Gwendolyn is the only survivor of a mass poisoning event where her sister, Estella, murdered three hundred people, including their entire family. From her hospital bed, she looks back on the events that caused her sister to snap; the family, businesses, the corruption, the wealth, and so much more.
Estella was forced to keep her own terrible secret for the good of the family, but during her recovery, the sisters managed to rebuild their close relationship that was torn apart by Estella’s husband. Together they travel to Florida to track down an aunt they were told had died and uncover even more secrets. They thought their aunt would save them but instead, she shows them just how rotten their family has become.
The Majesties is the first book I’ve read from Tiffany Tsao, and I devoured it in just a couple of sittings; the writing is so wonderfully immersive and poetic.
“We Chinese…” The phrase betrayed both solidarity and distance: a faint but steady sense of kinship with an ancestral land and people whose customs and philosophies danced through our lives like shadows, rustled our daily and annual routines like delicate gusts of wind.
An Indonesian/Chinese family tale of drama and crime is set against a backdrop of sisterly love and a shared passion of entomology (the study of insects); a hobby that isolated them from family and friends but drew them even closer together. This love for insects led to Gwendolyn starting her own business breeding controlled insects to be included in high-end fashion. This extra storyline adds a unique element to their relationship that really added depth to them.
The Majesties grabs you from the very first page, beginning with the poisoning. From then on, there’s a constant underlying tone of suspense. While written beautifully, the contents are very dark without becoming overly gory.
The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao was an absolute joy to read; packed with fascinating characters. cultural insights and the darkest of family complexities. I’ll definitely be hunting down more of Tiffany Tsao’s back catalogue after this brilliant read.
If you enjoyed The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao, you’d love What’s Left of Me is Yours by Stephanie Scott.