"Sex and Vanity," the new book by Kevin Kwan, the bestselling author of "Crazy Rich Asians," is our "GMA" Book Club pick for July.
"I'm thrilled that my new novel, 'Sex and Vanity,' is GMA's July Book Club pick," Kwan said. "This summer I'm inviting you to travel with me to the sun drenched island of Capri in this timeless love story."
Kwan's book tells the modern love story of Lucie Churchill, an Asian American woman who is torn between the fiancé of her New York elite family's dreams and George Zao, the man she is trying not to fall in love with. Get ready to be transported to the gorgeous islands of Capri, Manhattan's luxurious Upper East Side, and decadent summers in the Hamptons.
"It's a summer escape full of travel, food, fun and fashion," Kwan told "GMA." "The outrageous characters will make your crazy families seem almost normal."
"Sex and Vanity" will be the summer read you can't put down. Get started reading now with an excerpt of the book below.
Read along with us and join the conversation all month long on our Instagram account - GMA Book Club and #GMABookClub
As they walked beyond the piazzetta and down Via Vittorio Emanuele, Charlotte's discerning eye did a quick assessment and she found herself quietly impressed. Capri seemed to embody the most marvelous blend of historic and modern, high and low, simplicity and decadence. Here they were, strolling along a cobblestone street where a humble tobacco kiosk neighbored a sleek boutique selling hand-sewn driving moccasins, and a shop glittering with the most lustworthy jewels stood just a few paces down from the rustic gelateria where the scent of freshly baked cones wafted into the air. "How charming! How charming!" Charlotte kept saying at every turn. "Can you even believe this place exists?"
"It's glorious," Lucie replied, relieved that everything met with her cousin's approval so far. All the same, she couldn't imagine how anyone—even her extremely jaded cousin—could find fault with this island. She loved seeing the clusters of Italian children running up and down the street laughing wildly, the old grandmas resting their tired feet on the steps of designer boutiques, the impeccably dressed couples walking along hand-in-hand, bronzed and glowing from their hours under the sun. And no matter where you turned, there was the view—of undulating hills dotted with white villas, ancient fortress ruins commanding every ridge top, and glimpses of sea sparking in the golden sun.
Charlotte made a dead stop outside a sandal shop, seemingly transfixed.
"We are famous for our sandals, signora. Beyoncé, Sarah Jessica Parker, all the famous stars buy sandals in Capri," Paolo said proudly.
"If I had Beyoncé's budget, I'd take that tangerine pair over there. And the gold ones. And the one with those cute little pom poms. Hell, I'd take every single pair in the window!" Charlotte gushed.
"You're welcome to buy me the ones with the pink suede tassels," Lucie remarked.
"That's so you! You know, we should get a pair for your mother. Don't you think she'd like those braided leather sandals? Let's make a note of this place, please!" Lucie suddenly caught a glimpse of her own reflection in the window and let out a shriek.
"Charlotte! How could you let me walk through town looking like this? I look like a cocker spaniel!"
"You do not! You look like you've just been on a joyride along the Amalfi coast, which you have," Charlotte said with a reassuring smile. She knew Lucie had always been self-conscious of her natural curls and spent half her life straightening her hair. The lucky girl had no idea how ravishing she looked with her long lustrous locks loose and wild, coupled with that improbably perfect blend of eastern and western features. Perhaps that was a good thing—she would have to spend less time fending off all the boys on this trip.
Paolo guided them down a twisting narrow lane and before long, they arrived at the Hotel Bertolucci, a charming white modernist villa bursting with purple bougainvillea vines along every wall. Stepping into the breezy lobby and taking in the plush white sofas, Solimene ceramics, and gleaming blue and white majolica tiles, Charlotte registered her approval. "This is exactly as I imagined! How marvelous is this place? Now I feel like we're truly on holiday!" They were shown into a tiny elevator, which took them two levels up, and were led down a hallway smartly carpeted in a cream and navy striped sisal.
"We go first to your room, and then I will take your friend to her room," Paolo said to Charlotte.
"She's my cousin," Charlotte corrected.
"Oh? Your cousin?" Paolo glanced reflexively at Lucie in surprise, but Lucie simply smiled. She knew that within the next few seconds, Charlotte would automatically launch into the explanation she had always given since Lucie was a little girl.
"Yes, her father was my uncle," Charlotte replied, adding, "her mother is Chinese, but her father is American."
So is Mom. She was born in Seattle, Lucie wanted to say, but of course she didn't.
They arrived at the first room and watched as Paolo twisted a heavy gold tasseled key and opened the door. The ladies entered the room, and as soon Paolo drew open the curtains to let in more light, the smiles evaporated from their faces. Lucie glanced at Charlotte in dismay.
"What is that out there?" Charlotte asked, peering out the window.
"It is a cat," Paolo replied, gesturing at the calico sunning itself on a low stone wall.
"I know 'it is a cat,' Charlotte said, mimicking his accent. "That's not what I meant. Can we see the other room?"
"Of course, it is just two doors down."
Paolo opened the door to Lucie's room, and the ladies peered in. "You like, Signorina?"
Before Lucie could reply, Charlotte cut in, "Mr. Paolo, there's been a huge mistake. We need to see the manager. Pronto!"