Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Fortunes of Jaded Women, by Carolyn Huynh {ends 10/26}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

Priscilla’s frontal lobe kicked in, and it didn’t allow her to wallow for too long. She set out to optimize her chances at finding a life partner immediately after the breakup. She lined men up every night of the week, scheduling some nights back-to-back. For the more questionable ones, she did a series of video chats to screen them. Maximum results with minimum efforts. She realized if she followed a strict, rotational method, with a high turnover rate, she would have a higher percentage of finding love. 

But after three dates, she began to see a pattern with the single men in Seattle. The data was all there. Men who questioned her credentials. Men who felt threatened and insecure with her career. Men who dangled the promise of marriage and children one day, but didn’t actually mean it. Men who were obsessed with their package. Not that kind of package – their total compensation tech package, which included base salary and the number of stocks they were given. Men who paraded around as nice guys but secretly harbored incel thoughts. Priscilla’s thoughts took a dark turn as she kept rehashing Mark, Maggie Chen, and everything that had led her to this moment. She was spiraling, and she wasn’t sure how to pull herself out of it. But she continued to go on dates, and woke up next to strangers every morning because she was too afraid to go back to that empty apartment. 

The Duong sisters were part of a long line of Vietnamese women. They were women who gave birth to baby girls, because they were cursed to never have a son.

Official synopsis:
Everyone in Orange County’s Little Saigon knew that the Duong sisters were cursed.

It started with their ancestor, Oanh, who dared to leave her marriage for true love—so a fearsome Vietnamese witch cursed Oanh and her descendants so that they would never find love or happiness, and the Duong women would give birth to daughters, never sons.​

Oanh’s current descendant Mai Nguyen knows this curse well. She’s divorced, and after an explosive disagreement a decade ago, she’s estranged from her younger sisters, Minh Pham (the middle and the mediator) and Khuyen Lam (the youngest who swears she just runs humble coffee shops and nail salons, not Little Saigon’s underground). Though Mai’s three adult daughters, Priscilla, Thuy, and Thao, are successful in their careers (one of them is John Cho’s dermatologist!), the same can’t be said for their love lives. Mai is convinced they might drive her to an early grave.

Desperate for guidance, she consults Auntie Hua, her trusted psychic in Hawaii, who delivers an unexpected prediction: this year, her family will witness a marriage, a funeral, and the birth of a son. This prophecy will reunite estranged mothers, daughters, aunts, and cousins—for better or for worse.

A multi-narrative novel brimming with levity and candor, The Fortunes of Jaded Women is about mourning, meddling, celebrating, and healing together as a family. It shows how Vietnamese women emerge victorious, even if the world is against them.

These women are the very definition of character. While the family tree may take a little while to untangle, the daughters, sisters, and cousins are soon recognizable. The mothers are determined not to make the same mistakes their mothers made, but trying to follow tradition and blaze a new path at the same time obviously proves challenging. 

This story was a fun read, with all the characters having their positive personality traits and shortcomings. No one was really evil or unkind to anyone else, but they were believable women with their own strengths and weaknesses. Surely most readers can find aspects of these women familiar to themselves or people they know in real life.

The events foretold by Mai’s psychic were fun to read about and watch unfold. This book was an enjoyable read and 3 out of 5 stars. It could easily be recommended to those who enjoy family dramas, especially with the influence of Vietnamese family culture.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley is a wife and mother of two delightful humans and two contrary but sometimes cuddly cats. She enjoys taking care of her space, reading, and being appreciated. Check out more that she’s posted on Instagram as PoshBecki.

GIVEAWAY:

One of my lucky readers will win a copy of The Fortunes of Jaded Women!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Wednesday, October 26th, at 11:59pm ET, and winner will be notified the next day via email, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

The Fortunes of Jaded Women, by Carolyn Huynh

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