⇒“What choice do we have about the form love takes?” -The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao ⇐
**Feature pic credit: Joseph Lee Art – josephleeart.com
Author: Tiffany Tsao
(3.42 stars – Goodreads rating)
Genre: Fiction / Adult Contemporary / Mystery
Publication Date: January 21, 2020, by Atria Books
Pretty girls don’t play with ants.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to compare this book to Crazy Rich Asians. Not that the comparisons don’t have their merits; however, The Majesties is completely its own creation. It stands completely on its own and is an amazing story without any comparisons at all. Here’s the blurb…
Gwendolyn and Estella have always been as close as sisters can be. Growing up in a wealthy, eminent, and sometimes deceitful family, they’ve relied on each other for support and confidence. But now Gwendolyn is lying in a coma, the sole survivor of Estella’s poisoning of their whole clan.
As Gwendolyn struggles to regain consciousness, she desperately retraces her memories, trying to uncover the moment that led to this shocking and brutal act. Was it their aunt’s mysterious death at sea? Estella’s unhappy marriage to a dangerously brutish man? Or were the shifting loyalties and unspoken resentments at the heart of their opulent world too much to bear? Can Gwendolyn, at last, confront the carefully buried mysteries in their family’s past and the truth about who she and her sister really are?
Love was forceful and obsessive, extravagant and jealous. It never took no for an answer. Instead, it wore its object down until said object realized the right answer was yes.
I have a confession: I 100% judged this book by its cover. I mean, look at it – it’s GORGEOUS. I read a little blurb about the plot on Goodreads, and I was instantly intrigued. Lucky for me, my library had it and I dove hungrily in.
If you read this book and can get past the very first page without your jaw dropping all the way to the floor, then nothing can shock you. And I’m not even exaggerating about that – the very first page. After Tsao’s enthralling introduction to The Majesties, I was confident that I had made the right choice – even if I did pick it because of its cover!
Aren’t you tired of all this, though? … All the secrets we keep? Everyone acting as if everything is all right? As if we aren’t rotting away on the inside?
The Majesties introduces us to an affluent family with many of the same problems that all of the rest of us have with our loved ones. The Sulinado family has its secrets, its dark corners, and its whisperings behind locked doors just like we see in families of any race and economic background.
I feel like any deep-dive into why I loved this book would only spoil all the surprises the story has to offer. So, on the surface, you’ve got a family story, a story of how extreme wealth impacts that family and the individuals in it, and about how decisions to protect that wealth at all costs forces changes that ripple into the future and through the generations.
In the past, there have been only a few rare times that I have actually really enjoyed a book that I picked randomly just because of its cover. This time, I struck the jackpot. Although it was the beautiful artwork by Joseph Lee that initially drew me in, it was the intricately woven narrative by Tiffany Tsao that kept me invested and amazed as this family’s tale unfolded. Read the book and see what I mean!
Tiffany Tsao was born in San Diego, CA, and lived in Singapore and Indonesia through her childhood. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and received her PhD in English from the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and two children.
–bio from The Majesties