In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned — from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren — an enigmatic artist and single mother — who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.
This book won the Best Fiction for the Goodreads Choice Awards this year, well-deserved!
🎧 I did listen to this on audio, but at the time I did not review the audio portion, but it was very well done. I’d say more but I don’t think it’s fair because I don’t remember precisely, but it was narrated bye Jennifer Lim 🎧
Here is my review of the book published on Goodreads on December 1, 2017.
I have read SO many wonderful books lately, I keep thinking I can’t rate all these books 5 stars… but then I think how can I not? They all definitely deserve it! SO here I go again with another gushing review! (Currently I’m reading a book I’m not all that crazy about, so I promise a slightly negative review to come😉)
“What makes you a mother, biology or love?”
This book was about the bonds between mothers and their children. The relationship between mothers and daughters in particular. I have a daughter and of course I am a daughter, so I do realize how complicated this relationship can be, even in a somewhat stable environment.
The mothers in this book were all very different from one another, but the thing they had in common is that they all truly love their children…. even if they didn’t always do a good job of showing it…. I believe all these women were so well developed as characters, and even if you didn’t agree with their actions you could understand their motivation…. this book really touched on quite a few issues, and I don’t want to mention them in this review, because I don’t want to ruin the journey for you, but it sure did make me think…. Think what would I do in that same situation? It’s hard to say, of course I’d like to think I’d always do the right thing, but then that begs the question what is the right thing? Sometimes I’m not sure if it is as clear cut as that…..
The only part of this book that I had an opinion on(OK not the only thing I had an opinion on, but the only thing I’m going to share in this review), because it was very personal for me was the court case…. as I have mentioned previously I am the only biological child in a family of adoptive brother’s (I never got a sister!) And all my brothers are of a different race/ethnicity from me…. I don’t believe I could have loved my brothers anymore had they been biologically related to me, and I don’t believe they ever felt robbed of their culture…. so do I think a white family can raise a Chinese girl? Absolutely! But this is because of personal experience, I grew up in a house with cross-cultural adoption and it was a positive experience…. do I think a biological mother should be given a second chance after abandoning her baby? That I’m not sure about…. *** steps off soapbox ***
Looking back on this book I think I like it even more…. every character in this book was so well developed, by the end you felt as though you knew these people…. I also think the story was so well plotted how everything unfolded was perfect…. and even though the ending was quite heartbreaking, it just made the book that much better…
Definitely strongly recommend! And I hope you enjoy the journey! 💕
PS: I‘d love for Mia to take a photo that represented me, wonder what would be on it, a book?