you all are having a great weekend!

For more book recommendations, be sure to subscribe to the blog (look to the right) and follow me on Goodreads @thebitterlemon – where I share more of my book picks. Need help with your blog? I can help with all of your digital marketing efforts – just let me know!

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