I was so excited to receive an ARC of Kathy Wang’s debut novel Family Trust. The buildup to its upcoming release is indicative of the promise of its compelling storyline. The novel follows the members of a Chinese-American family in Silicon Valley, with a large cast of supporting characters.
Central to the plot are patriarch and matriarch Stanly and Linda Huang, who when the book opens, have been divorced for almost a decade. Stanley rushed into a second marriage with Mary, who is twenty years his junior and committed to Stanley’s lifestyle demands. In return, Stanley assures her financial security. Linda, contrarily, appreciates the freedom of being divorced from Stanley, enjoying quality time in her garden, with friends and grandchildren, and maybe even the possibility of romance... Fred, son to Stanley and Linda, is a Harvard Business School graduate. The promise of his degree is fading. Divorced and dating a white Hungarian, Fred is hoping for a big break SOON. Kate, his sister, is the sole breadwinner in her family. Her husband Denny is working on a startup, but his slow progress beckons Kate’s attention. After all, the demands of her two children, Ethan and Ella, AND her job, are beginning to exhaust Kate.... When Stanley is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the messy business of money and inheritance must be broached. Mary, Stanley’s second wife believes she is entitled to Stanley’s money, hasn’t she been the model wife? Of coarse, Linda was the brains behind Stanley for 30 years. If she has her way, the money belongs to Fred and Kate (family), and not Mary. As the story evolves, Wang uses her Harvard business education and savvy to portray the antics of the rich and richer entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley.
I was completely drawn into the Huang family’s story and could not put the book down. There are A LOT of characters, but the most important are Linda, Stanley, Kate, Fred and Mary. I loved them and, even though they are Chinese-American, when it comes down to it, the book is universal. We are all mortal, and we can only hope, when we face the end of the road, we are satisfied with our own life choices, and undertanding of our parents’ choices.