The brilliant new novel from the author of the New York Times best seller Everything I Never Told You.
Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned - from the layout of the winding roads to the colours 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 principal is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother - who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter, Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just 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 rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When old family friends 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 an unexpected and devastating cost....
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Miss L E Turvey on 18-01-18
It’s an alright read, but it is a little self indulgent in places. All the characters felt faceless, vague and often unbelievable. And their world is hard to get lost in. Mostly I didn’t really care that much about anyone. Considering the good reviews I’d seen, I felt disappointed overall.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Suswati on 11-11-17
An evocative and complex portrait of suburbia
A highly readable, wonderfully absorbing tale about motherhood, secrets and lies, set in the affluent, verdant perfection of Shaker Heights - a purpose built suburb on the edge of Cleveland, Ohio.
The plot centres around two families, the well-heeled, comfortably complacent Richardsons - mother, father and four children - and the hard-up Warrens, single mother Mia and her daughter Pearl, tenants of the Richardsons with little known past. In between is a tug-of-love court case surrounding an abandoned Chinese baby adopted by friends of the Richardsons. This sparks high and conflicting emotions in Shaker Heights, forcing the town to take sides between the baby's birth mother, a desperate Chinese immigrant, and the McCulloughs. It leads nearly into the unwanted revealing of well-concealed secrets for both the Warrens and the Richardsons.
The story is skilfully told, weaving various narratives together. It is a character-led tale, well observed. The novel opens at the end, as the Richardsons' perfect home burns to the ground then takes us back to the beginning when the Warrens first arrive. The plot picks up pace as events take their toll and deeds have dire consequences. Lives begin to unravel and skeletons are revealed, and perfection of the family structure splits apart. It is a multifaceted novel full of interesting dimensions.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By cmtbookies on 25-03-18
i loved this book with its vivid characters. Great narration and unique storyline. cleverly done
By Sundaram Chauhan on 16-01-18
More than anything, I loved the narrator. She made it all come alive. Nice work!
1 of 2 people found this review helpful