Do you like messy family dramas? If so than you will absolutely love The Fortunes of Jaded Women. This book was everything I expected and nothing like I expected at the same time!
The Fortunes of Jaded Women is the story of 3 generations of Duong women, who have been cursed since their great, great grandmother, left her marriage for love. She and all her daughters, granddaughters, and on were cursed to never have sons. Fast forward to present day, sisters Mai, Minh, and Khuyen are estranged not just from each other but from their mother, their half sister Kim, and all of their daughters. When Mai goes to Hawaii to visit her trusted physic, she learns that this is the year to make amends and could be the year the curse is fully broken.
This story is definitely for fans of multiple POVs. Each Duong women gets a turn narrating, meaning there are at least 13 Duong women perspectives, one non Duong perspective, and if I remember correct 1 or 2 additional POVs. I had a hard time at first of keeping track of all the women. Their personalities and events are all so different, but just the shear number of main characters really had me confused for a bit. There was a handy generational chart at the beginning of the book, but it’s always so hard to view those when you’re reading a digital copy. It’s honestly my biggest complaint about eBooks. Quick take on the different Duong women:
- Ly Minh Duong – Grandmother & Matriarch
- Mai Guyen (eldest daughter),
- Mai’s Daughters: Priscilla, Thuy, and Thao
- Kim Luong (Other eldest daughter)
- Kim’s Daughters: Lily and Rosie
- Minh Pham (middle daughter)
- Minh’s Daughter: Joyce
- Khuyen Lam (youngest daughter)
- Khuyen’s Daughters: Elaine and Christine
- Mai Guyen (eldest daughter),
While there are quite a few characters to keep track of, I ultimately ended up enjoying getting to see everyone’s point of views. There are so many colorful personalities entrench within this story and to have only gotten one side of it would have been a shame. I will say that the transitions from character to character was fairly smooth and make for a well balanced multi-generational story. Huynh has also built excellent and complicated relationships between all of the Duong women. Kim and her daughters have the least development, but even then I felt that each of the mother-daughter relationship were fill with happiness, struggles, guilt, grief, and everything in between. I have a great relationship with my mother, but could still relate to many of the aspect of their relationships. Especially now that I’m a mom as well.
Past the mother-daughter theme, Huynh touches on a multitude of other major topics including: the view of Asians through a white males perspective (ie fetishizing of Asian women), Asian stereotypes, toxic male masculinity, the cultural view of daughters vs. sons specifically in Asian culture, culture identify of Asian-Americans, and how we measure success. Huynh does an amazing job of portraying these topics while at the same time filling the pages with humor and wit.
This is a stunning debut and realistically it was a 4.5 star read for me, rounded up to 5. It’s not a solid 5, just due to the vast number of characters to keep track of. I loved the characters, loved the large family dynamic, love the wit and humor, and while it doesn’t play a huge role the addition of a bit of magical realism just sealed the deal for me. I highly highly recommend this book if you want a laugh, enjoy mother/daughter relationship stories, and/or looking for a family drama. Honestly, if you enjoy a good story, you will enjoy this one!
The Fortunes of Jaded Women comes out September 6, 2022! Huge thank you to Atria Books for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion. If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my instagram @speakingof_books.