When they reached the landing to the second floor, Rachel almost had to rub her eyes in disbelief. She felt momentarily giddy, as if she had been transported back in time to another era, to the grand lounge of a twenties ocean liner en route from Venice to Istanbul, perhaps.The “living room,” as Nick so modestly called it, was a gallery that ran along the entire northern end of the house, with art deco divans, wicker club chairs, and ottomans casually grouped into intimate seating areas.But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details.One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.My great-grandfather shot this one when it ran into the house and hid under the billiard table, or so the story goes.” “Poor guy,” Rachel said, reaching out to stroke the tiger’s head gingerly.Its fur felt surprisingly brittle, as if a patch might fall off at any minute.“It used to scare the hell out of me when I was little.Finally she said as nonchalantly as possible, “This is quite a place—is it your grandmother’s?
As they climbed the stairs, the murmur of party chatter and piano keys wafted down toward them.Born in Singapore, he has called New York's West Village home since 1995.Part Two I did not tell half of what I saw, for no one would have believed me.On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.KEVIN KWAN is the author of the international bestsellers Crazy Rich Asians, soon to be a major motion picture, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems.” Peik Lin couldn’t resist trying to find out more as she craned her neck, trying to get a better look.“Since she was a young girl,” Nick said.Nick’s answer surprised Peik Lin, as she assumed that the house would have belonged to his grandfather. My grandmother decided to have a small party, all arranged at the last minute, apparently, because her tan hua flowers are going to bloom tonight.”“She’s throwing a party because her flowers are in bloom?A tall, spindly Indian man stood silently in the middle of the foyer next to a circular stone table clustered with pots of enormous white-and-purple phalaenopsis orchids.The man bowed ceremoniously to Rachel and presented her with a hammered silver bowl filled with water and pale pink rose petals.As Peik Lin’s car drove off, Nick turned to Rachel, looking a little sheepish. It’s quite something to witness.”“Sounds cool, but now I’m feeling really underdressed for the occasion,” Rachel said pensively, eyeing the fleet of limousines that lined the driveway.“Not at all—you look absolutely perfect,” Nick told her.He could sense her trepidation and tried to reassure her, placing his hand on the small of her back and guiding her toward the front doors.