Book of the Month is a monthly book subscription box. Each month, five curators pick out their favorite new hardcover books, and you can choose which one you want to receive on the first of the month for $14.99/month. You can also add up to two additional books for only $9.99 each. (This box was named one of the best subscriptions for avid readers in the 2022 Subscription Box Awards.)
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These are all five of the options for this month. I was really torn this month! Okay, let's be honest, I'm torn every month!
My BOTM Pick for September
The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Caroline Huynh — Retail Value $27.00 (On sale for $24.30)
Book Summary from Amazon:
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.
I really struggled with the first half of this book! We are first introduced to the curse that has been put upon the Duong women to only bear daughters, which is quite detrimental in particular to these Vietnamese women since only a son can invite them to their ancestral altar after they pass on. The story is told from multiple narratives including the matriarch of the family, her four daughters, and her eight granddaughters so the beginning was a bit of a jumbled mess for me as I tried to keep up with each of these women and their lives and love interests.
After learning of the curse, we are taken along with Mai, one of the daughters, as she visits her regular psychic and she is told that this next year is one that can change everything with there being a funeral, a wedding, and a grandchild. She can only speculate what this could mean, but she knows that this implies she needs to make things right with her estranged sisters and mother. Unfortunately, these stubborn women can't stop bickering long enough to get along for even a short period of time. These sisters know how to cause a scene and have become infamous for their tempers and public battles.
The style of this book is very different from traditional storytelling and while it did trip me up trying to keep up with all of these characters and the nuances of their relationships with one another, there were these little glimmers of beauty throughout that were so nicely written. I wanted more of these moments and less of the bickering and fighting and long-standing feuds. I wanted to see these stubborn ladies get out of their own way and finally experience some joy! Fortunately, things begin to look up towards the end of the story and the comical turn things take gives it romantic comedy vibes but with a few unexpected outcomes!
If you picked this book this month, please let me know what you think of it!
Each month they send us a bookmark with a witty phrase on it. I am totally guilty of dog-earing my books...anyone else?
Value - Was This Box Worth It?
The Cost: $14.99 + free shipping
Value Breakdown: This box costs $14.99, but the book I chose retails for $27, which is a discount of about $12.
It took me a long time to really get into this book, but once I did, the second half just flew by for me and I found myself enjoying the more comedic, light-hearted side of this one. I could totally see all of these quirky women up on screen in a Vietnamese family comedy (think My Big Fat Greek Wedding) with plenty of drama, too.
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