Reese Witherspoon picked Kirstin Chen’s Counterfeit as the latest selection for her popular book club.
Chen’s third novel, published Tuesday by William Morrow, tells the story of Ava, a Chinese American lawyer who joins with an old college roommate in a long con involving counterfeit handbags. A critic for Kirkus called the book “a delightfully different caper novel with a Gone Girl–style plot twist.”
Witherspoon announced the pick on Instagram, writing, “#CounterfeitBook is full of compelling twists, riveting adventures, and of course luxury handbags. Can you spot the fake?”
“When I was in the thick of that research, I turned to my spouse and said, ‘The third book that I write is going to require zero research, and is therefore going to have to be about handbags, which is the only thing I’m already an expert in,’” she said. “It was a complete joke, but several months later, I read this article in the Post about a real-life con artist who had created this really foolproof counterfeit handbag scheme, and that’s when I thought, ‘OK, this could be the idea for a novel.’”
Chen reacted to her book’s selection on Instagram with a split photo of her and Witherspoon, each holding Chen’s novel and each wearing a blue gingham shirt.
“The thrill and honor of a lifetime, (And we didn’t even plan the outfits!!)” she wrote.
Witherspoon responded with the comment, “Twinning!! I love this book so much! Perfect summer read.”
Michael Schaub, a journalist and regular contributor to NPR, lives near Austin, Texas.