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The Majesties

A Novel

Read by Nancy Wu

In this “bold and dramatic portrayal of characters on the cusp of an impossible choice” (Publishers Weekly), two sisters from a wealthy Chinese-Indonesian family grapple with secrets and betrayal after one of them poisons their entire family.

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 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?

Traveling from the luxurious world of the rich and powerful in Indonesia to the most spectacular shows at Paris Fashion Week, from the sunny coasts of California to the melting pot of Melbourne’s university scene, The Majesties “is a thrilling, tender page-turner” (Krys Lee, author of Drifting House) as well as “a sobering look at the dark side of extreme wealth” (Kirkus Reviews).

Photograph by Leah Diprose

Tiffany Tsao was born in San Diego, California, and lived in Singapore and Indonesia during her childhood and young adulthood. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a PhD in English. In addition to writing, she translates Indonesian fiction and poetry.

"Nancy Wu uses an arch, knowing tone to narrate this family saga steeped in drama and danger. Gwendolyn and Estella are the spoiled sisters of an upper-class Asian family who must confront past secrets if they hope to survive. Wu perfectly captures the sisters' privileged existence in Indonesia. We are taken into a world of luxury and jealousy, of competition between families and among their members. Wu carries us along the unfolding tension as Estella turns on everyone—including Gwendolyn. Keeping us hanging onto every word, Wu makes us eager to find out what happens next. Well paced by an expert narrator, this roller-coaster story intrigues and entertains."

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