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Counterfeit

"This deliciously compulsive story of deceit, dissatisfaction and the desire for wealth sees a desperately unfulfilled lawyer drawn into the world of counterfeit bags."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Fizzing with “how on earth will this play out?” intrigue and all the page-turning pace of a stylish screen thriller, Kirstin Chen’s Counterfeit lays bare a web of deceit that’ll have readers questioning what they’d do in a similar situation, debating characters’ motivations and ethics, and wondering what they’d have done to escape (or not). It’s brilliantly compelling stuff that also addresses the prejudicial vagaries of the American Dream.

On the face of it, Ava has it all – she’s a Stanford graduate married to a transplant surgeon who’s taking time out from a career in corporate law to care for their toddler. But in reality, Ava is terribly dissatisfied, and only went into law to keep her parents happy: “from the very beginning, I’d known my lot in life: to be good enough at my job, and to tolerate it until retirement”. Hardly a recipe for fulfilment. What’s more, because “I dreaded his disapproval most of all”, her husband has no idea.

Amidst growing marital tensions, while struggling with a three-year-old who won’t stop crying. Ava bumps into Winnie, her former college roommate. After leaving Stanford in the midst of a cheating scandal, Winnie appears dressed head-to-toe in designer garb, with a scandalously expensive bag collection. When Ava runs into financial trouble on a trip home to Hong Kong (thanks to her controlling husband), she decides to do Winnie a favour that’ll provide her with much-needed cash. A favour that sees Ava bound up in Winnie’s counterfeit bag business, with no easy way out.

Ava’s compulsive account of events is addressed to a detective, but there being two sides to every story, we’re also presented with Winnie’s account of their early friendship, and how she came to coax Ava into her enterprise. It’s an extremely entertaining novel, with wry commentary, too. As Ava notes, “Winnie is the American dream, and that’s what drives everyone mad, mad, mad - that she had the gall to crash their game and win it all”.

Joanne Owen

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