by Lyn Liao Butler
Days away from finalizing the adoption of a boy from a Chinese orphanage, Tony and Tam are looking forward to welcoming him home and to repairing their at times shaky marriage. Just as we take a moment to celebrate their joy, Tam receives word that Tony has been suddenly taken from her in a tragic crash. As if this wasn’t enough family sadness, Tam learns that Tony’s cousin, Mia, was with him at the time and also did not survive. Once very close, Mia has been estranged from Tony and Tam for years, and Tam is confused as to why Tony and Mia would have been together on this fateful day.
To add to Tam’s upheaval, she finds that she is now the lone guardian to Mia’s five-year-old daughter, Angela. Although Tony and Mia are gone, it seems that the Red Thread of Fate will keep them intertwined in ways Tam had not imagined.
The book alternates between Tam’s and Mia’s voices. Tam describes her struggles with her mother, her insecurity in her new role as a mother herself, and her questions about Tony and Mia. We get to know Mia through her diaries, which impart information about the rift that caused the family to break apart and the thread that will reunite them.
There aren’t really any big surprises here, what I thought was coming pretty much did, but Butler writes what she knows and the storylines of international adoption, found families and grief are written about with feeling, albeit not particularly deeply. This is a light novel of familial ups and downs that tugs at your heartstrings. All in all, an enjoyable read.