cover image Lies and Weddings

Lies and Weddings

Kevin Kwan. Doubleday, $29 (448p) ISBN 978-0-385-54629-4

Kwan (Sex and Vanity) returns with another irresistible comedy of manners driven by marriage plots. Lady Augusta Gresham, daughter of the “self-absorbed” Arabella Gresham, is slated to marry Prince Maximillian zu Liechtenburg at a luxe Hawaiian resort. The ceremony is briefly delayed by a volcano eruption, then marred by each family’s discovery of the other’s mountainous debt. Most distressing to Arabella, however, is the unwelcome news that her son, Rufus, has fallen in love with the comparatively modest Eden Tong, a doctor, rather than wealthy Solène de Courcy, whom Arabella had invited to her daughter’s wedding in hopes of matching Rufus with Solène and thus securing her family’s welfare. The various festivities allow Kwan to indulge in his flair for vivid party scenes, such as a ball staged in an ice palace built with “frozen blocks filled with flowers and hauntingly lit so that the petals seemed suspended in space.” Kwan also delivers on his reputation for breezy prose, encyclopedic references to art and haute couture, and quick-witted dialogue laced with Cantonese. The author’s fans will devour this. (May)