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Book club questions for Counterfeit by Kirsten Chen takes a deep dive into this entertaining novel about a counterfeit handbag scheme. There will be spoilers so for more context about the story, check out my spoiler-free review first.
This is a great selection from Reese’s Book Club! I loved the tone and the story is so intriguing and also quite surprising. I did not see that one twist coming and I loved it. It really begs the question of who is telling the truth?
Curious what you all thought as well!
Ava Wong has always played it safe. As a strait-laced, rule-abiding Chinese American lawyer with a successful surgeon as a husband, a young son, and a beautiful home—she’s built the perfect life. But beneath this façade, Ava’s world is crumbling: her marriage is falling apart, her expensive law degree hasn’t been used in years, and her toddler’s tantrums are pushing her to the breaking point.
Enter Winnie Fang, Ava’s enigmatic college roommate from Mainland China, who abruptly dropped out under mysterious circumstances. Now, twenty years later, Winnie is looking to reconnect with her old friend. But the shy, awkward girl Ava once knew has been replaced with a confident woman of the world, dripping in luxury goods, including a coveted Birkin in classic orange. The secret to her success? Winnie has developed an ingenious counterfeit scheme that involves importing near-exact replicas of luxury handbags and now she needs someone with a U.S. passport to help manage her business—someone who’d never be suspected of wrongdoing, someone like Ava. But when their spectacular success is threatened and Winnie vanishes once again, Ava is left to face the consequences.
Swift, surprising, and sharply comic, Counterfeit is a stylish and feminist caper with a strong point of view and an axe to grind. Peering behind the curtain of the upscale designer storefronts and the Chinese factories where luxury goods are produced, Kirstin Chen interrogates the myth of the model minority through two unforgettable women determined to demand more from life.
Book Club Questions for Counterfeit
- Did you know much about the counterfeit purse market prior to reading the novel? What are some of the more surprising aspects to you?
- Why do you think handbags, in particular, are a status symbol?
- The story is mainly told through Ava recounting the counterfeit journey to a detective—what did you think about this storytelling technique?
- Ava is obsession with image and perfection. She believes she went to the best school, picked the right career, successful husband, etc. But we see that there are big cracks within her facade, especially when it comes to her parenting a challenging toddler. Let’s discuss this pursuit of perfection and how it can be harmful.
- Why did Winnie believe that Ava would go along with the counterfeit scheme? When did Winnie observe a more darker side to Ava?
- And on the same note, why did Ava agree to it?
- In both her daily life and when talking with the detective, Ava puts on the perception of a model minority. Let’s talk about how the author and its main characters challenged Asian stereotypes.
- When did you start to suspect that Ava wasn’t telling the whole truth?
- Who do you think was the more reliable narrator—Ava or Winnie?
- What is your overall impression of their friendship?
- What do you think about the ending? Will their diamond operation be successful or do you think they’ll get caught again?
- The novel is being adapted for TV. What aspects do you hope are included in the TV version?
- What are some other type of scam stories you’ve read about or watched lately?
Hope you enjoyed book club questions for Counterfeit! Here are some more recommendations along with links to book club questions.
More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez
If you’re looking for another great celebrity book club pick, be sure to read GMA’s June selection—More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez.
In 1985, Lore Rivera marries Andres Russo in Mexico City, even though she is already married to Fabian Rivera in Laredo, Texas, and they share twin sons. Through her career as an international banker, Lore splits her time between two countries and two families—until the truth is revealed and one husband is arrested for murdering the other.
In 2017, while trawling the internet for the latest, most sensational news reports, struggling true-crime writer Cassie Bowman encounters an article detailing that tragic final act. Cassie is immediately enticed by what is not explored: Why would a woman—a mother—risk everything for a secret double marriage? Cassie sees an opportunity—she’ll track Lore down and capture the full picture, the choices, the deceptions that led to disaster. But the more time she spends with Lore, the more Cassie questions the facts surrounding the murder itself. Soon, her determination to uncover the truth could threaten to derail Lore’s now quiet life—and expose the many secrets both women are hiding.
Told through alternating timelines, More Than You’ll Ever Know is both a gripping mystery and a wrenching family drama. Presenting a window into the hearts of two very different women, it explores the many conflicting demands of marriage and motherhood.
The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont
If you haven’t checked out Reese’s February selection, The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont, definitely add it to the list!
In 1925, Miss Nan O’Dea infiltrated the wealthy, rarefied world of author Agatha Christie and her husband, Archie. In every way, she became a part of their life––first, both Christies. Then, just Archie. Soon, Nan became Archie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted wife, desperate to marry him. Nan’s plot didn’t begin the day she met Archie and Agatha.
It began decades before, in Ireland, when Nan was a young girl. She and the man she loved were a star-crossed couple who were destined to be together––until the Great War, a pandemic, and shameful secrets tore them apart. Then acts of unspeakable cruelty kept them separated.
What drives someone to murder? What will someone do in the name of love? What kind of crime can someone never forgive? Nina de Gramont’s brilliant, unforgettable novel explores these questions and more.