7 Novels About Very Bad Rich People

Eliza Jane Brazier, author of "Good Rich People," recommends tales of insidious wealth and privilege

Screenshot from "Ready or Not"
Screenshot from “Ready or Not,” a movie about a newlywed who is being hunted by her wealthy in-laws

If you spot a wealthy person in fiction, they’re very likely to be the villain—just like in real life!

Good Rich People by Eliza Jane Brazier

My novel Good Rich People is about a bored, wealthy couple who play games with disadvantaged people—just like in real life! 

There are many (allegedly) fictional stories about how privileged people take advantage of the less fortunate. You almost have to assume it happens all the time…

From a murder mystery unfolding in an elite private member’s club to a family road trip with an inheritance at stake, here are some stories about Very Bad Rich People.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Privilege is at the center of this story about a Black babysitter with a wealthy, white client. When her client calls her in for a late-night emergency, babysitter Emira gives up her own plans to help. When she takes the child out to a fancy supermarket, she is accused of kidnapping. Emira’s client’s efforts to “make it right” only serve to underline the self-obsession and need for control inherent to privilege. 

Nanny Needed by Georgina Cross

This one is another story about the dangers of transactional relationships. When Sara Larson desperately answers an ad for “Nanny Needed, Special Conditions Apply,” she had no idea that she is walking into a world twisted by privilege, where her wealthy clients can ask for anything, and usually do. 

Quartet by Jean Rhys

An older book, but I had to sneak this in as it was one of my influences for Good Rich People. Based on Jean Rhys’ own experiences with Ford Madox Ford and his wife, this book tells the story of a woman in Paris who is taken in by a wealthy English couple after her husband is jailed. She is pressured by the pair to become their high society plaything. As usual with Rhys, the story contains devastating insight into human nature. 

Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

When Mabel is invited to summer at a beautiful estate in Vermont, she is at first enchanted by the blue-blooded Winslow family. But as the summer unfolds, Mabel uncovers the dark lengths this family has gone to in order to keep their power, their home and their perfect all-American summer.  

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taking place over the course of an epic end-of-summer party, this novel tells the stories of the uber-successful Riva family, who built their wealth on a stack of secrets so high, they can only come tumbling down. 

The Club by Ellery Lloyd

The Club is a murder mystery set in the exclusive world of a private members’ club. This story is told with such ruthless accuracy, you would swear it’s not quite fiction. The club at the center of the story was designed to protect the privileged from consequences, but over one wild weekend on a private island, nothing will go according to plan. 

He Started It by Samantha Downing

He Started It by Samantha Downing

The siblings at the center of this story are forced to take a family road trip in order to claim their inheritance.  Of course, everyone has a reason for needing the money—and everyone will do just about anything to get it. 

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